Public Libraries as Impartial Spaces in the 21st Century - IFLA 2009
PUBLIC LIBRARIES AS IMPARTIAL SPACES IN THE 21 ST CENTURY: POSSIBLE, PLAUSIBLE, DESIRABLE? Christine Rooney-Browne, PhD Researcher David McMenemy, Course Director University of Strathclyde, Glasgow IFLA 2009 Satellite Meeting Torino, August 2009
To discuss... <ul><li>The public library as a public space </li></ul><ul><li>Adopting retail models </li></ul><ul><li>Exploiting revenue streams </li></ul><ul><li>Public libraries in virtual spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Impartiality: romance or reality? </li></ul>
The public sphere... Photographer: Wolfram Huke “ ... Access is guaranteed to all citizens ...They...behave neither like business or professional people transacting private affairs, nor like members of the constitutional order subject to the constraints of a state bureaucracy. Citizens behave as a public body when they confer in an unrestricted fashion – that is, with the guarantee of freedom of assembly and association and the freedom to express and publish their opinions - about matters of general interest “ * *(Habermas, 1964, p.49).
The public library as a public sphere... Real world: branch libraries Virtual world: online libraries * ** *(Photo courtesy of Edinburgh’s City Libraries); **(Darien Library)
‘ Back in the day...’ The Public Libraries Act 1850 *(Images courtesy of Cartoonstock.com) *
The Times They are a-Changin’*... *(Dylan, B, 1964).
A match made in Heaven...? “ In a true public library the user is a citizen rather than a customer . The commercial sector is not concerned with citizenship. Customers and consumers are viewed differently from citizens”** (*Image courtesy of iStockimages.com) ** (Usherwood, 2007, p.47). ?
Rise of the Citizen-consumer...? (Usherwood, 2007, p.120 - 121); **Clarke et al 2007. p. 9).
Sponsorship... * ** *(Aye Write Festival, Glasgow, 2009); **Library of Congress Book Festival, 2009)).
Affiliation schemes ...at the click of a button * *(Milton Keynes Library, England 2009)
A step too far...? “ civic society’s unique space for free communicatio n and critical reflection in contrast to the market’s commercialisation of experiences” ** *Staffordshire County Council, England; **(Skot-Hansen, 2002). *
A bleak future...? *(Getz, 1989, pp. 4-5). “ the strength, diversity and growth of our library community is a consequence of the affluence of our economy ... libraries – along with the rest of society – have to ride the waves of macroeconomic activity ” *