Paint it Black

For my last post on Mr. Munn, I want to go into his life and legacy. He worked in several libraries before becoming director of the Carnegie library. He was also instrumental in forming the Australian and New Zealand library systems. He accomplished quite a lot. I wonder if he saw the irony in his decision not to recruit men considering how much he accomplished? I guess he “got his” as they say.

What else can be said about Munn  besides his dislike of men in libraries and his still timely issues with neutrality? I doubt many people care about whether or not men are librarians and the issue of neutrality in library collections is still important but I have addressed that. What else can be said about Mr. Munn that makes his worthy of being among the 100 greats?

Munn believed that the library had to reach out to people and provide them with information because people without access to information are woeful things indeed. He also bushed the bookmobile. Perhaps most importantly, he saw the library as a changing forum that had to incorporate information in different mediums and needed individuals with expertise in multiple areas to continue to provide. He wrote about that in 1954 and some have yet to grasp that the library does all this. Even in his day, Munn saw that tv and radio were quicker, easier sources of info and that the library needed to reach out in new ways. One wonders what he would have thought of the internet.

Munn’s devotion to libraries and peoples access to information is survived today by the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest; a testament to his belief in reaching out to the public, especially the young. He was a man ahead of his time.

Sadly, the clock is still 5 hours ahead and this post will be dated at after midnight on Feb 11th. It is actually just after 7pm on Feb 10th. No love from WordPress on how to change that clock. After this entry, I don’t think I will have any more updates on Ralph Munn. I may post something about some of my classmates blogs.


Carnovsky, Leon (1937). “Why Graduate Study in Librarianship?”. The Library Quarterly 7 (2): 246–261.

Munn, Ralph (1936). Conditions and Trends in Education for Librarianship.

Munn, Ralph (1954). The Librarian: 6–12.

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