The purpose of this paper is to debate the evolving relationship between libraries and users, and to justify the idea of participatory library and the use of the “participatory library” term. The paper also discusses the development trend of the participatory library and calls for empirical research on this area.
Various sources of literature are collected and examined. Together with the inclusion of personal ideas and experience, a wide range of opinions on the contemporary library is compared and synthesised.
The paper presents changes in the relationship between libraries and users in various periods of library development. It indicates an excessive attention on Library 2.0 while neglecting the participatory nature of the contemporary library. It also suggests that the term “participatory library” should be used as this term reflects the true nature of the contemporary library, and calls for empirical work on participatory library.
This discussion is moving forward and challenging our thinking about the participatory library. It provides librarians, library managers, scholars, and the library community with a fresh perspective on the contemporary library.
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