From Greek and Roman times to the digital era, the library has remained central to knowledge, scholarship, and the imagination. The Meaning of the Library is a generously illustrated examination of this key institution of Western culture. Tracing what the library has meant since its beginning, examining how its significance has shifted, and pondering its importance in the twenty-first century, notable contributors--including the Librarian of Congress and the former executive director of the HathiTrust--present a cultural history of the library. In an informative introduction, Alice Crawford sets out the book's purpose and scope, and an international array of scholars, librarians, writers, and critics offer vivid perspectives about the library through their chosen fields. The Meaning of the Library will appeal to all who are interested in this vital institution's heritage and ongoing legacy.
Alice Crawford is digital humanities research librarian at the University of St Andrews Library in Scotland. Her books include Paradise Pursued: The Novels of Rose Macaulay.
List of Illustrations ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction, Alice Crawford xiii Part 1 The Library through Time Chapter 1 Adventures in Ancient Greek and Roman Libraries, Edith Hall 1 Chapter 2 The Image of the Medieval Library, Richard Gameson 31 Chapter 3 The Renaissance Library and the Challenge of Print, Andrew Pettegree 72 Chapter 4 From Printing Shop to Bookshelves: How Books Began the Journey to Enlightenment Libraries, Robert Darnton 91 Chapter 5 "The Advantages of Literature": The Subscription Library in Georgian Britain, David Allan 103 Chapter 6 Literature and the Library in the Nineteenth Century, John Sutherland 124 Part 2 The Library in Imagination Chapter 7 The Library in Fiction, Marina Warner 153 Chapter 8 The Library in Poetry, Robert Crawford 176 Chapter 9 The Library in Film: Order and Mystery, Laura Marcus 199 Part 3 The Library Now and in the Future Chapter 10 "Casting and Gathering": Libraries, Archives, and the Modern Writer, Stephen Enniss 223 Chapter 11 Meanings of the Library Today, John P. Wilkin 236 Chapter 12 The Modern Library and Global Democracy, James H. Billington 254 Selected Bibliography 267 Contributors 281 Index 285