Public Library Directors Of The Past And Present


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The goal of this assignment is to critically analyze the contributions of two library leaders, of the past and the present.

Part I: Students were to profile an individual who has made a major contribution in forwarding the mission of libraries. Names were selected from the people listed in the 100 of the Most Important Leaders We Had in the 20th Century article which we read earlier in the semester.

Part II: Students were to interview an information professional that has been in the field at least 2 years. We were to ask them at least 10 questions that cover their education, work experience, goals, why they entered the profession, expectation of the profession, thoughts to the future, etc.

Part III: Students were required to analyze issues facing your current library leader and historical figure that we chose. We were to address these issues in a 3-4 minute presentation to the class and include a one page handout.

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Public Library Directors Of The Past And Present

  1. 1. Public Library Directors of the Past and Present An Overview of the Historical Contributions of Ralph A. Ulveling and Nancy Colpaert to the Library Profession Heidi E. Blanton | Wayne State University | Summer 2006
  2. 2. Ralph A. Ulveling Library Director of the Detroit Public Library from 1941 to 1967. Graduated from Columbia University with his degree in Library Science Past president of the American Library Association Best known for his controversial stance on intellectual freedom during the Cold War.
  3. 3. Nancy Colpaert Library Director of the Monroe County Library System from 1999 to present. Worked for the Monroe County Library System for over 30 years. Graduated from University of Michigan with her degree in Library Science. Prefers to use her skills to influence library decisions on a local and community level.
  4. 4. Accomplishments of the Library Directors Ralph A. Ulveling Nancy Colpaert ◦ A leader on social ◦ Promotes discussion issues concerning on technology racism. throughout the library ◦ Redesigned DPL and system. other libraries to ◦ Stays active and visible make sense physically throughout the and mentally community and the ◦ Promoted personal library system attainment goals ◦ Promotes recreation through adult and education in the education library system.
  5. 5. The Ulveling Controversy Spoke in favor censoring books to the reference shelf to keep what he considered “communist propaganda” out of the hands of general readers. Felt the Library Bill of Rights was “incompatible” with his obligation as an American citizen. In favor of rigid book selection policies Believed that it was the librarian’s duty to guide the patron in “right thinking”
  6. 6. The MCLS Controversy Copies of the Madonna Sex Book were purchased for the library system. The community felt that this was not material they wanted in their library system. Employees of the library system were questioned and even threatened by members of the community. In the mind of Nancy Colpaert, however, the controversy solidified the need for intellectual freedom.
  7. 7. Objectives of a Public Library Ralph A. Ulveling Nancy Colpaert ◦ Education ◦ Free access to ◦ Information information ◦ Aesthetic Appreciation ◦ Education ◦ Research ◦ Recreation ◦ Recreation
  8. 8. Conclusion The public library’s shifting roles ◦ Technology increases the amount of access patrons have to information at home ◦ Recreation a more accepted form of education ◦ The library building is more of a destination