Capturing the social memory of librarianship
Smith, Alan Arro
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This research has identified elements of the social memory of librarianship from the last half of the twentieth century by collecting and examining thirty-four oral history interviews of librarians at the end of their careers. These professional life stories trace an important arc through the history of library and information science. Many of these librarians began their careers prior to the use of any form of computer technology in libraries. This cohort ushered in a wave of technological innovations that has revolutionized the access to information. These oral history interviews are part of the Capturing Our Stories Oral History Program of Retiring/Retired Librarians sponsored by the American Library Association and the School of Information at the University of Texas. The social memory includes regret and nostalgia for the librarianship practiced at the beginning of their careers, excitement and wonder about how technology has fundamentally changed the profession, and perspectives on the popular stereotype associated with their careers.