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Digital first: challenges for public and regional libraries in Sweden
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.
2022 (English)In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Oslo Metropolitan University, May 29 - June 1, 2022: Information Research, 27 (Special issue), Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2022, Vol. 27Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction. Between 2018- 2020, Swedish public library staff were involved in the national project Digital First to strengthen their capability to support citizens in developing digital competencies. In this paper we focus on the challenges that staff and management in public and regional libraries experienced while striving to support people’s development of digital competencies.

Method. In 2019 we met with staff and managers of five public libraries in different parts of Sweden for interviews and focus groups. In 2020, 19 online interviews and 18 email questionnaires were carried out with 20 regional coordinators of the Digital First project. The two datasets were combined for a comprehensive analysis, supplemented with data from quarterly reports collected by the national coordinator of Digital First.

Analysis. We conducted a qualitative content analysis guided by the theoretical concepts of institutional logic and legitimacy.

Results. On the municipal and the regional level, library staff offered education and support to users in the development of digital skills. The respondents referred to the Swedish Library Act and to their experience of citizens’ information needs to justify the library’s involvement in these activities. However, prospective users seldom experienced a need for competency development, nor did they regard libraries as sources for help with digital skill-building. Other bodies within the municipal organization (e.g. IT departments) were also often ignorant of the library’s remit and area of expertise in digital skills.

Conclusion. Tensions were identified among the expectations laid out at a national level in policy documents, the needs that library professionals strived to meet in their local work environments, and the expectations of the public. These tensions have complicated the ongoing efforts to justify the relevance of public and regional library work in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2022. Vol. 27
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-29019DOI: 10.47989/colis2221ISI: 000890368900021Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85144846119OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-29019DiVA, id: diva2:1716717
Conference
11th International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Oslo, Norway, May 29 - June 1, 2022.
Available from: 2022-12-06 Created: 2022-12-06 Last updated: 2023-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Nowé Hedvall, KarenÖgland, MalinLindberg, Jenny

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • apa
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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