Gathered by expert or novice, by individual or organization, a booklist brings together titles for either reader or librarian. Booklists may vary in intent, but all serve one ultimate purpose: to influence what is read. There are two main ideas behind encouraging an individual to read specific books: 1) to shape a better individual for society; and, 2) to encourage the individual to read for pleasure or to fulfill some immediate need. The second reason involves books that are of value at that moment, or what Ruskin refers to as "books of the hour." It is quite for one list to embody both intents; however, most lean noticeably one way or the other. This bifurcation of intent is reflected in Ruskin's description of "books of the hour" and "books of all time." The continued coexistence of both types of booklists may cause confusion among readers and librarians. Such confusion is not trivial, since both readers and librarians continue to rely on booklists to determine what should and will be read, but it is possible for all types of booklists - and the books they encompass - to coexist and help both librarian and reading populations to select the next book.
Library Philosophy and Practice
Booklists; Literary canon; Book selection; Minority viewpoints; Library
Place of Publication
Copyright is held by the author.
University of Idaho Library
Naper, Sarah and Wiegand, Stephanie, ""Books of the Hour" and "Books of All Time": Booklists in the Evolving Library" (2008). University Libraries Faculty Publications. 1.