Libraries and the modern world

Alistair Matthew Black, Peter Hoare

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Libraries and modernity The 150 year period that this volume covers witnessed the emergence and development of what can justifiably be referred to as the modern library. It coincided with the maturation of modernity: A change of gear within the broad epoch of modernity that was set in motion by the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century and the intellectual revolution of the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. During our period, industrial production moved on to a more technical plane, and became irrevocably determined by the outputs of applied science (the “knowledge economy”, we might observe, existed for a century or more before its “rediscovery” in the late twentieth century). Society underwent a process of massification. This was as much the case in terms of political arrangements (universal suffrage), communications (the mass media, including the book trade and newspapers) and social provision (education, welfare and housing) as it was in respect of production, consumption and advertising. The “control” dimensions of modernity, such as surveillance, bureaucracy and standardisation, intensified alongside its liberating tendencies, such as the free flow of ideas and the operation of a public sphere, which was extended via a variety of rational and accessible institutions - although restricted, some would argue, by others, especially as the twentieth century progressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland
Subtitle of host publication1850-2000
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781139055321
ISBN (Print)0521780977, 9780521780971
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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