Libraries and Society

Libraries and Society

Role, Responsibility and Future in an Age of Change

1st Edition - April 30, 2011

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  • Editors: Wendy Evans, David Baker
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781843341314
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780632636

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This book reviews both the historical and future roles that public, private, academic and special libraries have in supporting and shaping society at local, regional, national and international levels. Globalisation, economic turmoil, political and ethnic tensions, rapid technology development, global warming and other key environmental factors are all combining in myriad and complex ways to affect everyone, both individually and collectively. Fundamental questions are being asked about the future of society and the bedrock organisations that underpin it. Libraries and Society considers the key aspects of library provision and the major challenges that libraries – however defined, managed, developed and provided – now face, and will continue to face in the future. It also focuses on the emerging chapter in cultural, economic and social history and the library’s role in serving diverse communities within this new era.

Key Features

  • Looks at all types of library in a period of major and discontinuous change, tackling the fundamental questions of the future of libraries in the context of major societal, political and environmental issues
  • Poses important questions for the profession and policy development
  • Fills a major gap in literature (recent discourse and debate on the future of democracy, for example, the library is rarely included)


Practitioners and students of Library and Information Science

Table of Contents

  • Foreword



    List of abbreviations

    List of figures, tables and case studies

    About the authors

    Chapter 1: Libraries, society and social responsibility


    Future environment

    Technology push

    Equity and equality of access

    Education and digital literacy

    Library as physical space

    Value and impact

    Re-thinking the library

    Re-thinking librarianship


    Chapter 2: I wouldn’t start from here … provision and use of UK libraries


    Library provision

    Library use

    Trends over time

    The wider world

    The wider context


    Chapter 3: From people flows to knowledge flows

    Introduction: a brief review of People Flows

    The People Flows conclusions

    Today’s learning context

    Working out alternatives

    Collaboration for access

    Knowledge flows – the lifelong library

    Library evolution in uncertain times

    Conclusion: how might this happen?

    Chapter 4: Scholarly communication and access to research outputs


    Journal prices

    Academic library journal provision

    Electronic information

    Issues of access

    Library access for external users

    Open access

    Open access journals


    Mandated deposit

    Impact on libraries


    Chapter 5: Free and equal access: a conundrum for the information society


    Free libraries – for those who can afford them

    The price of free goods

    Freedom of access: rights and limits

    Access: equity and equality


    Chapter 6: The more they change, the more they stay the same: public libraries and social inclusion


    What problem?

    What has changed?

    What has influenced libraries?

    An international perspective

    A strategy of urgent relevance

    Systemic and cultural change

    Political change

    Conclusion: or is it all a conspiracy …?

    Chapter 7: Widening access to information: the haves and the have-nots?


    The digital divide

    Digital divide initiatives

    Technological infrastructure

    Uptake and use of ICT

    E-accessibility and design for all

    Education and training


    Chapter 8: Tackling inequalities around the globe: the challenge for libraries


    The inequalities of information

    Overlooking libraries

    Bridging the divide: why information matters

    New opportunities – but also new challenges

    The technology gap

    Managing, maintaining and keeping up

    Access and use

    Skilling users and skilling staff


    Chapter 9: Islands in the cloud: libraries and the social life of information


    A world of experience

    Taking apart architecture

    Making Creative Cities flow

    The social life of information

    100-mile information diets

    Islands in the cloud


    Chapter 10: From the passive library to the learning library – it’s an emotional journey


    Change is needed

    A new focus integrated with current facilities

    It’s subtle and it’s emotional

    It’s not optional: whatever space we create has emotional effects

    Conclusion: some useful types and metaphors


    Chapter 11: The modern academic library


    The new agenda: a focus on learning

    The exploitation of technology

    A new model for service delivery


    Chapter 12: Libraries and distance education


    Distance learning: an African context

    Providing library services for distance education

    Developments in telecommunications

    Libraries and information literacy

    What is ‘information literacy’?

    The implications of information literacy


    Chapter 13: Syllabus independence and the library


    The United Kingdom Open University

    Syllabus independence

    Course design – why academics need libraries


    Chapter 14: Libraries in the information society: cooperation and identity


    The Dutch library system

    The need for cooperation

    Towards a digital library of the Netherlands

    Conclusion: changing roles in a network of organisations

    Chapter 15: Children’s reading habits and attitudes


    Children’s reading habits and attitudes

    The involvement of parents in children’s reading

    Preferences for reading materials

    Effect of new technologies

    Role of children’s librarians


    Chapter 16: The user of tomorrow: young people and the future of library provision


    Reading and literacy

    Children’s reading and early literacy

    Libraries for children and young people

    Professional children’s and schools librarians

    New libraries for children


    Chapter 17: Redefining the librarian


    The library profession: a historical perspective

    Promoting the profession

    Redefining the librarian

    Looking forward


    Chapter 18: Redefining librarianship



    The present day

    Professional status and membership

    Reviewing the profession

    Four dimensions of future professional practice

    Advocacy, leadership and representation

    Social analysis and the evidence base

    Context and environment


    Chapter 19: The future of librarians in the workforce: a US perspective


    Projections of supply and demand for librarians

    IMLS-sponsored study on the future of librarians in the workforce

    Demand for librarians

    Reasons for librarians leaving the library workforce

    Supply of librarians

    Age of graduating librarians

    Increased competition for librarians

    US librarians and libraries during recessions

    Attitudes towards library and information science (LIS) education

    Attitudes towards work-related issues

    Attitudes toward librarianship

    Trends in librarian competencies


    Chapter 20: The value of libraries: the relationship between change, evaluation and role


    What is evaluation and why is it important?

    Recent key trends and frameworks

    Value as a key measure

    Values and value: a possible resolution

    Conclusion: value, values and transcendence

    Chapter 21: The future of and for library and information services: a public library view


    Future roles and challenges



    Digital library, digital exclusion, and Digital Britain

    Supporting democratic living

    Lifelong learning

    Twenty-first-century space

    Twenty-first-century customers

    The death of the public library?



    Chapter 22: The future of public libraries and their services: a Danish perspective


    The death and rebirth of libraries

    Re-inventing the public library

    The Danish situation

    Policies for the new library

    Library space

    Developments and examples

    Why invest in libraries now?

    Local self-service libraries

    New partnerships and reaching out

    Conclusion: marketing a must

    Chapter 23: Library landscapes: digital developments


    Societal change

    Different communities, different responses

    Digital content

    Matching user support to user needs

    Student use of libraries

    Libraries and an online presence

    Aggregation of content

    Libraries as place

    Virtual libraries


    Chapter 24: Towards Library 2.0: building the library of the future


    The context for change

    A changing education and research landscape

    Changes in university libraries

    Current technical and social trends

    Planning for Library 2.0

    Working across university services and functions

    An institution-wide approach to planning systems

    Other trends: new models for delivery of services

    What does this mean for libraries?

    The changing role of the librarian


    End-note: engagement with national and international debate

    Chapter 25: Library 2050


    If libraries did not exist, would someone invent them?

    Turbulent times

    Playing consequences: all for one or free for all?

    This is your future: towards Library 2050



Product details

  • No. of pages: 472
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2011
  • Published: April 30, 2011
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781843341314
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780632636

About the Editors

Wendy Evans

Wendy Evans is the Head of Library at the University of St. Mark and St John, UK. She has published and lectured in the field of electronic journal and database usage, access versus ownership of journals, and has already co-edited and co-authored four books with David Baker.

Affiliations and Expertise

Head of Library, University of St Mark & St John, UK

David Baker

David Baker has published widely in the field of Library and Information Studies, with 19 monographs and over 100 articles to his credit. He has spoken worldwide at numerous conferences and led workshops and seminars. His other key professional interest and expertise has been in the field of human resources, where he has also been active in major national projects. He has held senior positions at several institutions, including as Principal and Chief Executive of Plymouth Marjon University, and Emeritus Professor of Strategic Information Management. He has also been Deputy Chair of the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc). Until recently he was a member of the Board of Governors of the Universities of Northampton and South Wales. He is Chair of the Board of the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. He is a leader in the field of library and information science.

Affiliations and Expertise

Independent Consultant, Mytholmroyd, UK

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