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Digital reading groups: renewing the librarian image

Gitte Balling (The Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Lise Alsted Henrichsen (The Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Laura Skouvig (The Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 11 January 2008




The purpose of this article is to discuss the stereotype of the librarian and to point to the fact that changing the public view of the librarian requires more than just talking about it. Librarians themselves need to take action. A way to change the image of the librarian could be a new form for reading groups: digital reading groups initiated by libraries.


This article presents a Danish project concerning digital reading groups and the experiences made so far by the involved groups e.g. librarians and readers. The article introduces a historical view on the stereotyped librarian and uses a case study to illustrate the situation today.


The historical conditions that constitute the Danish librarian stereotype show a discrepancy between the role and function of the modern librarian and the way the librarian is seen in a wider public. The applied case study, concerning digital reading groups, shows that digital reading groups work both as a way for the librarian to communicate with the reader in a more dialogical fashion, as a way for the public library to test new promotion tools which point in direction of Web 2.0 and as a more flexible promotion offer to the busy reader. Consequently, the digital reading groups offer a model that can bridge the gap between the librarian stereotype, the librarian and the library user.


This article is based on experiences made in connection with a Danish literature promotion project where digital reading groups are launched for the first time. It shows how public libraries can use literature promotion on the internet, not only to reach new users, but also to change the librarian stereotype and upgrade the librarians in direction of Librarian 2.0.



Balling, G., Alsted Henrichsen, L. and Skouvig, L. (2008), "Digital reading groups: renewing the librarian image", New Library World, Vol. 109 No. 1/2, pp. 56-64.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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