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Course Materials: Course Guide

Use the following guide to complete the requirements for this course.

Each person approaches the study of library history in a different way depending on his or her personal and professional interests and experiences. Rather than dictating all of the required readings, this course provides flexibility by allowing you to choose areas where you'd like to explore in-depth.

Throughout the course readings, you'll find Dig Deeperdig deeperarticles. These are OPTIONAL readings. However they are often useful in completing the Actio assignments or providing ideas for your final project.

You'll also find outside links that indicate READ, SKIM, or EXPLORE. It's up to you to decide whether these additional resources will be useful for your understanding.

If you're looking for a particular topic within the course materials, use the search tool below:


The Course Guide

Watch the Overview video at Vimeo.

Introduce Yourself (0 Points, required)
In addition to introducing yourself, let's do some sharing about libraries through history.

Think about how libraries and librarians are portrayed in the media. Do you see one-dimensional stereotypes or multi-dimensional perspectives? Explore the movie clips and pick one to share. Or, locate your own. How does the clip reflect the time period it represents and/or the time period when the clip was produced?

The Beginnings

Libraries: The Beginnings

Read Battles, Chapter 1, p. 3-21

Watch the Beginnings video at Vimeo.

Read The Beginnings section including the introduction.

*Throughout this course we'll use the international standard dating conventions BCE (Before Common Era, formerly known as BC) and CE (Common Era, formerly known as AD).

Optional Reading: Cassen. Libraries in the Ancient World. (free ebook through iupui)

Complete Actio 1: The Beginnings below.

History Log (10 Points)
You’ll find DIG DEEPER readings as well as other articles woven throughout the six sections of the course. You might also discover interesting articles or websites outside the course materials. Create a log of your favorites. You can create your log in a word processors, but you might also consider a blog, infographic, or some other approach. Consider using Picktochart.

Your “history log” must contain at least 20 articles.
• These should be spread out over the semester including at least TWO articles from each of the SIX sections of the course.
• At least 12 entries must be professional journal articles as opposed to websites or blog postings.
• The rest can come from wherever you wish.
• For EACH entry, include a complete citation and a couple sentences about what you learned or why it’s so cool.
• Indicate your top THREE favorites with an emoji, icon, or color.
• Share your assignment in the course discussion area. Then, skim the work of your peers. Pick ONE item from a peer’s log that you hadn’t previously read. Share this item and your thoughts about it in a reply to your peer.

Although this assignment isn’t due until late in the semester, you should be working on it throughout the semester as you work your way through the course readings.

20 items (8 Point)
3 favorites featured (1 Point)
Peer log reply with item comment (1 Point)

Actio 1: The Beginnings (10 Points)
Read a book or an article related to library history. It may relate to any time period from the beginnings to recent history. Include a complete citation. This should be a scholarly work from a journal such as Library Trends or Libraries & the Cultural Record. Also include a link to the resource or a PDF file containing the item (if possible).

Write an analysis of this work including the following elements:

Summary - Provide a brief summary of the article or book along with a complete citation (and if possible, link).
Type of history - Based on Richard Krzyer's three types of library history: purpose, subject category, or historical method, what type of library history is this work?
Methodology - What type of methodology did the researcher use in this study? What questions were asked? What approaches were used to address the questions or hypotheses? What would you have done differently?
Sources used - What specific types of primary and secondary sources were used? Do you think other types of sources would have been more useful? Why or why not? Provide examples and why you think they were effective or ineffective sources for this topic.
Triangulation - Did the author do an effective job triangulating information and using a variety of sources? Provide an example. What are your concerns about the secondary sources used and possible errors commonly found in secondary materials?
Inherent Weaknesses - What are the limitations of this type of study and this work specifically? What are some of the limitations of studying this particular topic or time period?
Historical Fit - How does this work fit within our larger understanding of library history? What does it tell us about libraries, library users, or librarians? What can we learn from this work? Why is this important or not important?
Suggestions - What would you suggest to the author for future research? Be specific. What do you think was missing? What questions did this article prompt in your thinking?
Critical Review - What did you think about the work? Was it interesting and insightful or boring and biased? Provide a critique.
Addition - What can you add? Find something that's not incorporated into the work. Be specific. Provide an example(s).

Criteria: 1 point will be assigned for addressing each of the ten requirements above.

To find good articles, browse through the course pages and consider the DIG DEEPER articles from any section of the course.

Post your assignment in Oncourse in ONE category where it fits best:
Option 1: General Library History
Option 2: Subject Specific (i.e., people, movement, agency)
Option 3: Historical Method (i.e., oral history, surveys, interviews)

Summary (1 Point)
History Type (.5 Point)
Methodology (1 Point)
Sources (1 Point)
Triangulation (1 Point)
Inherent Weaknesses (1 Point)
Historical Fit (.5 Point)
Suggestions (1 Point)
Critical Review (1 Point)
Addition (1 Point)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Ancient Libraries

Read Battles, Chapter 2, p. 22-55.

Watch the Ancient Libraries video at Vimeo.

Read Ancient Libraries section including the introduction.

Optional Reading: Cassen. Libraries in the Ancient World. (free ebook through iupui)

Complete Actio 2: Ancient Libraries below.


Ancient Libraries

Actio 2: Ancient Libraries (10 Points)
Complete ONE of the following options:

Option 2.1 - Steps or Leaps? Sometimes changes occur slowly and in other times great leaps are made. A key to studying history is locating evidence that helps you draw inferences about causation. In many cases very little evidence is available. When did the concept of "library" and "librarian" begin? What triggered the idea? Pick a person, place, or event and provide evidence that shows the development of this concept or another idea related to early libraries such as tablets, catalogs, shelving, or lists. How was the world different before and after this person, place, or event? Provide examples. Be sure to use a couple professional resources from outside the course materials.

Key library concepts (1 Points)
Trigger events (2 Points)
Inference and Causation (2 Points)
Before/after (2 Points)
Specific examples (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 2.2 - Chronology. When studying history, it's often helpful to use a timeline to see the "big picture" and explore the distances between events. Use a tool like Timeglider to share at least five key events in library history (from any or all periods). You might also explore other options such as Tiki-Toki, TimeToast, or find another timeline tool. Then, share your timeline URL. Either within the timeline on is a separate paper, write about why you selected these events, and why timelines are useful in examining history. Is there anything you discovered about history when you created the timeline? Here are a few examples: TikiToki for Ancient Libraries, TikiToki for Book Burning, TikiToki for Freedom to Read, Timeglider for Segregation in Libraries, TikiToki Presidential Libraries, TikiToki for Women in Library History, TikiToki for Library of Alexandria, TimeToast for Library of Congress,

Use of Online Tool (1 Points)
Description of 5 Key Events (5 Points)
Event Selection (1 Points)
Importance of Times (1 Points)
Chronology Discovery (1 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 2.3 - A Day in the Life. Ready for a little more creative assignment? Take one of the libraries or situations described in the course readings. Based on this information write a poem, short story, letter or "day in the life" anecdote what provides insight into what life might have been like for a slave, servant, merchant, or librarian. What role did reading, writing, and the concept of library have in the lives of these people? Here are a few examples: Tiro the Secretarial Sidekick, Brick by Brick, Scribe's Journal, Love Letter, Day in a Librarian's Life, Letters, De Vitae M.T. Tironis, 16th Century Journal, King Ashurbanipal's Librarian, King Ashurbanipal, Alexandria, Free Verse, Two Poems, Pieces of Dust, Alexandria Poem, Qin Dynasty, Poem, Hymn, Poem, Alexandria, Chinese Scribe Letter, Women & Literacy, Roman Empire Diary Entries, Monk Letter, Alexandria Letter

Situation (1 Points)
Insights (2 Points)
Library Roles (2 Points)
Storytelling (2 Points)
Use of Historical Information (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 2.4 - Mapping Library History. To see the "big picture" of library history, it's useful to visualize the relationships among the various locations described in the readings. If possible include images on our page in addition to locations and descriptions. Create an infographic for ancient library history that includes a map(s) along with key locations, people, and events. No additional explanation or writing is needed. Simply share a PDF or JPG of your visual. I've create an Infographic Help Page if you want to learn more about infographics.

Or, create and share a custom map. I've created a Map Making Help Page if you want to take this interactive approach. Simply share the URL. Explore map examples related to Ancient Libraries 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , Early Libraries, Roman Empire, Evolution of the Book. Explore an infographic example related to Ancient Libraries 1, 2, Ancient Librarians 1. Or, try a bookmark approach.

Visual Representation (2 Points)
Technology Use (2 Points)
Visual/Map (2 Points)
Historical Information (3 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Early Libraries

Early Libraries

Read Battles, Chapter 3, p. 56-81.

Watch the Early Libraries video at Vimeo.

Read Early Libraries section including the introduction.

Complete Actio 3: Early Libraries below.


Actio 3: The Early Libraries (10 Points)
Complete ONE of the following options:

Option 3.1 - Collection Shifts. How did the wide dissemination of printed books encourage the development of libraries and literacy? How did the missions and contents of libraries change from the period before printing to the 1500s? Do you see a similar change occurring today with digital libraries and collections? Can you identify another time when there was a major shift in collections? Describe a time period and library type, along with specific examples of this collection shift. Be sure to incorporate professional literature to support your perspective.

Printed Books, Library, Literacy (2 Points)
Missions and Contents Change (2 Points)
Digital Library Connection (2 Points)
Major Collection Shift (1 Points)
Examples (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 3.2 - The Dark Side of Collection Development.
How do collection development policies and procedures expand or restrict intellectual freedom and the rights of individuals to access information? How do acquisitions during conflict and war impact both the groups that have been plundered as well as those libraries that benefit from the spoils of war? Evidence of censorship, destruction, and restricted access can be found throughout the library history. Select a specific historical event from the early or modern era to serve as the basis for a discussion of the "dark side of collection development." Has society changed or could this incident happen today? Be sure to incorporate professional literature to support your perspective.

Policies (2 Points)
Acquisitions (2 Points)
Historical Event Focus (2 Points)
Connection to Today (1 Points)
Examples (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 3.3 - Library Security. Issues of security have plagued librarians throughout history. During the early period, libraries began using chains. Trace some aspect of the history of chained libraries. Then, discuss how other security techniques have been used through history. How effective have these been? Be sure to incorporate professional literature to support your perspective.


Issues of Security (2 Points)
Security & Library History (2 Points)
Security Techniques (2 Points)
Security Effectiveness (1 Points)
Examples (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 3.4 - Leaders and Cultures.
How do the politics, religions, and culture of a society impact attitudes and actions toward libraries? Select an example from the ancient or early period such as the ancient Greeks or ancient Chinese to serve as the foundation for your discussion. Be sure to incorporate professional literature to support your perspective.


Society & Libraries (3 Points)
Historical Event Focus (2 Points)
Examples (3 Points)
Professional Resource (1 Point)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Modern Libraries

Modern Libraries

Read Battles, Chapter 4-5, p. 82-155.

Watch the Modern Libraries video at Vimeo.

Read Modern Libraries section including the introduction.

Complete Actio 4: Modern Libraries below.


Actio 4: Modern Libraries (10 Points)
Complete ONE of the following options:

Option 4.1 - Library Clients. Emancipated slaves, educated women, mine workers, and children are just a few of the new clients that emerged during the modern era. During the modern library period, society grappled with how to deal with political and cultural changes related to a wide range of issues related to information and literacy. From political issues like democracy and education to cultural issues such as the role of women in society and the increasing popularity of fiction, libraries and librarians faced challenges in developing libraries for an evolving client base. Use one library as an example of how changes in society related to "client base" dictated the rise, fall, or evolution of a particular library or category of library and their patrons. Who were these people (Patrons / clients)? Did they want libraries or did others want libraries for them? What were the political and social underpinnings of this movement? What has happened to this "client base"? Does it still exist? How are the needs of these people met today? Consider a nontraditional approach such as the Timeline on Native Americans and Libraries or the Louisville Free Public Library Colored Branch.

Client Focus (2 Points)
Library Focus (2 Points)
Societal Connection (2 Points)
Today (1 Points)
Use of Professional Materials (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 4.2 - Library Management. During the modern age, collections grew in size and complexity. From the introduction of library standards to the professionalism of librarians, select a change in some aspect of library management to explore in-depth. Identify a specific area such as procedures in subscription libraries, standardization of card catalog cards, or creation of cataloging systems. What led to these changes? Who was involved? Why was it necessary at that particular time period? Include very specific examples such as a shelving ad from a vendor catalog, a photo of a library interior, or quotes from procedure manuals of the time period. Keep in mind that Archive and other online digital libraries are filled within interesting digitized primary source materials. Do these same management issues exist today? What has changed?

Library Management Area (2 Points)
Changes (2 Points)
Who (2 Points)
Time Period Connection (2 Points)
Today (1 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 4.3 - Library Specialization. From the introduction of subscription and circulating libraries to medical libraries and professional society libraries, the modern era introduced a wide range of special library types. Select one of these libraries and discuss the reasons it emerged. Provide specific examples in the form of people, places, and events that shaped a specific special library trend. Finally, discuss what the original founders of the movement would think about how this specialty area has evolved.

Library Focus (2 Points)
Reasons for Emergence (2 Points)
Specific Examples (2 Points)
Today (1 Points)
Professional materials (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 4.4 - National Libraries.
National libraries are woven into the social and politic fabric of a country. Explore the history of two national libraries. How are they the same and different in their philosophies and approaches. How do they reflect the social and political systems where they emerged? Consider creating an infographic such as France vs Cuba infographic and explanation.

National Libraries (3 Points)
Comparison (2 Points)
Societal Connections (2 Points)
Professional materials (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Contemporary Libraries

Read Battles, Chapter 6-7, p. 156-214.

Watch the Contemporary Libraries video at Vimeo.

Read Contemporary Libraries section including the introduction and overview video.

Complete Actio 5: Contemporary Libraries below.


Contemporary Libraries

Actio 5: Contemporary Libraries (10 Points)
Complete ONE of the following options:

Option 5.1: Dig Deeper Articles. The past century has seen the concept of "library" redefined through new philosophies, specialized libraries, and technological innovations. A library is much more than "bricks and mortar." Select one of the DIG DEEPER articles from this section of the course to serve as the foundation for a discussion about the changing function(s) of libraries in society during the 20th and early 21st century. How does the focus (i.e. person, place, institution, event) of the article reflect larger changes in the profession? Provide at least three additional professional citations to support your thoughts. Or, identify your own article to serve as the foundation of your discussion. Be sure to provide a direct link to the article so others can access the information source.

Article Selection (2 Points)
Focus (2 Points)
Examples (3 Points)
Professional Literature (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 5.2: Dig Deeper On-Your-Own. From federal laws and WPA posters to historical photographs and library scrapbooks lots of interesting primary source materials are available to help library historians better understand a particular time period or movement. Use a primary source such as an ALA action, library promotion button, or training film video as the basis for a discussion of an issue or topic in contemporary library history. For instance, you might begin with an early war service library camp manual from the 1910s, a World War II information office poster, or the "hug-a-homosexual" photo from the 1970 ALA conference. How does this item reflect libraries? How does it help us understand a particular time period, theme, or movement? Be sure to provide an image or link to the item serving as your focal point. Also, cite at least three sources in your discussion.


Primary Source Material (2 Points)
Library Connection (2 Points)
History Connection (2 Points)
Professional Connections (2 Points)
Link or Attachment to Resource (1 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

Option 5.3: Global Perspective.
In a three-hour course, it's impossible to explore every library, librarian, or library movement. Although some global examples have been provided, many are missing. Select a person, place, or event that you think is missing from the course. It should be something not directly connected with American library history. In other words, explore a library in South Korea, a librarian from Denmark, or a library movement in Africa. How does an understanding of this library, librarian, or library movement provide a global perspective of the study of library history?

Focus (3 Point)
Global Connection (4 Points)
Professional Literature (2 Points)
Provide a high-quality reply to your peer (1 Point)

The Future

The Future: Today and Tomorrow

Watch the Futures: Today and Tomorrow video at Vimeo.

Read The Future section including the introduction.

Complete Actio 6: The Future below.

Complete the Final Project below.


Actio 6: Futures (10 Points)
Complete ONE of the following options:

No replies are required.

Option 6.1. Learning from the Past. Is the study of library history is important? Why or why not? What have you learned from library history that can be applied to the library profession? It's impossible to explore every time period, culture, library type, and issue in one course. Did the course miss some aspect of history such as the foundations of music librarianship, medical library standards, or audiovisual history that you think is missing? Describe three key events in a specific area of library history that were NOT reflected in the course readings and defend why they deserve a place in our course.

Importance of History (2 Points)
Real-world Applications (2 Points)
New Topic (2 Points)
Three Key Events (4 Points)

Option 6.2. Old Is New Again. Take an idea from library history and apply it to the 21st century. Trace the history of the idea, providing specific examples, then show how you would re-imagine it for today's library. For instance, how could you apply the idea of chaining in a new way, what's the future of the traveling library, or how could you look at the circulation of materials in a new way? Describe the history and the future as you see it.

Idea from Library History (2 Points)
Trace the Idea (2 Points)
Examples (4 Points)
New Connection (2 Points)

Option 6.3. Collection Analysis.
Select a particular library from the past. Describe the history of the library. How does this specific library reflect the time period it was established (or is the focus of your work)? What do we know about the library's clients? What do we know about how materials were selected? What evidence supports this? How were collections funded? How was the library managed? Identify at least a dozen titles (include a complete citation and annotation) that were (or may have been) representative of this collection. How do they represent a library of that time period? Then, compare your collection to a classmate's collection. How are they alike and different?

Library Selection (2 Points)
Library History (2 Points)
A Dozen Titles (2 Points)
Time Period Connection (2 Points)
Comparison (2 Points)

Option 6.4. History Matters. Many people don't see the value of history. Why do you think it's important? Select some aspect of history that you think is essential for today's librarians. What lessons can we learn from the past? Provide specific examples from history related to a particular theme or library type. Consider a unique form of presentation such as Piktochart.

Value of History (2 Points)
Essential Component (2 Points)
Lessons (2 Points)
Examples (4 Points)

Option 6.5. Invent a Library. Be innovative. Invent a library. In the case of the Airport Library of Schiphol, they were able to get national funding. Where could you get funding? Summarize three examples of unique libraries that you used for inspiration.

Invented Library (4 Points)
Funding Idea (2 Points)
Examples (4 Points)

Final Project

The final project is your chance to excel in your area of professional library interest. It's up to you to select a topic that reflects the needs of your area of specialization. Where do you see holes in the research, the need for a revisionist approach, or a new area in need of investigation?

This project is NOT about simply retelling what has already been told. I don't want a traditional research paper on Alexandria or an essay on philanthropy and public libraries. I can find those types of papers online from library students across the nation. If you choose to write a paper, it should be ready to be submitted for publication to a specific library history journal.

The Back Story. This project is about conducting an historical investigation and developing a meaningful product. By combining what we already know about our history with new information you've identified or gathered yourself, your project should make a contribution to the field of library history. In addition to the project itself, you need to write a short paper explaining your approach to the final project. How and why did you choose this topic? What's the problem you're solving or the research questions you're addressing? How does your work provide a contribution? Is there a need for your work? What challenges did you experience? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your approach? What was your methodology? What process did you use to complete your project?

The Product. In addition, you need to create a product that can be shared electronically with the public. In other words, I'll be sharing the best products on our class website for future students to enjoy. As such, your project must be professionally presented in the form of a PDF file, timeliner tool (i.e. Timeglider), and/or website (i.e., Weebly, Googlesites, Wordpress). Or, other digital format that can be easily enjoyed by others.

History is much more exciting when you can see and hear the evidence. When possible, incorporate digital images, artifacts, and media elements into your project. If you are working with a library, be sure to get permission to share any images you scan. If you are using images from online, be sure they are in the public domain. If not, be sure you follow use guidelines or get permissions. Start early!

Project Options

Rather than a general library history topic, your project should focus one of Richard Krzyer's three categories of library history: specific purpose (i.e, key event, time period, historical context), specific subjects (i.e., biography, movement, or agency), or method (i.e., survey, case studies, interviews, or travelogues).

Your project should include both analysis and interpretation. In other words, you should be evaluating sources and connecting readings with new ideas. Then, supporting your claims with evidence. Your project should be MUCH MORE THAN facts. It should present a new way of thinking about library history based on specific evidence citing credible sources. In other words, if you use a timeline tool, be sure you connect the events in your narrative. How do people, places, and things contribute to changes over time? What primary and secondary resources support the facts and interpretations you're making?

Be sure to incorporate primary sources into your project. Many courses rely on secondary sources. However in this course, you should be examining at least a few primary sources of information and part of the evidence used in your project. The use of historical materials is essential in your project. You should be using resources such as archive.org to locate books of the period you're exploring, library archives to locate minutes of meetings and historical photos, and old issues of magazines and newspaper to locate primary source materials. You'll be amazed at the primary sources that are available if you seek out old sales catalogs, books from earlier centuries, and the work of archaeologists. Your project should include citations for books, articles, and other materials in addition to the resources you find at websites. In other words, DIG DEEP!

Your project should represent a unique contribution to the study of library history.

The following ideas are simply intended to get you started thinking about the possibilities:

Keep in mind that this project is worth 3 times the points as the Actios. If you choose a toos like a timeline, it should have 3 times that depth as an actio.

Idea 1. Library History. Work with a library to create a comprehensive history. For instance, you might create a library history website for a specific library that doesn't currently have one or a professional produced historical booklet to be printed or distributed as a PDF. To select this option you must work directly with the library itself. In other words, you must make contact with the director and get approval. You'll need this approval to gain access to images and primary source materials from the library. For instance you might include founding documents, historical photos, digitized ephemera. This should be much more than an electronic scrapbook. It should put the history of this library into the large context of library history. What was happening in each time period? How did local, national, and global issues impact this library? This project would be lots of fun, but there's a short timeline in the summer. If this can't be accomplished in the time permitted, choose another project.

Idea 2. Trace a Library Thread or Movement. Trace the history of some aspect of library science or a specialized area. For instance, "public libraries" is too broad. However you might explore the history of fiction in public libraries. Or, try something unusual such as the history of prison libraries at the federal prison level, the evolution of organizational systems and shelving, or the impact of bookmobiles on rural access in Indiana. Consider an issue such as censorship in the 19th century or libricide in the 1940s. Keep in mind that the focus should be on the historical aspect of the topic.

Idea 3. Focus on the Unique. Conduct a case study of a particular library and/or person connected with a library. This may be a famous library, typical library, or unusual library. It could be a person who had a tremendous impact on libraries. Think different. It could be the "first", "last", "only", "largest", "smallest", "oldest", etc. How does this library reflect what is happening in the larger library community and world at different points in time?

Idea 4. Libraries in Crisis. Take a particular time period in library history that marked a turning point, major event, or specific set of circumstances. For instance, look at early libraries of the American west, military camp libraries, Japanese Internment libraries or other specific topics.

Idea 5. Libraries Connections. Begin with a problem, issue, or concern and trace it back to its roots. How is it connected with libraries through the ages? Why do we have law libraries? What's the origin of the connection between libraries and intellectual freedom? Can libraries be connected to the Civil Rights Movement? How have libraries evolved differently in particular cultures?

Idea 6. Outside the Box, Over the Edge. It's your turn. Come up with something entirely new. Have you always wondered about the libraries of Africa? Learn about their history? Are you fascinated by literacy and slavery in the 19th century? Can you find a library history connection? What are the foundations of music libraries? How did they evolve? The possibilities are endless.

Idea 7. Source Focus. From historical inscriptions to marketing posters, select a type of primary source to use as the focus of a history project. For instance, you might examine a historical travelogue or journals. Investigate library product catalogue of the 1800s. Use these artifacts or media to tell the story of library history. Focus on the shift from scrolls to codex in libraries and the implications for shelving, illuminated books and church libraries, library campaign posters through history, library postcards and the architecture of libraries, the evolution of card catalog cards, or library technology and automation.


Select a format for your final product. Be creative. Have some fun! Not everyone loves library history the way we do. Think of a way to convey your ideas in a way that will engage your readers and explorers. Not in the mood to write a paper? Create a timeline or video instead!

Alternative. Are you in the mood to write a library manifesto, a photo essay, a short story, a children's book, or mini-textbook? Be my guest. Use whatever format best suits your needs. You could even write an e-book to be published on Amazon or an ibook for the iPad. It just needs to be in a digital format that others in the class can access.

Scholarly Article. If you choose to write a professional article, it should meet the guidelines of a particular scholarly journal such as Library Trends or Information & Culture. Or, a journal aimed at a particular library journal type such as academic, medical, or law librarianship. If you choose to write for a popular journal, it should meet the guidelines of a popular journal such as Smithsonian Magazine. You should turn in two papers. One that provides the required backstory and another that contains the article itself. Use the PDF format for submission.

Timeline. When studying history, a chronology is an effective way to organize ideas. Use a tool like Timeglider as a way to present your final project. You might also explore other options such as Tiki-Toki, Capzles, or TimeToast.

Video or Multimedia Presentation. If you choose to do a video or multimedia presentation, it must include all the components of a scholarly article. In other words, it should cite professional resources, images, and other materials incorporated into the work. You may need to provide a printed document to accompany your work that includes these required elements. A PowerPoint presentation is NOT an acceptable format unless it is a self-running, audio narrated show. Consider uploading your project to Vimeo or YouTube. Your project may need to be editing into smaller segments for online viewing.

Website. A website is a great way to share your library history project. Consider using a free website builder (i.e., Weebly, Googlesites, Wordpress). Or, your own website domain if you have one available.


This project is worth 30 points. The expectations are high.

Backstory (5 Points). In a separate paper (or as part of the project), explain the investigation process.

Product (22 Points). The final product may take many forms. Be creative. However also be sure to provide the depth expected in this project.

Peer Selection (3 Points). Review the projects of your peers. Select ONE that you think should be added to the course materials. Why do you think it's an exemplary project? Where would it fit into the course readings? How would it contribute to the course? Post your review as a reply to your peer in Canvas.


Looking for final project ideas? Check out these examples. Keep in mind that assignent guidelines have changes and some didn't not include the "back story" requirement in the projects below.

Keep in mind that some of the older examples may no longer be available.

Examples 2017-2018

Examples 2016

Examples 2013

Examples 2012

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