Vol. 2 No. 1 (2011)

Baricco, the barbarians and the public library

Alberto Salarelli
Università degli studi di Parma

Published 2011-05-18


  • Baricco

How to Cite

Salarelli, Alberto. 2011. “Baricco, the Barbarians and the Public Library”. JLIS.It 2 (1). https://doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-4600.


Inspired by Alessandro Baricco's essay I barbari, saggio sulla mutazione, on the analysis of the changes in society due to media hype richer and richer on the level of quantity and stimulations, the author highlights the risks of a simplified way of thinking that tends to conform all cultural institutions to one model of informative mediation. Public libraries, facing with these changes as well as other cultural institutions, are at a crossroads between a transformation in favour of the new trends of transmitting knowledge and culture, and their primeval functions. Ed D’Angelo's work Barbarians at the gates of the public library deals with the changes in libraries, fearing that this kind of transformation is going to drastically change libraries into bookshops.The awareness of this transformation does not mean an a priori refusal of innovation, a defence of the role of the traditional librarian and catalogue as the last barriers against barbarians. On the contrary, it is a conscious and critical evaluation of innovation aimed to understand how to apply this changing environment to the public library in a perspective of continuity with library's basic principles.


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