World Libraries

About World Libraries

A History of World Libraries

First published in 1990, World Libraries was conceived as Third World Libraries, a publication of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at Rosary College (now renamed "Dominican University") in River Forest, Illinois. Dr. Guy Marco, its first editor, stated that its purpose was "to offer a forum... dedicated to aspects of librarianship in the less favored regions." Its aim was "to illuminate the role of libraries and information in national development."

As the identities and issues of Third World countries shifted, so did that of World Libraries. The journal evolved in 1996, adopting its current title, World Libraries. Dr. Marco completed his career at the University, and Dr. Tze-chung (Richard) Li became his successor. The new title acknowledged the "need for a journal that reports and analyzes development in nations that may not have associations or agencies to support extensive publications." It recognized the School's commitments to international aspects of librarianship and information science.

In the Fall of 2004, World Libraries began evolving in yet another way: a
move from print publication to online publication. While the journal had
undergone subtle changes in its history, including the change of title and
changes in editorial leadership, this latest incarnation of World Libraries promises to be exciting and dynamic. Under the leadership of Edward Valauskas, known for his outstanding work on the award-winning online journal, First Monday (, students of the Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science began the work of transforming this print publication into an interactive, online journal. Student Christopher Day has acted as student editor-in-chief during this crucial development process, as student editors worked on every aspect of World Libraries, from mark-up to proofreading, graphic design to copyright, indexing, abstracting and archiving. The online World Libraries makes its debut in the summer of 2005, with a special issue on libraries in Cuba. Beyond the transformation in the appearance and format of the journal, it is hoped that making it freely available online, without subscription, will open up World Libraries to a much larger audience of readers and contributors. Online publication also opens up new opportunities for presenting information in visually-stimulating and interactive ways. So the new World Libraries will provide added value with features such as indexing and abstracting of issues, pathfinders to information on specific geographic regions, and archiving of past issues.

Graduate students at Dominican University will continue to act as the student editors of World Libraries, allowing them to gain valuable experience in the world of Internet publishing, while sharing their talents and skills with the Dominican community and the global library community. While the look and format of World Libraries continues to evolve, its purpose remains the same: to provide a voice for librarians and libraries around the world, to give them a forum for sharing their unique stories and perspectives.