Textbooks by Semester

LIBR 280-01
LIBR 280-10
History of Books and Libraries
Spring 2010 Outline

Linda Main
Office: Clark Hall 420B (San Jose)
Phone: (408) 924-2494
Office Hours:
Virtually by e-mail
Debbie Hansen
Office: PLS 275 (CSU Fullerton)
Phone: (714) 278-7288
Office Hours:
Virtually, by e-mail;
Telephone by appointment

Course Links

ANGEL Tutorials
SLIS eBookstore

January | February | March | April | May

26th January: Course Overview

Communication in the Ancient World

I. Pre-alphabetic communication

  1. Pictographs
  2. Ideographic writing; hieroglyphics, cuneiform
  3. Syllabic scripts

II. The alphabet

  1. Problems of origin
  2. The Phoenician and the Greek alphabet
  3. The Roman alphabet
  4. Other writing systems

III. Writing material

  1. Clay, stone, papyrus, and other early material
  2. Parchment and vellum-the codex
  3. Brushes, pens, and their influence on letter forms

IV. Early libraries

2nd February: The Manufacture of Books in the Middle Ages

I. Monasticism in the West

  1. Nature and function of monasteries
  2. Monastic Orders

II. Scriptoria and monastic libraries

  1. Goal: to preserve and disseminate texts
  2. Methods
    1. Copying and verifying
    2. Rubricating and illuminating
    3. Binding

III. Evolution of manuscript hands

  1. Quadrata to uncial and half-uncial
  2. Carolingian minuscule
  3. Gothic scripts
  4. Humanistic scripts

IV. Illumination and illustration

  1. Insular school, seventh-ninth centuries
  2. Carolingian and Ottonian illumination, ninth-tenth centuries
  3. Romanesque illumination, eleventh-twelfth centuries
  4. Gothic illumination, thirteenth-fifteenth centuries, Books of Hours

9th February: Technological Developments to the Fifteenth Century

I. Life in the Middle Ages

II. The Rise of the Universities

III. Printing in Japan, China, and Korea before its discovery in Europe

IV. Problems of reproducing books mechanically

  1. Making letters
  2. Ink suitable for metal type
  3. Device for making impressions


  1. The invention of paper in China and its route to Europe
  2. The manufacture of paper by hand

III. Printed illustrations-woodcuts

  1. Block books

16th February: The Introduction of Printing in Europe

I. The period of the Incunabula

  1. Gutenberg as the inventor of printing
  2. Key printers of the Incunabula

II. The spread of printing

  1. Germany
  2. Rome and Venice
  3. Paris and Lyons
  4. The Netherlands and England
  5. Spain
  6. Russia

Manuscript project due by 4pm

23rd February: Moving towards the Modern World

I. Changes in society

II. Printer scholars

III. Printing in the American colonies

IV. Binding

V. Illustrations

VI. Medieval and renaissance libraries

VII. Early writings on librarianship

2nd March: Seventeenth to Twentieth Century Developments

I. Type foundries

II. Private presses

  1. William Morris

III. Printing in America

IV. Technological developments

V. Mass production

  1. Popular Novels
  2. Children's books

VI. Beginnings of famous libraries

9th March: Changes in Book Design

I. Paperbacks

II. Dime Novels

III. Comics

IV. Artists books

V. Children's book illustration

VI. Small presses

VII. e-Books

VIII. Book burning

Printed book project due by 4pm

13th March: Midterm Exam

Exam on the history of books and early libraries

The exam will test your ability to identify key milestones, contributions of individuals, and the important distinguishing characteristics of the items discussed in class. It will be based on the points summarized in the class handouts and talking points for each week. It will be held via Angel. The exam will be run from 10am-11:15am on the 13th March.

16th March: Print Culture in the New World

I. Books and reading in colonial America

  1. Immigration and settlement patterns
  2. Literacy and education in Calvinist New England
  3. Literacy and education in the colonial South
  4. America’s fledging printing industry

II. Book collecting and libraries in the Federalist period

  1. Economic and social change in the early 1800s
  2. Private libraries and book collecting
  3. Development of proprietary libraries among early American elites

23rd March: Public Library Movement in Nineteenth-Century America

I. Social libraries and the emergence of an American middle class

  1. The Industrial Revolution and social change in antebellum America
  2. Popular reading and the development of “reading communities” before the Civil War
  3. Roles and functions of social libraries and circulating libraries
II. Development of the public library
  1. Philosophy and purpose of the first public libraries
  2. Background and ideology of library founders
  3. Early library patrons and their information needs
  4. Differences between the public library and its precursors

30th March: Spring Break

6th April: Special Populations & Special Causes in Early Public Libraries

I. Major issues in the development of public libraries, 1850-1910

  1. The fiction debate and collection development in early public libraries
  2. Library services for the foreign born
  3. African Americans and the American public library system
  4. Children in the library
  5. Rural libraries and the traveling library movement
  6. Library books and communicable diseases

13th April: Libraries in California

I. Books and reading in Spanish California

  1. First books in California
  2. California’s Catholic missionaries and their libraries
  3. The fate of mission libraries after secularization in the 1830s
  4. Books and reading among the Californios

II. Libraries and the Americanization of California after 1850

  1. Socioeconomic change in California, 1850-1900
  2. Early book culture and libraries in mid-nineteenth-century San Francisco, Monterey, Sacramento, and other settlements in Northern California
  3. Mining town libraries and reading rooms
  4. Development of libraries in Southern California
  5. James Gillis and the creation of California’s County Library System
  6. The importance of libraries in California community building

20th April: Library Pioneers and the Feminization of American Libraries

I. Founders of the American public library movement

  1. General background and characteristics of early library leaders
  2. Biographical sketches of the profession’s founding fathers, including Justin Winsor, William Poole, Charles Cutter, John Shaw Billings, Charles Evans, Daniel Alexander Payne Murray

II. The mixed legacy of Melvil Dewey

  1. Dewey’s early career and professional innovations
  2. Dewey and library education
  3. Dewey’s downfall

III. Feminization of librarianship

  1. Women and work in Victorian American
  2. Notable women library pioneers: Katharine Sharp, Mary Wright Plummer, Mary Cutler Fairchild, Alice Kroeger
  3. Library schools and the feminization of the profession
  4. Work lives of the first women library school graduates
  5. Men in a feminized profession

27th April: The Library of Congress, ALA, and Andrew Carnegie: The Professionalization of American Librarianship

I. Library of Congress

  1. Early uses and functions
  2. Competition with Smithsonian (dir. Charles Coffin Jewett) to be the National Library
  3. Expansion under Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford
  4. Professionalization under Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam

II. American Library Association

  1. ALA and defining a professional community
  2. Educational standards and accreditation
  3. The Williamson Report and the development of librarianship as an academic discipline
  4. Library education in California

III. Andrew Carnegie and American public libraries

  1. Carnegie’s background and interest in libraries
  2. The Carnegie Corporation and public library grants
  3. The Carnegie Corporation and library education
  4. Carnegie’s legacy

1st May: Final Exam

Exam on the history of books, libraries, and librarianship in America.

This exam will be based on the assigned readings and websites as well as the class lectures given during the second half of the class only. It will be held via Angel.

9th May: Library history paper due at 5 p.m.