History of Libraries Course

Course Description: This course will examine the origins, development, and importance of European and North American libraries and archives from antiquity to the twenty-first century. Students will learn about the various libraries and librarians and their role within society through book chapters, articles, and audiovisual presentations.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the development and role of libraries from the ancient world to the twenty-first century.
  • Compare and Contrast about the rise of the different types of libraries.
  • Discuss how the development of European libraries differs from that of American and British libraries
  • Contextualize how the invention of printing and the rise of literacy influenced the rise of libraries.
  • Describe how others see libraries and librarians


REQUIRED: Battles, Matthew. Library: An Unquiet History. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., June 2004.

OPTIONAL: Manguel, Alberto. The Library at Night. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008

RECOMMENDED: Harris, Michael H. History of Libraries of the Western World. 4th edition Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1995. (provides historical context)

These books are on reserve at KSU Libraries and  on reserve in Columbus in the SLIS office in the State Library.

Various readings as assigned – on e-reserve at KSU Libraries http://www.kent.edu/library/about/depts/reserves/index.cfm .

Additional Resources for the History of Libraries:

  • Bibliography of Writings on the History of Libraries, Librarianship, and Book Culture – Library History Round Table ALA http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/lhrt/popularresources/libhistorybib/libraryhistory.cfm
  • Libraries & Culture Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter, 2000 Special Issue: Library History Research in America (available through JSTOR) especially Gracy II, David B. “The History of the Library in Western Civilization: A Review Essay” Libraries & the Cultural Record, Vol. 42, No. 4 (2007): 438–444. (available through Kentlink on EJC)
  • Campbell, James W.P. The Library: A World History. Photographs by Will Pryce. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.
  • Hobson, Anthony. Great Libraries. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970.

COURSE BLOG http://mkahn3.blogspot.com/