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Bricks, mortar, and control: A multicase examination of the public library as organization space

Advances in Library Administration and Organization

ISBN: 978-1-78190-744-3

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 29 March 2014


Despite newer approaches to designing public library buildings, the use of newer information technologies, and the emergence of newer paradigms of library service delivery (e.g., the user-centered model), findings strongly suggest that the library as an organization still relies on many of the same socio-spatial models of control as it did one century ago when public library design first became standardized. The three public libraries examined show spatial organizations that were designed primarily with the librarian, library materials, and library operations in mind far more than the library user or the user’s many needs. This not only calls into question the public library’s progressiveness over the last century but also hints at its ability to survive in the new century.




This article was derived from a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. The author wishes to thank his supervisor, Dr. Gloria J. Leckie, his two readers Dr. Catherine Johnson and Dr. Lisa Given, and his four examiners, all of whom made invaluable suggestions. The author also wishes to thank the editors of this series, who made additional suggestions for changes and improvements, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for funding this research with three consecutive Ontario Graduate Scholarships and the University of Western Ontario with two Graduate Thesis Research Awards.


Griffis, M.R. (2014), "Bricks, mortar, and control: A multicase examination of the public library as organization space", Advances in Library Administration and Organization (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-106.



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