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Title:Is Contemporary Readers' Advisory Populist?: Taste Elevation and Ideological Tension in the Genreflecting Series
Author(s):Lawrence, Emily
Subject(s):Reader's Advisory
Populism
Abstract:Is contemporary Reader's Advisory (RA) a purely populist service? In an effort to answer that question, this paper begins with a brief account of the ideological tension between populism and elitism in the library profession. It then continues to an exploration of the views on "taste elevation" represented in seven editions of the flagship Genreflecting series, published between 1982 and 2013. On the basis of this critical interpretive work, the paper concludes that the most plausible answer to its initial question is "no." While Genreflecting portrays RA as distinctly opposed to taste elevation, the service remains fundamentally normative, and further, inescapably concerned with the improvement of individuals' tastes. This is because while advisors do not try to elevate readers' tastes in books or genres, they do seek to cultivate in patrons a preference for pleasure reading. Insofar as RA is structured to instill such a preference, and insofar as to prefer is always to prefer one thing over some alternative, RA is essentially a project devoted to taste elevation in leisure activities.
Issue Date:2017
Publisher:Johns Hopkins University Press. The School of Information Sciences at Illinois. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info:Lawrence, Emily. "Is Contemporary Readers' Advisory Populist?: Taste Elevation and Ideological Tension in the Genreflecting Series." Library Trends, vol. 65 no. 4, 2017, pp. 491-507. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/lib.2017.0012
Series/Report:Library Trends 65 (4). Spring 2017
Genre:Article
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/103589
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2017.0012
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-04-22
2019-06-30


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