In press at last

After years of work, my book International and comparative librarianship: concepts and methods (ISBB 978-3-11-026799-0), has been submitted to the printers. It is being published under the auspices of IFLA by the respected German academic and scholarly publisher, De Gruyter Saur, as volume 4 in the series Global studies in libraries and information. It will be released in Berlin and Boston in July 2019, in time for a launch at the August 2019 IFLA World Library and Information Congress.

The book was announced some years ago – embarrassingly long ago – in the De Gruyter Saur catalogue at approximately 400 pages, with the subtitle A thematic approach. But it evolved. As I worked, I was emphatically reminded that professors don’t write books about what they know; rather, they write about what they think they know, but need to check.  This resulted in a long research effort, which sorely tried the patience of my editors, family, and friends. (Thank you all!). Obviously I tried to unearth as much as possible of what has been written about international and comparative librarianship over the years. But I was also led to explore other topics in many disciplines. These included ontology, epistemology, and other branches of philosophy, communication science, systems science, social science research methodology, diffusion of innovations and policy transfer, comparative education and other comparative sciences, political economy, colonialism, and development studies, not to mention just about every area in library and information science.

International and comparative librarianship is a field for generalists. We are interested in everything, as long as it has an international dimension.

After several million keystrokes (with my own two index fingers – I started typing as a child and never mastered touch typing) and after oft-repeated editing and retyping, I have produced a doorstop of more than 330,000 words: thirteen chapters, 734 pages of text, a 130-page bibliography listing over 2,000 entries, and a detailed forty-page index. Here is the table of contents.

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Renewing this blog

My son, Alfred, who is not only a fine photographer but also a savvy web designer, is helping me to reorganize this site to make it more accessible and up-to-date. Until now, most of the recent material has been scattered on the main thematic pages, so that these additions do not feature in the “Recent Posts” sidebar. From now on I will post on this blog page, with links to the other pages on which content is grouped thematically.

Now that my book has been completed, there will – I hope – be more frequent posts her about a variety of topics.  Most of these will continue to revolve around my central theme: international and comparative librarianship.

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Peter Lor’s Library ABC, no. 9: XYZ

After a gap in 2016. I have now posted installment no. 9, for the letters XYZ.  The interruption was due in part due to pressure of work and in part to computer problems which resulted in the disappearance of my address database. This has now been reconstructed as far as possible. Here is the library page (p.2) of the newsletter. Page 1 is of a more personal/professional nature. If you did not receive it as an e-mail attachment and want to see it, send me an old-fashioned e-mail (peterjlor[at]gmail.com) and you will be added to the mailing list.

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Chapters 4, 5 and 6

Completely revised and largely rewritten versions of chapters 3, 4 and 5 have now been posted here as chapters 4, 5, and 6 respectively. This completes the “Method” part of my book.

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Recent thesis on libraries and peacebuilding

A Bacheloroppgave (bachelor’s thesis) on libraries and peacebuilding, by Natalia Bermudez Qvortrup, has recently been accepted by the Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus, Institutt for arkiv-, bibliotek- og informasjonsfag, in Oslo, Norway. The title is “Libraries and peacebuilding: the role of public libraries in post-conflict societies: a systematic review”.  Here is the abstract:

The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the roles of libraries in postconflict societies. It analyses the roles that public libraries have taken on to help re-build postconflict societies after the 1980s. This paper systematically categorises the collected information in a theoretical framework, which combines John Paul Lederach’s theories of peacebuilding, and Peter Lor’s concept of a scale of library roles in peacebuilding. Searches were carried out in seven different databases. 48 papers were identified, of which only 22 fit the initial criteria and only 16 fit the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) criteria. These articles show that there are roughly nine roles libraries take on in post-conflict societies, all of which can be directly or indirectly implemented for peacebuilding. The results show that there is a difference between countries and continents in their approach to, and their levels of interest in, peacebuilding. Some articles demonstrate that tensions and conflicts escalate when communities do not have access to libraries or information. On the whole, there is insufficient research measuring the impact of libraries that have taken on a direct role in peacebuilding. Theoretically, however, many of the core library roles fulfil the necessary requirements for successful peacebuilding implementation approaches, yet have been completely overlooked in the peacebuilding field.

For those interested in libraries and peace, this is a systematic and useful piece of work and well worth looking at. It is available online at: https://fagarkivet-hioa.archive.knowledgearc.net/bitstream/handle/123456789/1021/106.pdf?sequence=1. I congratulate Natalia and hope that she will follow this up with further research on this topic.

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L4P: Libraries for Peace

The year 2016 was not a good year for peace-makers. We saw continuing violence and destruction in many parts of the world, as well as the rise of intolerant, ill-informed, and intransigent political leaders. I believe that librarians have a role – a duty – to play in combating war-talk and promoting peace. I draw your attention to an initiative of the Mortenson Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It has created a website http://librariesforpeace.org/, which includes a web page on which those interested can share stories of what their libraries are doing to promote peace, and learn what libraries around the world are currently doing. There is an interactive map on which librarians’ pledges for peace, celebratory events, and stories can be shared.

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Updates December 2016

The “Welcome”, “About me” and “Presentations” pages have been updated. In “About me” my curriculum vitae has been abridged and updated, and my lists of publications and of  papers and presentations have been updated. Links have been provided for most of the items listed in “Presentations” for 2015 and 2016.

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New Chapter 3

The new Chapter 3, Conceptual exploration, has been posted here. In it I attempt to tease out some key LIS concepts and explore some conceptual frameworks that may be useful for research in international and comparative librarianship.  This concludes the rewriting of Part I the book, “Conceptual Foundations”. As always, comments and questions will be welcomed.

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Libraries promoting peace: cherished illusion or opportunity for action

Following up on my earlier post, here is a PowerPoint I presented at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, on 6 September, 2016.

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Libraries and Peace: some current activities

In March I posted a message on IFLA’s listserv, IFLA-L, inviting colleagues to send me examples of library activities aimed at promoting peace. This was done with a view to a poster presentation at the 2016 IFLA Congress in Columbus, Ohio. I received interesting material from kind colleagues, for which my thanks. Unfortunately, a spell of illness and logistical problems have prevented me from producing the planned poster. Instead, I have used some of the responses to compiled the piece which you will find here.

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