Library History Seminar XII: Libraries in the History of Print Culture
Madison, Wisconsin, September 10-12, 2010
Library records provide a particularly fruitful avenue into the history of print culture. For millions of Americans from mid-nineteenth century on, institutional libraries have constituted a major path of access to texts, and in recent years, print culture scholars have begun to exploit libraries as a rich--and widely available--source of data. In addition to providing an important link between individual readers and the texts that they read, libraries can help occupy the middle ground between specific texts and readers and the macro or meta-theories that have come to dominate literary criticism. Indeed, libraries provide print culture scholars with an arena in which to exercise the historical and sociological imagination, linking micro analysis of the study of this text, these readers, here and now with the dimensions of macro analysis—such as class, race and gender, that they recognize need to be included. Libraries are both a site and a source of regulating processes. The interactions of multitudes of authors and readers are shaped in part by the meta-texts of the library’s operations: its classification and cataloging practices, its shelving system and the principles on which it bases reader access to those shelves; its circulation rules, its spatial and temporal arrangements for in-house reading; its provision of printed signs and guides to the collection, its use of web pages and personnel to steer readers along pre-defined and recognizable paths. Yet just as individual readers engage in ruses which allow them to appropriate individual texts, so those who read in the library read the library itself—becoming in the process, potentially resistant readers of the library.
We especially encourage the submission of proposals that make use of library records as primary sources, that focus on libraries as sites of textual encounter, or that locate libraries in the broader print culture of specific places and at specific times. Proposals for individual papers or complete sessions (up to three papers) should include a 250-word abstract and a one-page c.v. for each presenter. Submissions should be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2010. Notifications of acceptance will be made by early March.
Keynote speakers will be Professor Janice A. Radway of Northwestern University (author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature, and A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire) and Professor Wayne A. Wiegand of Florida State University (author of many books on library and print culture history, including Books on Trial: Red Scare in the Heartland [with Shirley A. Wiegand] and Irrepressible Reformer : A Biography of Melvil Dewey.
Two publication opportunities will be available. As with previous conferences, we plan to produce a volume of papers for publication in the Center’s series, “Print Culture History in Modern America,” published by the University of Wisconsin Press. A list of books the Center has produced, available on the Center’s website (http://slisweb.lis.wisc.edu/~printcul/), offers a guide to prospective authors. We also plan to publish a special issue of Libraries and the Cultural Record (whether papers appear in the book or the journal will be decided by the editors, in consultation with the UW Press and L&CR editors).v
More information will shortly be available on the web at http://slisweb.lis.wisc.edu/~printcul/
The conference is co-sponsored by the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, the School of Library and Information Studies, the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association, and the University of Wisconsin Libraries.
Christine Pawley, Director
Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America
University of Wisconsin-Madison
School of Library and Information Studies
Room 4234 Helen C. White Hall
600 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 263-2945
Fax: (608) 263-4849
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