The release of the muses: an inaugural lecture given in the University of Rhodesia
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In a study of the function of the academic library, specifically, the university library, the historical method is particularly suitable. For, according to the renowned English historian, Stephen Potter: History is a gambit. More precisely the writing of history is a double or treble gambit. It is a way of saying ‘I think’ and ‘what about this’ in a tone which is supposed, simply by adding the word ‘History’ to silence argument. It lis also a way of saying ‘Nothing surprises me because it’s all happened before, if not more so.’ It is a method therefore of making recent events seem a good deal less remarkable than people who have the temerity to write about recent events would lead us to suppose. The development of the modern concept of librarian- ship in universities exemplifies this, and a review of the history of certain features of academic libraries will, I hope, show how it does so, and why the modern concept has arisen.