Public Library 2.0

Gobinda Chowdhury (Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Alan Poulter (Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
David McMenemy (Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Publication date: 1 July 2006



This article seeks to propose a new vision for public libraries in the digital age.


This conceptual paper is based on an understanding of the recent developments in ICT, internet and digital libraries; and also on the authors' personal experience in research and development in library and information science – especially in relation to public libraries – and digital libraries.


The study argues that currently there are no proper mechanisms for capturing, preserving and disseminating community knowledge, and proposes that public libraries in the digital age should take a new role whereby they should act not only as a gateway to knowledge, but also as a platform facilitating the creation of, and access to, local community knowledge. Proposes a model for PL2.0 where public libraries can take on this new role to build a network of community knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

The paper proposes a conceptual model for the second generation of public libraries, and further studies are required to test and implement the model.

Practical implications

The paper proposes that the new role of public libraries will be to shift from solely providing access to knowledge to acting as a platform for the storage and dissemination of local community knowledge within the global context created by twenty‐first century digital technologies.


The proposed model will bring in a “cultural change” by giving a new role to public libraries in preserving and disseminating community knowledge.



Chowdhury, G., Poulter, A. and McMenemy, D. (2006), "Public Library 2.0", Online Information Review, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 454-460.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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