Monday, December 19, 2011
Happy 125th Birthday Pierce Butler
Another significant December library related birthday. Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of Lee Pierce Butler (1886-1953), library educator at the University of Chicago and author of An Introduction to Library Science (University of Chicago Press, 1933 & subsequent editions). Like many library school students of my generation my introduction to Butler's An Introduction to Library Science classic came in my first library science course. I still have my copy of the required text which is marked up extensively. To get an idea of how long ago this was, it only cost me $1.25. My copy has an introduction by Lester E. Asheim, another well known library educator. Basically, Butler tried to provide a theoretical basis for library science to counter the "simplicity of their [the library profession's] pragmatism". In his introduction Asheim indicates Butler's "little booklet" "seemed dangerously revolutionary to many librarians at the time ". Hard to believe any library science text could have been considered to be dangerously revolutionary.