|As a pioneer of Library Science education, Melvil Dewey's educational thoughts needs to be explored more deeply and systematically. The major objective of this study is to discuss the forming process and the evolving process of Dewey's thoughts on Library Science education from 1876 to 1889 especially before and after 1887 when Columbia College School of Library Economy was founded. The paper tries to answer the following questions: what the historical background was like when Dewey founded Library Science education and his ideological roots; how Dewey's educational thoughts evolved; whether Dewey's educational thoughts were purely pragmatic or not; what characteristics and influences of Dewey's educational thoughts had. The main research method of this study is the analysis of historical material, including the primary archives collected at Columbia University, School of Library Economy of Columbia College, 1887-1889: documents for a history, papers published in Library Journal and other materials.
Library Science education served Dewey's educational reform ideal. Dewey hoped to be able to provide professional librarians for new-style libraries in order to promote social education with the result that libraries truly became “people's university”. In the forming and evolving process of Dewey's thoughts on Library Science education, he inherited, developed and synthesized educational thoughts and methods from Germany,the United Kingdom and the United States of America. For example, there were both similarities and differences between Dewey's educational framework and Friedrich Rullman's plan for Library Science education. Another case is that Dewey used seminar, lecture and other modern university teaching methods introduced from Germany. The main body and mature form of Dewey's educational thoughts was pragmatic technical education, which was influenced by the urgent social demand for professional librarians, Dewey's characteristics and other factors. Also, Dewey tried to elevate the academic level of Library Science education, which means that he did not persist in a thorough technical pattern in education for librarianship all the time. For example, the 1883 system which centered on book and knowledge showed a pretty obvious academic characteristic. Another case is that discussing Library Science papers and theories in seminars or round table meetings was an important teaching method in Dewey's 1886 system. Moreover, Dewey tried to change the school name from library economy to Library Science. Dewey's thoughts changed along with the time and went through the following five stages: the stage of beginning, the stage of primary form, the stage of remodeling, the stage of maturity and the stage of amendment. In the forming and evolving process of Dewey's thoughts on Library Science education, Dewey transformed the knowledge system of classic Library Science, added modernity into it and established the knowledge system of modern Library Science centered on library economy and management through Library Science education. Dewey changed the way of education for librarianship from apprenticeship to formal professional education, which laid a foundation of the basic framework of subsequent American Library Science education and promoted the rise and development of Chinese Library Science education.
This study systematically discusses the forming and evolving process of Dewey's thoughts on Library Science education based on original material, which is conducive to the evaluation of Dewey's thoughts and contributions of Library Science education more comprehensively and objectively, and contributes to the research of history of western Library Science, comparative librarianship and related fields. 1 fig. 1 tab. 74 refs.