Uses Of Libraries Essay

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André Cossette, a librarian in Quebec, Canada, wrote the text presented here as an investigation of the foundations of the library profession.

As you will see in his acknowledgments, it was written as part of a graduate program in Library Science at the University of Montreal.

Readers may be asking a couple of questions at this point.

The first question I can image being asked is, Why should American librarians be interested in a philosophical treatment of the foundations of the profession if it simply states in a systematic fashion what we already intuitively understand and picked up in a different way in library school and in the professional literature?

However, if I am not mistaken, many readers may recognize in it ideas that are present within their own practice but which they have not before seen expressed in a systematic way.

Cossette’s intention was to build a foundation for the practice of librarianship that was a simple, solid and comprehensive structure, and not a mixture of diverse ideas that sound appealing but are never thought through one against another.

This is not a familiar approach for American librarians.

We tend to find our philosophical foundations, such as they are, in inspiring statements of ideals that become fuzzy when inspected closely or juxtaposed, but find them useful enough to keep us going.

The first is made of a clear and distinct desire to constitute librarianship as a scientific discipline.

It aims to apply the scientific method to the library field as a way of providing methods that are understandable and effective.


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