7 Pages

General Principles of Bibliographic Instruction: Evan Farber

If you want a history of it and there are several, especially a new book by Larry Hardesty, John Schmitt and John Tucker called User Instruction in Academic Libraries: A Century of Selected Readings. It goes back into the 19th century and shows what people were doing then to teach the use of the library to undergraduates. Despite this history that goes back more than a hundred years, it was not until the 1960's that the current approach to bibliographic instruction got started, when there were many events, individuals and organizations that contributed to the movement. But it seems to me that although one must acknowledge the importance of these individuals, the events and trends-all of those that shaped the environment-they really created external circumstances, circumstances external to libraries, that produced the context which made biblio-graphic instruction possible. There was, first of all, the enormous expansion of education in the 1950's and, of course, the expansion of libraries during that time. There was the growth of collections and, at the same time the increasing complexity of libraries; and because of the growth, libraries became much more difficult, much more overwhelming.