Merchants of light: The Paris library school, internationalism, and the globalization of a profession

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Amid growing isolationism after World War I, the American Library Association transferred its wartime programs to train librarians in Europe and promote the American model of public libraries. Working in collaboration with American philanthropists and members of the French library community, ALA established a permanent library school in Paris that operated from 1924 to 1929. This article traces the school's evolution from an ALA-run program for a few French librarians to a center for international librarianship aimed at creating a global professional structure and promoting international understanding. In pursuing these global ambitions, the Paris Library School became central to the development of international librarianship and placed the library profession at the forefront of wider internationalist activities that are often cited as precursors to current trends in globalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-151
Number of pages21
JournalLibrary Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences

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