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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Charlie Smith

– This paper aims to contribute to discussion about the changing role of libraries and their collections, through discussing projects designed by architecture students.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to discussion about the changing role of libraries and their collections, through discussing projects designed by architecture students.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reflects on design projects produced by final-year students studying for an undergraduate degree in architecture. A project was set for a group of students to design a “Book Repository”. Each researched their own interpretation of what this might be, given contemporary issues such as increasing digitisation, falling numbers of library visitors, changing users’ needs and what they interpret as a future for books. This paper reviews a selection of the projects in the context of contemporary research, and discusses the book as a physical object, contemporary library design and the role of libraries as civic buildings.

Findings

Despite being designed by digitally literate students, physical books are highly significant in every project; however, the cultural significance of the books is more important than the objects themselves. Also, the provision of spaces for the act of reading is notably absent. The relationship between the library and its context was a key theme for several projects, which explore innovative means through which to engage the public.

Originality/value

Collectively these projects contribute to debate over the role of books and libraries in contemporary culture through the eyes of young designers. The paper will be of interest to those involved in the procurement and design of libraries.

Details

New Library World, vol. 115 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Book part
Publication date: 29 December 2004

Diantha Schull

In recent years there has been growing discussion in the library community regarding the civic role of the public library. The discussion is rooted in a deep-seated…

Abstract

In recent years there has been growing discussion in the library community regarding the civic role of the public library. The discussion is rooted in a deep-seated professional commitment to the value of the public library as an institution of democratic society. As a recent president of the American Library Association, Nancy Kranich, wrote in 2001, “Libraries serve the most fundamental ideals of our society as uniquely democratic institutions. As far back as the nineteenth century, libraries were hailed as institutions that schooled citizens in the conduct of democratic life.” (p. vi).

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-005-0

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Book part
Publication date: 5 June 2011

Linda R. Most

Research into the library as place investigates the role of public library buildings as destinations, physical places where people go for various reasons ranging from…

Abstract

Research into the library as place investigates the role of public library buildings as destinations, physical places where people go for various reasons ranging from making use of the library's resources and services or seeking to fulfill an information or reading need to less easily identified reasons that may include using the library's building as a place to make social or business contacts, to build or reinforce community or political ties, or to create or reinforce a personal identity. This study asks: How are one rural US public library system's newly constructed buildings functioning as places? The answer is derived from answers to sub-questions about adult library users, user, and staff perceptions of library use, and observed use of library facilities. The findings are contextualized using a framework built of theories from human geography, sociology, and information studies.

This case study replicates a mixed-methods case study conducted at the main public libraries in Toronto and Vancouver in the late1990s and first reproduced in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2006. It tests methods used in large urban settings in a rural, small-town environment. This study also expands on its antecedents by using thematic analysis to determine which conceptualizations of the role of the public library as place are most relevant to the community under investigation.

The study relies on quantitative and qualitative data collected via surveys and interviews of adult library users, interviews of library public service staff members, structured observations of people using the libraries, and analysis of selected administrative documents. The five sets of data are triangulated to answer the research sub-questions.

Thematic analysis grounded in the conceptual framework finds that public realm theory best contextualizes the relationships that develop between library staff members and adult library users over time. The study finds that the libraries serve their communities as informational places and as familiarized locales rather than as third places, and that the libraries facilitate the generation of social capital for their users.

Details

Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-014-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2002

Elisabeth Martin

The preservation of historic library buildings can produce results that meet or surpass expectations. Discusses key features that greatly impact on the renovation of…

Abstract

The preservation of historic library buildings can produce results that meet or surpass expectations. Discusses key features that greatly impact on the renovation of libraries in general, and historic libraries in particular. Renovation with preservation sensitivity is not merely a re‐creation of the library building as it existed when it was built. Renovated historic libraries must provide for today’s collections and services, climatic controls, comfort levels, ergonomics, accessibility standards and desired amenities. The skillful integration of inviting new spaces and uses can actually enhance the existing historic building. The ease with which expanded services can be integrated is a testament to the innate flexibility of these profoundly civic structures. Historic library buildings afford infinite renovation possibilities. These inspirational buildings exude a civic presence and serve a vital purpose in connecting and enriching communities. Restorations of these grand and evocative civic buildings can preserve and transform their awe‐inspiring spaces to serve generations to come.

Details

New Library World, vol. 103 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Book part
Publication date: 4 November 2021

Rajesh Singh and Kyle N. Brinster

While LIS scholarship emphasizes the need to be multi-literate by equipping people with critical information literacy, digital literacy, and media literacy skills to…

Abstract

While LIS scholarship emphasizes the need to be multi-literate by equipping people with critical information literacy, digital literacy, and media literacy skills to combat the phenomenon of fake news in the contemporary information society, the concept of political information literacy is still in its infancy. This chapter addresses this gap by developing an understanding of political information literacy and challenges the premise that information professionals and information organizations should remain neutral in the face of phenomena like censorship through noise and disinformation. In this endeavor, it reviews contemporary information environments vis-à-vis the growth of fake news and misinformation, and current information literacy approaches utilized by information organizations. Thereafter, it explores several cognitive barriers, such as the role of confirmation bias, information avoidance, information groupishness, and information overload, which affects people’s ability to process information. Finally, it encourages information professionals to hold regular information sessions on politically charged topics, tackle the cognitive factors increasing misinformation, and cultivate multidisciplinary approaches to confront fake news.

Details

Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-597-2

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Book part
Publication date: 29 March 2014

Matthew R. Griffis

This exploratory study, a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the University of Western Ontario in 2013, examines the materially embedded relations of power between library

Abstract

This exploratory study, a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the University of Western Ontario in 2013, examines the materially embedded relations of power between library users and staff in public libraries and how building design regulates spatial behavior according to organizational objectives. It considers three public library buildings as organization spaces (Dale & Burrell, 2008) and determines the extent to which their spatial organizations reproduce the relations of power between the library and its public that originated with the modern public library building type ca. 1900. Adopting a multicase study design, I conducted site visits to three, purposefully selected public library buildings of similar size but various ages. Site visits included: blueprint analysis; organizational document analysis; in-depth, semi-structured interviews with library users and library staff; cognitive mapping exercises; observations; and photography.

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.

Details

Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-744-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1996

Chris Hart, Manmohan Bains and Kathryn Jones

At the centre of most cities and towns in the UK, public library buildings form a significant part of the civic landscape. No other country has such an extensive…

Abstract

At the centre of most cities and towns in the UK, public library buildings form a significant part of the civic landscape. No other country has such an extensive collection of buildings principally designed for the collection, categorization, storage and provision of knowledge, learning and information, dedicated for public use. Argues that the role and function of the library have never been actualized. That the concern of cultural studies with social constructionism has ignored the obvious ‐ that the socio‐historic construction of an image of knowledge is represented by the placing and design of library buildings; and pre‐library notions of a global knowledge have become a reality through the development of information technology (the information superhighway) and this is displacing and superseding the constructionist displays of knowledge embodied in the library building.

Details

New Library World, vol. 97 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Book part
Publication date: 4 November 2021

Daniela K. DiGiacomo, Shannon M. Oltmann and Colleen Hall

This chapter discusses the unique role that public libraries can play to (re)build our Republic by centering the lived experiences and voices of marginalized communities…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the unique role that public libraries can play to (re)build our Republic by centering the lived experiences and voices of marginalized communities. As robust sites for out-of-school time learning and community-based information spaces, public libraries have long played a key role in promoting the health and well-being of our nation’s democracy. Public libraries’ inclusivity efforts, though, have not always been evenly balanced, and these efforts have often been underdeveloped, poorly articulated, and undervalued by other key civic actors. Bringing together a Learning Sciences scholar of youth development and civic engagement, Library and Information Sciences scholar on free speech, and an Assistant Director of a public library in the Southeast, this chapter will offer interdisciplinary research-practice insights into both the challenges and opportunities that exist for public libraries as they grapple with the serious question of how to serve the public in the complex reality that is this third decade of the twenty-first century. In particular, this chapter explores questions like: how can public libraries balance the constraints of the status quo to hear, share, and amplify the voices of marginalized communities? And in what ways can library staff encourage opportunities that bridge librarians’ expertise and libraries’ resources with the lived realities and needs of marginalized communities? In this chapter, the authors expand upon these questions and collectively dream about the ways in which public libraries might be reimagined to more authentically and equitably serve the many faces of the contemporary American public.

Details

Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy: Confronting Polarization, Misinformation, and Suppression
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-597-2

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2006

Albert Arko‐cobbah

To demonstrate that “civil society” is an important aspect of the democratic process, providing a vital link between the citizens and the state. One of the principal…

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2212

Abstract

Purpose

To demonstrate that “civil society” is an important aspect of the democratic process, providing a vital link between the citizens and the state. One of the principal functions of civil society is to maintain a watchful eye on the activities of public officials. Public libraries play an essential role in fulfilling in this regard.

Design/methodology/approach

An examination of the philosophy of civil society and governance, with accompanying analyses for the potential social applications of a variety of civic principles.

Findings

The development of an informed citizenry is one of the essential functions of public libraries and this invariably affects the participation of civil society in the affairs of state. In South Africa, for civil society to ensure good governance, there are various challenges confronting public libraries that need to be addressed. This paper enumerates those challenges and points a way forwards.

Research limitations/implications

This paper gives a variety of interpretations of the relationship between social philosophy and information science that are capable of further sophisticated theoretical elaboration.

Practical implications

The broad thrust of this paper is to emphasise the potential social benefit and significant practical outcomes of promoting library and information services within the sphere of civil society.

Originality/value

This paper gives an original insight into the relevance of public library work to the furtherance of social betterment, with particular reference to the situation in South Africa in the post‐apartheid era.

Details

Library Review, vol. 55 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2021

Maja Dorota Wojciechowska

The purpose of the paper is to present the latest scholarly trends in the field of social capital in libraries, to review research concepts published by LIS professionals…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to present the latest scholarly trends in the field of social capital in libraries, to review research concepts published by LIS professionals and to suggest further research possibilities in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a review and critical analysis of literature associated with research on social capital in libraries to highlight its importance for the development of LIS and its impact on the functioning of environments linked with various types of libraries. The goal of literature analysis was to determine the current condition of research on social capital in libraries. The main trends were identified and the need for further qualitative analyses, which are missing at the moment, was confirmed.

Findings

It was determined that, so far, LIS professionals have focussed mainly on the role of municipal libraries in developing social capital, the problem of building trust, especially in immigrant circles and the impact of libraries on promoting a civil society. Academic libraries, rural libraries, organisational capital in libraries and individual social capital of librarians were a much less frequent subject of research. The role of libraries in developing social capital in educational (primary and secondary education) and professional (non-university professionals) circles is practically non-existent in research, and it will require in-depth studies and analyses in the coming years.

Originality/value

This paper constitutes a synthetic review of the latest research concepts concerning social capital in libraries. It identifies the most important research trends and areas that so far have not been explored and suggests research methods to help LIS professionals design future research in this area more effectively.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

Keywords

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