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The Spirit of Reference Service

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Title: The Spirit of Reference Service
Author(s): Downs, Robert B.
Subject(s): Reference services (Libraries)
Abstract: It is practically a truism that modern library philosophy, especially in America, emphasizes the use of materials rather than their preservation. There is recognition, of course, that rare and valuable books must be given special protection and used under regulations guaranteeing their safety. To apply the same rules to the great mass of current publishing, however, would be a severe handicap to our concepts of library service. Though the point may appear so obvious that it is hardly worth stating, perhaps because we have become thoroughly accustomed to it, this feature of American librarianship is in striking contrast to prevailing practices in many other countries. As a result of our stress on public service, circulation, reference, and research departments are highly developed in nearly all types of libraries. It is revealing to compare this approach with the attitude of, say, most of the Japanese, Mexican, and Turkish librarians, with whom this writer has worked in recent years. Traditionally, these librarians believe that professional librarianship stops with cataloging and classification. They have considered that their job was done when they acquired the books and placed them on the shelves. If anyone wants to use the books, there they are.
Issue Date: 1957
Publisher: Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info: In R.B.Phelps and J.Phillips (eds). 1957. The library as a community information center; papers presented at an institute conducted by the University of Illinois Library School, September 29-October 2, 1957. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 1-11.
Series/Report: Allerton Park Institute (4th : 1957)
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/1450
ISSN: 0536-4604
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois 1957.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-07-13
 

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