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Library Trends 60 (4) Spring 2012: Windows on the World—Analyzing Main Street Public Library Collections


Library Trends 60 (4) Spring 2012: Windows on the World—Analyzing Main Street Public Library Collections. Edited by Wayne A. Wiegand

With very few exceptions, we know little about the histories of small town public libraries. In 1991 five small public libraries graciously loaned the editor their accessions books, which listed all their acquisitions from about 1900 when they got their first Library Bureau accessions books through the early 1970s. Beginning in 1992 research assistants at the University of Wisconsin–Madison keyed this information into a relational database that would allow me to search the contents of the collections of all five libraries collectively or individually over the decades. Although the editor used the database to construct a chapter in Main Street Public Library specifically analyzing the collections against a larger universe of print from a variety of political and literary perspectives, he decided to ask fifteen friends and colleagues in and out of library history whose work I knew and respected to look at the contents of these five libraries over time from their own unique research perspectives. Eleven accepted; seven are included in this issue of Library Trends. I will leave it up to readers to judge whether conclusions in Main Street Public Library are validated by the seven essays in this issue, each of which analyzes the database from a unique perspective. I also invite anyone interested in doing additional research in the database who further wants to test the findings to access the database at

Library Trends (ISSN 0024-2594) is an essential tool for librarians and educators alike. Each issue thoroughly explores a current topic of interest in professional librarianship and includes practical applications, thorough analyses, and literature reviews. The journal is published quarterly for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science by The Johns Hopkins University Press. For subscription information, call 800-548-1784 (410-516-6987 outside the U.S. and Canada), email jlorder [at], or visit

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