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Article

Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen

From collection to connection has been a buzzword in the library world for more than a decade. This catchy phrase indicates that users are seen not only as borrowers, but…

Abstract

Purpose

From collection to connection has been a buzzword in the library world for more than a decade. This catchy phrase indicates that users are seen not only as borrowers, but as active participants. The aim of this paper is to investigate and analyse three questions in relation to user participation in public libraries in a Nordic perspective. How can participation in public libraries be characterised? Why should libraries deal with user participation? What kinds of different user participation can be identified in public libraries?

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a selection of theoretical approaches and practical examples to obtain a varied understanding of user participation in public libraries. Research fields outside library and information science have developed a wide range of theoretical approaches on user participation. Examples from cultural policy, museum studies and participatory culture are selected to get a deeper understanding on participation in public libraries. The practical examples are chosen to illustrate the richness of different kinds of user participation in libraries.

Findings

There are six forms of active participation in libraries: volunteer programmes, interactive displays, workshops, co-creation, user-driven innovation and book clubs.

Originality/value

This paper is an overall synthesis of theoretical and practical aspects of user participation in public libraries. Furthermore, the paper challenges the deeply rooted assumption that participation in libraries takes place almost exclusively within digital contexts.

Details

New Library World, vol. 117 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

Keywords

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Article

Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen

The purpose of this paper is to theorize and discuss potential factors for convergence between libraries, archives and museums (LAMs).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to theorize and discuss potential factors for convergence between libraries, archives and museums (LAMs).

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper that criticizes existing research on the convergence between the LAMs for a lack of theoretical reflection and a sacralization of technology. Therefore, concepts such as convergent evolution, isomorphism, social fields and autonomy are used to analyze other potential factors for convergence.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that digitalization is not the only potential driver of convergence between the LAMs. Indeed, other changes in institutions’ environments, such as societal changes, shifts in cultural policy and increasingly common practices among cultural institutions can represent important drivers.

Research limitations/implications

Given that this paper is primarily based on theoretical reflections, future research should empirically investigate the non-digital factors suggested for convergence.

Originality/value

The paper represents an attempt to detect a “blind spot” in existing research on convergences between the LAM institutions and to identify some potential paths for future research to follow.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Ragnar Audunson, Svanhild Aabø, Roger Blomgren, Sunniva Evjen, Henrik Jochumsen, Håkon Larsen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen, Andreas Vårheim, Jamie Johnston and Masanori Koizumi

The purpose of this paper is to examine the shaping of public libraries as an infrastructure for a sustainable public sphere through a comprehensive literature review.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the shaping of public libraries as an infrastructure for a sustainable public sphere through a comprehensive literature review.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to capture the whole picture of this research field, we utilize comprehensive review methodology. The major research questions are: first, to what extent have research topics regarding libraries as public sphere institutions expanded and diversified? Which theoretical perspectives inform research? Second, which challenges and topics does the research focus upon, such as: social inclusion and equal access to information; digital inequalities; censorship and freedom of expression; and access to places and spaces with a democratic potential and the role of libraries in that respect? Third, what influence has social media exerted on libraries in the context of the expanding digital world?

Findings

The authors identified mainly four themes regarding the public library and public sphere, such as: the importance of public libraries by using Habermas’s theory; the function of meeting places within the public library and setting those places in the center of the library in order to enhance and encourage democracy; the relationship between social inclusion and public libraries and its functions in current society such as diminishing the digital divide; and the emerging electronic resources and arena of SNS in public libraries and utilizing them to reach citizens.

Originality/value

Capturing the recent history of this research field through comprehensive review is valuable.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Henrik Jochumsen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen and Dorte Skot‐Hansen

The aim of this paper is to present a model for the public library created by the authors.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to present a model for the public library created by the authors.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is divided into three parts. The first part emphasizes considerations regarding today's focus on both the virtual and the physical library. The second part describes the four‐space model, including examples of libraries as illustrations of the different spaces and examples of how the model is being used in the Nordic library‐world. The third part pinpoints some critical questions in relation to the model.

Findings

The paper shows how the four‐space model has been used in different ways in the Nordic countries since it was presented for the first time in a Danish report on public libraries in 2010.

Practical implications

The four‐space model can be a useful tool in relation to developing, building, designing, arranging and rearranging public libraries. Furthermore the model can be a tool for management and communication in connection with library plans and policy and not least a point of departure for the discussion of the public library's overall role in society.

Originality/value

This is the first time that the space model is presented to the library world outside the Nordic countries in a way where examples, usability and limitations are included.

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Abstract

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.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Dorte Skot‐Hansen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen and Henrik Jochumsen

The purpose of this article is to present a research project on public libraries in urban development focusing on how libraries contribute to culture‐led urban…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to present a research project on public libraries in urban development focusing on how libraries contribute to culture‐led urban regeneration as icons, placemakers and community vitalization.

Design/methodology/approach

The research project is based on case studies of new “cutting‐edge” public libraries in Europe and North America. These case studies have been conducted through analysis of documents, observation and qualitative interviews with key informants.

Findings

The article finds that new public libraries have re‐conceptualized their design, brand and functions as an answer to strategies of culture‐led urban regeneration, and at the same time they have actively contributed to urban development by changing the image and identity of urban places, contributing to urban diversity and addressing social and economic problems.

Practical implications

The article provides a framework for development of strategies and legitimization for public libraries and a point of departure for the discussion of the library's contribution to urban development.

Originality/value

This is the first public presentation of the findings of the results of the research project Public Libraries in Urban Development – Creativity, Innovation and Experience outside the Nordic countries.

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