This work presents a thorough examination of librarianship and the social and economic contexts in which the profession and its institutions operate. As a basis of analysis, Buschman employs critical education scholarship and the research of German philosopher Jurgen Habermas, whose seminal work on the public spherethe arena in which the public organizes itself and formulates public opinionserves as a meta-framework for Buschmans study of librarianship. Buschman asserts that a significant shift has occurred from the library as a contributor to the public good to a model where economic rationality directs policy.
He challenges much of the current thinking and assumptions guiding libraries, exploring the circumstances in which librarians and libraries operate and linking the profession back to democratic and public purposes as the core essence of the field. Chapters include Crisis Culture and the Need for a Defense of Librarianship in the Public Sphere The New Public Philosophy and Critical Educational Analysis The Public Sphere Rounding Out the Context of Librarianship Studies in Librarianship and the Dismantling of the Public Sphere Follow the Money Library Funding and Information Capitalism Follow-the-Leader Library Management and the New Public Philosophy On Customer Driven Librarianship Drifting Toward the Corporate Model ALA Notes on Postmodern Technology, Technocracy, and Libraries The Public Sphere and Democratic Possibility Highly recommended for courses in policy and librarianship, as well as for academic and public library directors, this work will also be of interest to theorists in the social sciences.