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Broken Pieces: A Library Life, 1941-1978
Michael Gorman
Item Number: 978-0-8389-1104-4
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $36.00
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248 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1104-4
Year Published: 2011
AP Categories: A, B, C, D, I, J, Z

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From his earliest reading memories in wartime Britain through five decades of librarianship, eminent librarian and former ALA President Michael Gorman offers insights from his extraordinary career in this new memoir. Gorman relates his personal and professional journey in prose that is by turns charming, opinioned, and revealing. He made perhaps his most significant contribution to librarianship as editor of the 1978 Anglo- American Cataloguing Rules, a major development that receives detailed attention here. The debates and arguments that would shape professional practice for years to come are dramatically presented, with a vivid cast of characters including leading librarians from two continents. Broken Pieces, Gorman’s account of being on the front lines of many of the most important decisions made in librarianship during his career, is a timely and entertaining read.
Table of Contents


Chapter 1    Et in Arcadia ego, 1941–1945
Chapter 2    London, 1946–1947
Chapter 3    On the move, 1948–1952
Chapter 4    Finchley Catholic Grammar School, 1952–1957
Chapter 5    Hampstead Public Library, 1957–1960
Chapter 6    Paris and afterwards, 1960–1962
Chapter 7    Marriage, Ealing Public Library, and library school, 1962–1966
Chapter 8    BNB, children, cataloguing, and a crisis, 1966–1969
Chapter 9    BNB, the British Library, 1970–1974
Chapter 10    Illinois, 1974–1975
Chapter 11    Back to England, the University of Illinois Library, 1975–1978
Chapter 12    The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 1968–1978



About the Author

Michael Gorman was Dean of Library Services at the Henry Madden Library, California State University, Fresno from 1988-2007. From 1977 to 1988 he worked at the Library of the University of Illinois, Urbana as, successively, Director of Technical Services, Director of General Services, and Acting University Librarian. From 1966 to 1977 he was, successively, Head of Cataloging at the British National Bibliography, a member of the British Library Planning Secretariat, and Head of the Office of Bibliographic Standards in the British Library.

He is the first editor of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition (1978) and of the revision of that work (1988), and he is the author of The Concise AACR2. Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness, and Reality (co-written with Walt Crawford) was honored with the 1997 Blackwell’s Scholarship Award. Our Enduring Values, published by ALA in 2000, was the winner of ALA’s 2001 Highsmith Award for the best book on librarianship. He is also the author of Our Own Selves: More Meditations for Librarians (2005) as well as hundreds of articles in professional and scholarly journals.

He has given numerous presentations at international, national, and state conferences. Michael has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Margaret Mann Citation in 1979, the 1992 Melvil Dewey Medal, Blackwell’s Scholarship Award in 1997, the California Library Association/Access, Collections, and Technical Services Section Award of Achievement in 1999, and the Ken Haycock Award in 2010. He was a member of the American Library Association’s Council (1991-1995 and 2002-2006), the ALA Executive Board through 2007, and was president of ALA in 2005-2006. He was made a fellow of the [British] Library Association in 1979 and an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in 2005.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of the Thames Valley in 2007.
Praise for Broken Pieces

“With the meticulous mind of a cataloger, Michael Gorman provides us with a glimpse into a life well lived. Broken Pieces tracks Gorman’s roots from ‘a bohemian genius who worked at the Kilburn Branch Library’ to his leadership resulting in AACR2. Balancing the personal with the professional, the book helps us understand Michael Gorman as never before.”
—Leslie Burger,
Director, Princeton Public Library, and ALA Past-President

“I loved Michael’s commentary about the current library and cultural scene for both form and content. He pulls no punches and expresses his views with rapier wit, skill, and precision. Not just for catalogers—it is a must read for them—Broken Pieces is a book that can be shared and enjoyed by all librarians.”
—Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman,
an acolyte of the late and eternally great Seymour Lubetzky;
publisher of The U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D Librarian, the “how I run my library good” letter; and ALA Past-President

“This sensitive and engaging memoir takes us from Gorman’s British youth to his international role and his cautious Americanization. Broken Pieces is the personal story of how a young man with ‘no prospects’ became one of the most influential members of his profession.”
—Leonard Kniffel,
Publisher, @ your library

"A must read as the profession moves forward again, this honest clear account shows the humanity behind the intellectual heft of AACR2 ... unsentimental, yet touching in its honesty. His dedication to the basic values of librarianship shines through the book."
--Carla D. Hayden, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Maryland

"Michael Gorman is one of the many reasons why I am proud to be a librarian. He’s erudite, articulate, witty, and irreverent ... a keen observer and an impeccable literary stylist.  His prose has bounce, and his life has had many unexpected twists and turns.  This makes for an enjoyable reading experience."
--Will Manley

"The contradiction of Michael Gorman is that the man who devoted half of his professional life to cataloging rules and standards confesses (38) to 'my deep-seated resentment of authority' in his teenaged years ... Recommended for research libraries and students of librarianship."
--Catholic Library World

"Those who know Gorman solely as a scholar and respected educator will be surprised by the revelation that he left school at the age of 16 and applied for his first library job because a family friend told his mother, 'Mikey likes reading; why doesn’t he work in a library?'... Gorman’s memoir will appeal to any librarian or library school student who enjoys reading autobiographies and memoirs. It will especially appeal to catalogers and library educators interested in how cataloging and library education has changed. "
--The OLAC Newsletter

"Bibliothecal autobiography is always welcome because of its rarity--in this case especially so because of the eminence of its author and because he is almost the only person writing sensibly about cataloguing at present ... The story here ends in 1978, leaving us eager for more."
--CILIP Update

"These broken pieces add up to a compelling portrayal of what makes the author who he is. Laboriously indexed and with meaty citations, it is also the work of a scholar detailing pivotal developments in library history in the 20th century, with particular reference to cataloging. Throughout, the earnestness of Gorman’s passion for libraries is the central, unifying theme ... His book is an inspiring read for all librarians and anyone concerned with the preservation of the intellectual record."
--Against the Grain

"Librarians (and descriptive catalogers in particular) will come away with a deeper appreciation of the intellectual, literary, and service-oriented underpinnings of librarianship ... He identifies the library as an important social center and shines a keen eye on its capacity to empower the populace, and he reminds us of the highest ideals that can inform our own appreciation of and devotion to the profession."
--Colorado Libraries Journal

  Also of interest:  
Our Enduring Values Revisited: Librarianship in an Ever-Changing World
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1300-0
In this stirring manifesto, public intellectual, librarian, and philosopher Gorman addresses head on the “existential panic” among library professionals caused by the radical shift in how libraries are viewed.
Price: $45.00
Our Singular Strengths: Meditations for Librarians
Item Number:  978-0-8389-0724-5
Perfect graduation gift for the new MLS!
Price: $33.00
Our Own Selves: More Meditations for Librarians
Item Number:  978-0-8389-0896-9
In Our Own Selves, bestselling author, revered librarian, and ALA President Elect, Michael Gorman creates 100 new meditations specifically addressing the issues at the heart of the library profession.
Price: $41.00