Dissertation Information for Cindy C. Welch
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Broadcasting the Profession: The American Library Association and the National Children's Radio Hour
Abstract: This dissertation is an historical study of an attempt, from 1930 to 1936, by the American Library Association to harness the latest technology of the time (radio) in the service of public library outreach, literacy and information dissemination. While public librarians had varying degrees of success broadcasting from local stations across the country, the American Library Association unsuccessfully attempted to create and broadcast a national children's radio program. The bulk of the dissertation maps the trajectory of the project, from its association with the National Advisory Council on Radio in Education (NACRE) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), to the offer of a script created by Newbery Award winner Hendrik Van Loon, and the program's eventual demise due to political and economic pressures. It reveals parallels between librarians of the 1930s and librarians of the early 1990s, who wrestled with radio and the Internet respectively, suggesting a series of overlapping phases of library technology adoption. The phases are (1) discussion, where librarians debate the opportunities and limitations of using the technology in a library setting and for the library mission; (2) exploration, during which librarians make tentative use of the technology and provide directory-type information using it; (3) mediation, wherein librarians bring to bear their profession-specific skills of selection and evaluation; and (4) access, during which librarians acknowledge the economic and social implications of technology, and provide access to it for those who are unable to obtain it for themselves.
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