After earning my MLIS from FIMS in 2011, I worked as a public librarian in Alberta. I returned to FIMS in 2015 to begin my doctoral studies. In my dissertation, The Public Library as “Past Become Space”, I use Walter Benjamin’s (1892–1940) historical materialism in The Arcades Project to critique contemporary notions related to the understanding of the public library as a place. Like Benjamin with the arcade, I believe that the public library contains innovative potentiality, in its spaces, collections, and modes of circulation. I work within the Library and Information Science (LIS) research area of “library as place”. I hope to advance library as place research by considering how the public library, like the arcade, is “a past become space” (Benjamin 1999 ). The central questions of my dissertation are: What are the 19th-century dreams from which the public library collective must awaken? How do these collective dreams manifest in our library spaces, in the library as a place, and in library as place research? I use a critical theoretical approach, grounded in historical research and Benjamin’s theories of modernity, to highlight contemporary aspects of the public library and broaden and deepen our understanding of the library’s physical role, both within and outside its walls. Like Benjamin, I am concerned with structures—physical and intellectual—in the process of decay, on the brink of obsolescence, and what they reveal about the past, the present, and our potential futures.
public libraries; library as place; Walter Benjamin; critical theory; circulation policies and procedures; library display; community and libraries; critical librarianship
Nightingale, G. (2019). “The Exhibition of the Library”. Paper presented at Concordia University Library’s 17th Annual Research Forum, Montréal, QC, April 26. Slides: http://library.concordia.ca/about/staff/forum/files/2019/2019_Nightingale.pdf.
Nightingale, G. (2018). A Benjaminian Exploration of Library as Place. Paper presented at the 46th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Information Science, University of Regina, SK, June 1. Extended abstract published in Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS: https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/ojs.cais-acsi.ca/index.php/cais-asci/article/view/986/879.
Nightingale, G. (2017). Field Recordings, Sonic Information, and Sound Libraries: The Importance of Original Recordings, Context, and Repatriation. Paper presented at the Techniques of Listening Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, October 14. Abstract available at: https://musicandsoundstudies.org/2017/08/28/conference-program/.