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Public libraries as public sphere institutions: A comparative study of perceptions of the public library's role in six Europeas countries
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT. (BiKuSA/KPC)ORCID iD: 000-002-9327-2448
2019 (English)In: Journal of Documentation, ISSN 0022-0418, E-ISSN 1758-7379Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
According to the author(s), the content of this publication falls within the area of sustainable development.
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of public libraries as institutions underpinning a democratic public sphere as reasons legitimizing libraries compared to reasons that are more traditional and the actual use of libraries as public sphere arenas.

Design/methodology/approach – A survey of representative samples of the adult population in six countries – Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland – was undertaken.

Findings – Legitimations related to the libraries role as a meeting place and arena for public debate are ranked as the 3 least important out of 12 possible legitimations for upholding a public library service. Libraries are, however, used extensively by the users to access citizenship information and to participate in public sphere relevant meetings.

Originality/value – Few studies have empirically analyzed the role of libraries in upholding a democratic and sustainable public sphere. This study contributes in filling that gap.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Public libraries, Democracy, Public sphere, Citizenship information, Community meeting place, Social role of libraries
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-21817OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-21817DiVA, id: diva2:1359595
Available from: 2019-10-09 Created: 2019-10-09 Last updated: 2019-10-10

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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