Professional Media | August 2013

Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America. Univ. of Wisconsin. (Print Culture History in Modern America). Aug. 2013. 273p. ed. by Christine Pawley & Louise S. Robbins. notes. index. ISBN 9780299293246. pap. $39.95; ebk. ISBN 9780299293239. PRO MEDIA

Part of a series overseen by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s (UW-M) Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, this volume focuses on the U.S. reading public since 1876. The essays, compiled by Pawley and Robbins, who have both served as professor and director of the School of Library and Information Studies at UW-M, are in four sections that travel in approximate chronology through topics surrounding readers’ advisory and paper trail, the immigrant experience, intellectual freedom, and the alternative press in America’s public institutions. Through analysis of library records in libraries ranging from the Library of Congress to Midwestern main street public institutions, the essays cover a number of regions and time frames, meaning that any particular reader may be interested in some more than others. However, there are also larger topics of general interest to the profession and to social historians. Highlights include the opening essay on early public libraries, the focus on the role of the library in immigrant life at the turn of the 20th century, the analysis of the 1992 formation of “Family Friendly Libraries” in retaliation against the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, and the discussion of the development of girl zine librarianship. VERDICT Recommended for librarians and print culture enthusiasts; the content ranges widely enough to pique varied interests.—Jewell Anderson, Savannah Country Day Sch. Lib., GA