Open Conversations

Public Learning in Libraries and Museums
. 978-1-59158-771-2. Professional Media
This is Carr's (Sch. of Information & Library Science, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) third collection of essays, consisting of previously published materials and lectures. He challenges library and museum professionals to view their institutions in a different light. Rather than considering themselves simply as destinations, libraries and museums should view themselves as having the power to affect personal, social, and cultural change, as centers to promote learning through group activities, e.g., viewing/studying the past for better understanding of current lives and social conditions, while providing materials and experiences to help people grow independently. Carr discusses in detail reading groups and organized conversations, among other examples, and offers explanations of how to conduct these programs. He recommends books, periodicals, and websites to get things started.
VERDICT Carr's thoughts about libraries and museums in the cultural landscape will provide professionals a new way of viewing their institutions. This book will be useful in library school classroom discussions and by professionals who want to broaden the focus and direction of their institutions.

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