Library Trends 31 (4) Spring 1983: Adult Learners, Learning and Public Libraries


Library Trends 31 (4) Spring 1983: Adult Learners, Learning and Public Libraries. Edited by Elizabeth J. Burge.

In the 1959 issue of Library Trends, "Current Trends in Adult Education," the editor, Walter Stone, stated that "optimism, enthusiasm, and personal dedication are among the most distinguishing characteristics of all those, including librarians, who work and write in behalf of adult education." Almost a quarter of a century later, adult educators still show those characteristics, but with a major difference: the characteristics are based on knowledge and skills that have significantly increased since 1959, and which are supported by an important shift in perspective.

The 1959 issue and this issue of Library Trends show interesting relationships. Both share the key assumption that librarians are adult educators, and both outline examples of innovative and responsive work with adults. This present issue argues by implication that an acceptance of educative roles for librarians is developed only with a clear understanding of how and why adults learn. The current issue reflects the increase in knowledge and skills over the past twenty-three years, and illustrates a new perspective for work with adult learners The choice of articles for this issue, however, represents a highly selective approach to this 1983 update on adult learners and their relationships with public libraries. The article sequence supports a conceptual frame- work that starts in an adult education context, moves to the individual learner, and then examines institutional responses. The selection has been based on the need to avoid repetitive discussion of library-based work with adult learners.

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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