“An Alternative Vision of Librarianship: James Danky and the Socio-cultural Politics of Collection Development.” Library Trends – Volume 56, Number 3, Winter 2008, pp. 678-704.
The work of James P. Danky, longtime librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society, is situated within the intellectual context of collection-development practices. Danky’s belief in the value of alternative periodicals—and the lengths that he went to identify and acquire them—may be interpreted as a rejection of increasingly mechanical and generic ways to develop library collections. Reliance on centralized selection procedures, approval plans, and serials vendors was not only tantamount to the “disintegration of librarians as sources of expertise,” but also structurally privileged books and serials from mainstream publishers. The biennial Alternative Library Literature (1982–2001), which Danky coedited with Sanford Berman, is compared with the annual Library Lit.—The Best of (1970–1990) to illuminate the way in which contrasting philosophical approaches to the selection of anthology articles may be interpreted as a microcosm of larger issues in collection development.