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This paper aims to analyze what public librarians handle authorship and authors in order to build their own professional identity. Indeed, the various kinds of relationships between librarians and authors can be connected to the various ways in which librarians think about their work: they have to introduce readers to famous authors, but they also mean to contribute to building reputations and to organizing cultural activities in the library as a space for discovery and discussion. The analysis is based on a survey conducted in the public libraries of Paris from 2005 to 2010. Firstly, librarians contribute to building the sacred position of authorship and to fostering trust in the value of names (I). Moreover, they mean to be recognized as gatekeepers and to control authorship through their critical work (II). Finally, they try to play a new role as arbiters of culture, organizing meetings and conferences with authors, but, in doing so, they maintain the traditional division between authors and readers (III).


  • author
  • authorship
  • public library
  • librarians
  • sociology of literature
  • professional identity
  • literary field
Cécile Rabot
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