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The Library World Volume 52 Issue 1

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 July 1949



Librarianship, the comprehensive title Mr. R. Irwin has given to the small, concentrated series of discourses recently published by Messrs. Grafton & Co., is a sort of landmark in our thinking. It is a valiant attempt to establish some sort of arena for librarians ; not, indeed, a “philosophy of librarianship”—that, Mr. Irwin asserts, is not feasible as the term philosophy can be applied correctly only to subjects which are part of philosophy itself, although he admits a philosophy of religion, of science and, tentatively, of history. In spite of this precision, the book is what we ordinary librarians call a philosophy of librarianship. Like all good books, it will be the cause of considerable discussion and probably a good deal of argument, some of which the Editor of a library journal thinks it appropriate to indicate, for the book goes to the roots of current activities. But, in the first place, the author Stands apart as it were to get a comprehensive view and then asserts that librarianship is a word for “ applied bibliography ” and that definition covers every activity, book‐selection, bibliography popularly named, cataloguing, classification and the general exploiting of books. Librarianship is one technique, not several, and he implies that it has suffered from the tendency to teach library subjects as separate techniques, for example, cataloguing and classification which are actually one process. This separation was the result of part‐time and other fortuitous forms of teaching. Since the advent of library schools the tendency of the training and examination courses of the Library Association, and as a consequence of the schools themselves, has been to create a unity of Studies which is the perfect librarian's soundest equipment. That is the briefest Statement is the purpose.


(1949), "The Library World Volume 52 Issue 1", New Library World, Vol. 52 No. 1, pp. 1-24.




Copyright © 1949, MCB UP Limited

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