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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS067001)

Heizo Ito and His Practical Thoughts about Libraries
No.67, p.1-38
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Purpose: Heizo Ito (1857‒1929) is known in the library community of Japan for his involvement in the establishment of several libraries in the late Meiji and early Showa period while serving as a professor at the Tokyo Foreign Language School. However, there have been very few previous studies on him. The present study examines his personality and also his thoughts about libraries that evolved through hands-on work.

Methods: Published documents and materials used in previous studies were carefully re-examined. In addition, the author surveyed Ito’ materials (copies of letters, personal diaries, etc.) held by Yokohama City Central Library and a variety of records stored in the Tokyo Metropolitan Archives. Ito’s thoughts about libraries were clarified by analyzing papers published by Ito and other documents.

Results: Ito’s life can be divided into seven periods. In the period of constructing a city library in Tokyo, he was associated with its establishment and the management of popular libraries for citizens. Ito made plans for constructing various types of libraries such as private libraries, municipal libraries, and prefectural libraries. While managing these libraries after their construction, he decided it was necessary to strengthen their foundation through systematic training of library staff. During such hands-on activities, his concern gradually changed from setting up many small libraries to building medium- or large-scale libraries according to the size of area served, while maintaining their popularity. He also realized the importance of clarifying the different roles between municipal libraries, prefectural libraries, and city libraries.

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