Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Should the American Canon Be Discussed in a Public Library? The Selection of Classic American Authors in One Book Reading Projects
Date of this Version
This report considers four issues; the validity of an American canon; whether public libraries have a mandate to support it; whether the canon is supported in national One Book clubs; and the implications of support. A measurable appreciation of our literary heritage is found by comparing bestsellers with classics in One Book projects for adult discussion. In this program, supervised by the Library of Congress Center for the Book, libraries have selected venerated American authors three times as frequently as those with the greatest current sales. In the 21st century, patrons will continue to find a stimulating non-traditional study of the national canon through group reading.