The 2015 fall lecture of the Beta Phi Mu, Omicron Chapter was presented by Dr. Wayne A. Wiegand on Friday, September 18, 2015 from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Alexander Library Scholarly Communication Center.

Dr. Wiegand, noted author, librarian, historian, and scholar who is a Professor Emeritus from Florida State University. His engaging and well-attended talk centered on a discussion of his newest book Part of our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library (Oxford University Press, 2015) in which Dr. Weigand reports the results of his research on the history of public libraries. His talk highlighted the role that libraries have played in the lives of ordinary and extraordinary American citizens. Over many decades a multitude of people have found libraries to be refuges where they could freely access services and collections that had a huge impact on their education and livelihood. Libraries have also played a key role in democratic society and have been sites of activism, especially for the poor and oppressed. Dr. Wiegand said that other histories of libraries were from the institutional or professional point of view; this one is unique as it is from the people’s point of view. A lively question and answer period followed, moderated by Dr. Marie Radford, Professor and Beta Phi Mu Faculty Advisor.

The lecture was co-sponsored by the New Jersey Center for the book, Rutgers University Libraries, the SC&I Alumni Association, and the SC&I Library and Information Science Department and PhD Program.