Voices of Scottish Librarians

The Evolution of a Profession and its Response to Changing Times

By Ian MacDougall

Format: Paperback

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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This collection, based on interviews with 14 librarians and other library staff working in Scotland in the twentieth century, tells the stories of their working lives, explaining how libraries developed from the difficulties of the inter-war period and the austerity following the Second World War to become a well-used and important feature of local communities, committed to delivering an expanding range of public services. The book also takes us behind the library counter with tales of how the insecure false teeth of one staff member at Glasgow's Mitchell Library regularly plummeted four floors down the shaft of the book hoist and had to be retrieved by a colleague; of how Mills & Boon readers, to whom authors and titles meant little, inscribed their personal marks on books they had read to avoid borrowing the same ones again; of how a future leader of a national trade union expanded his mind and honed his political views in a small branch library in Fife; of how the mobile library in Midlothian, like the Pony Express, always got through regardless of the weather.As background to their working lives, the interviewees describe their familycircumstances, housing, schooling, pastimes, reading and wartime experiences. Charting the evolution of librarianship, the book reveals how our libraries have served society for generations and confirms Andrew Carnegie's belief that public libraries are one of the most potent agencies for good.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 6 Feb 2017
ISBN 9781910900093
Number of Pages 384

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Press Reviews

'This is an excellent book that, in the faithfully recorded Scottish intonations of its interviewees, brings to life those decades when a new Britain was being created'

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