Visits by British librarians to the United States are an overlooked aspect of transatlantic cultural exchange. After an outline of the early history of international conferences at which British and American librarians would have met, examples are selected from the formative era of professional librarianship of visits by British librarians and library promoters to study the institutions and processes of their American counterparts. The core of the article is formed by description and discussion of separate visits to the United States made by three mid-twentieth-century British librarians: Dr J. E. Holstrom, head of the Information Department, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), in 1948; Margaret Scoffield, Librarian of Aireborough Public Libraries, Yorkshire, in 1949; and F. G. B. Hutchings, Chief Librarian of Leeds Public Libraries, Yorkshire, in 1951. In various ways, these three visitors fulfilled the tripartite role of observer, ambassador, and tourist. The article concludes with a discussion about the extent to which the three travellers endorsed or resisted American library culture and American culture per se.
- British librarians
- United States
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- History and Philosophy of Science