The Library and the Modern Mind: How Library Spaces Affect the Modern Mind
'The Library and the Modern Mind' represents a component of my research into the history and nature of libraries and book collections for my PhD thesis (through the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University). In 'The Library and the Modern Mind' I will discuss the nature of libraries and consider how they operate within society and how they affect society. When one enters the liminal space of a library what cultural baggage is involved? What expectations do we have? What restraints are there? Who chooses what material is acquired and what is discarded? Who is it that presides over the accumulated knowledge? Can intellectual freedom be achieved? In answering these questions I will consider the history of libraries and the changes they face. I will compare how libraries perceive themselves with how their users see them. I will consider the ways in which libraries both agitate and restrain the social organism. And I will view the form and function of libraries through various philosophical lenses. Is a library a machine for the retrieval of information? Is it a structure of power? Is it a sign that points to a signified? Is it structured like Lacan's unconscious (which is structured like a language), or can it be compared to a rhizomatic structure (a structure without hierarchy). In what ways does it mirror society, and how does the library space compare with cyberspace? Finally, I will consider where libraries position themselves in the information age and what their role is within an always uncertain consumer culture.
Keywords: Library, Libraries, Knowledge, Information Age, Consumer Culture, Rhizomatic Structure
Mr Ewen David Jarvis
PhD Student and sessional staff member, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University