The meaning of the library as a social institution has changed over time. The library’s role in human progress and in the generation of knowledge is alluded to briefly by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and, more frequently, by Shoghi Effendi. These references have historical precedents but are an expression of unique ontological and epistemological commitments in Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of an emerging global civilization. This paper compares conceptions of libraries in the writings of Shoghi Effendi to different meanings assigned to libraries throughout history, comments on Bahá’í beliefs that could inform the practice of librarianship, and suggests a number of avenues for future research.
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Copyright © 2021 Lev Rickards