Professor of Library Science, Wayne Wiegand has just written a great new book entitled, Part of Our Lives: a people's history of the American public library. While the appeal of this book is obvious to me, anyone with an interest in American social history, or in the state of public libraries would find this book fascinating.
Today, more than ever, we see prognosticators predicting the end of the public library. By some measurements, this may have some credence. For example, reference transactions have declined markedly since 1999. The days when a librarian armed with the World Almanac and a telephone book could answer any and all reference questions is certainly no longer true. The Internet, and of course, Google, have pretty much obviated the need to call the library to settle a bet, or win a trivia contest.