Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



This paper analyzes the available evidence to develop a model of the archetypal academic librarian. It compares three periods to do so: (1) pre-Alexandrian Mesopotamian information institutions, focusing on the seventh century BCE Library of Assurbanipal (considered by many scholars to be the first universal or national library), (2) the Great Library of Alexandria (hereafter referred to as “the Library”), and (3) the twenty-first century American academic library. While the basic functions of the librarian have remained constant over thousands of years, one critical element, however, is missing as an integral element of modern academic librarianship, the creation of new theoretical knowledge through scholarship on the part of the librarians.