Bernadette A. Lear, M.L.S.

Bernadette A. Lear
Education, Behavioral Sciences, and Social Sciences Librarian, Library
Affiliate Faculty, Pennsylvania Center for the Book
Library, 301B
Madlyn L. Hanes Library
Penn State Harrisburg
351 Olmsted Dr.
Middletown, PA 17057

Ms. Lear is Education, Behavioral Sciences, and Social Sciences Librarian at Penn State University Park and Penn State Harrisburg. She is also Affiliate Faculty, Pennsylvania Center for the Book. She has three decades of experience working in libraries. Ms. Lear has wide-ranging intellectual interests. One area of her research, service, and leadership is the history of libraries, which she studies as an intersection of U.S. cultural, labor, social, and women's history. Her book, Made Free and Thrown Open to the Public: Community Libraries in Pennsylvania from the Colonial Era through World War II, was published in 2021 by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and she has published various scholarly articles relating to nineteenth and early twentieth century librarianship. In 2009-2010, 2013-2014, and 2020-2021, Ms. Lear was Chair of the American Library Association's Library History Round Table. From 2008 to 2017, she also served as Chair of the Archives and History Committee of the Pennsylvania Library Association. A second area of Ms. Lear's research, service, and leadership is Children's and Young Adult Librarianship and Literature. Her publications focus on holdings of children's and young adult titles by various types of libraries, past and present. In 2022/2023, she served on the Editorial Advisory Committee of Children and Libraries, the peer-reviewed journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. She was also Chair of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (2015-2016). Ms. Lear cites library interactions with children, formerly incarcerated persons, international students, LGBTQ+ students, military veterans, students with disabilities, and other diverse clientele as enriching her understanding of what college librarianship can be (and should be).

Areas of Responsibility

  • History of Libraries/Librarianship
  • Children's and Young Adult Librarianship
  • Children's and Young Adult Literature

Lear, B. (2021). Made Free and Thrown Open to the Public: Community Libraries in Pennsylvania from the Colonial Era through World War II. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Lear, B. (co-author, 80%) & Pritt, A. (2021). ‘We Need Diverse E-Books:’ Availability of Award-Winning Children’s and Young Adult Titles in Today’s E-Book Platforms. Collection Management 46(3/4), 223-247.

Pritt, A. & Lear, B. (co-author, 40%) (2021). Are Ada, Katherine, Sally, and Sophie on-Shelf?: Holdings of Award-Winning Juvenile STEM Works in ARL Libraries with a Special Focus on Female-Themed Titles. Collection Management 46(3/4), 302-322.

Schmit, K. M., & Lear, B. (co-author, 50%) (2018). Frog and Toad's Ongoing Journey: Cooperative Acquisition of Award-Winning Children's and Young Adult Titles at a Multicampus University. College & Research Libraries News, 79(2), 89-92.

Lear, B. (2016). Nineteenth Century Middle Class Women as Economic Beings: The Early Life and Career of Hannah Packard James, Newton Librarian. Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 44(2), 88-111.

Lear, B. (50%), & Schmit, K. M. (2015). Frog and Toad Make Friends: Cooperative Development of PreK-12 Collections at a Multicampus University. College & Research Libraries News, 76(10), 534-543.

Lear, B. (2015). Libraries and Reading Culture at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918. Book History, 18, 166-196.

Lear, B. (2014). Pennsylvania Public Libraries and the Great Flood of 1936: Dark Clouds and Silver Linings. Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice, 2(2).

Lear, B. (Secondary Author, 50%), & Mulliken, A. J. (2013). Students with Disabilities in Library Instruction In Patrick Ragains (Ed.), Information Literacy Instruction That Works: A Guide to Teaching by Discipline and Student Population. (2nd ed.), (pp. 65-86). Chicago, IL: American Library Association. Invited.

Lear, B. (2013). A State Library Transformed: Pennsylvania, 1878-1921. Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 48(1), 26-49.

Martin, R., & Lear, B. (Co-Author, 50%) (2013). Introduction. Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 48(1), 1-7. Invited. Introduction to journal special issue on the history of state libraries.

Lear, B. (2012). New Journals in Education and Psychology: General Trends, Discoverability, and Ubiquitous Journals of the Decade, 2000-2009. College & Research Libraries, 73(3), 233-262.

Lear, B. (2011). Yankee Librarian in the Diamond City: Hannah Packard James, the Osterhout Free Library of Wilkes-Barre, and the Public Library Movement in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 78(2), 123-62.

Lear, B. (2009). Were Tom and Huck On-Shelf?: Public Libraries, Mark Twain, and the Formation of Accessible Canons, 1869-1910. Nineteenth-Century Literature, 64(2), 189-224.

Lear, B. (Primary Author, 60%), Strnad, B., Fabbi, J., Hodges, A. R., Flint, W., & Smith, J. (2009). Directory of Curriculum Materials Centers (6th, 144 pp). Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Lear, B. (2009). Recent Approaches in Contemporary Amish Youth Studies: A Book Review Essay. Der Reggeboge (The Rainbow): The Journal of the Pennsylvania German Society, 43(2), 49-53.

Lear, B. (2009). We Are The Difference: Libraries, History, and Helping Customers. Public Libraries, 48(6), 9-11.

Lear, B. (2008). Wishing They Were There: Old Postcards and Library History. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43(1), 77-101.

Lear, B. (2006). ’Tis Better to be Brief than Tedious’?: The Evolution of the American Public Library Annual Report, 1876–2004. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 41(4), 462-486.

Lear, B. (2007). The Zen of Serving on Thesis Committees: Being a Midwife for New Scholarship. College & Research Libraries News, 68(10), 632-635.

Lear, B. (2006). Book History in Scarlet Letters: The Beginning and Growth of a College Yearbook during the Gilded Age. Book History(9), 179-212.

Lear, B. (2005). The Hippest History. Library Journal, 130(9), 52-53. Discusses the importance of researching, using, and promoting library history.

MA, American Studies, Penn State Harrisburg 

MLS, Library Service, Rutgers University 

BA, History, The George Washington University