CHSTM seminar:  Tuesday, 19 June 2012, 2 pm – 3:30 pm in A.1018 Smith Bldg

Prof Rima Apple, University of Wisconsin – Madison

 From Science and health to Everything you always wanted to know about sex): Women, medicine, and libraries

 As sociologist John C. Anderson noted in the 1930s, libraries proved critical resources in child care for mothers in the U.S.  Yet, libraries remain an unstudied source for health information.  This paper begins an investigation of this important body of literature, using the rich data base of rural Midwestern public libraries developed by Wayne Weigand.  It analyzes holdings both quantitatively and qualitatively.  How extensive were the health-related materials?  Did libraries collect books and magazines representative of the medical consensus or more radical literature?  Were collections devoted to medical research or home health care?  How did this interest of librarians change over time?  How similar or dissimilar were the libraries?   Answers to questions such as these will enable us to better appreciate the role of public libraries in the health and welfare of the communities they served.