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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Thursday, November 03, 2005

For Leckie's and Hopkins’

  1. How and how much do you think users’ participation in library design and intent should be accounted? For example, at Toronto Ref. Library, “Openness” is the fundamental. The library is viewed as a cup with emptiness inside, and the emptiness enhances creativity, freedom of thought, and spiritual enlightenment (p.337).
  2. What is your concerns on “from followed function” and “less was more”? (p.337)
  3. In what ways does this kind of study illuminate and represent the underlying concepts and inter-relationship of libraries, users, public space, public good, public culture, civic society, public library as a principle institution of the public sphere, and public communication?
  4. At both libraries, does the fact that male respondents are higher in proportion than female respondents represent something about the libraries, the communities they serve, the populations, or the culture?
  5. According to Table 6, p.351, as reference and information is rated the most important service at both libraries and the provision of information resources is the top primary purpose of central library, what does this finding tell us about the role of library in a community and what are users’ perceptions of library’s identity and symbol. How does this identity of library reflect and impact users as a part of their lives? In what ways does the dynamic and changing environment and technology impact library’s identity? How do pressures from factors such as budget, technology, diversity of users, and other changes maximize or minimize the symbolic, cultural, and socioeconomic roles of libraries?

3 Comments:

Blogger Jacob said...

The large number of male respondents in this study also surprised me. Leckie and Hopkins do not suggest what this might imply. It could be something special about he libraries, the communities they serve, the populations, or something unique to Canadian culture. A study that examined the characteristics of the users of the branch libraries in Toronto and Vancouver might help to sort out the importance of large number of male respondents. In the absence of other scholarship a possible explanation for Toronto might be there are more men involved in business in the city center that utilize the Library collection. I wonder if difference between the US and Canada might play into the higher response of males than females.

Leckie and Hopkins provide some evidence of difference between the US and Canada when they note, “The Canadian legal definition of public space is ‘where the public goes, a place to which the public has or is permitted to have access and any place of public resort” (328). A definition for the US is not provided and I wonder if such a definition readily exists in the US. Does anyone know of a legal definition of public space?

Although it is clear that the reference and information, and the provision of information resources are a primary purpose of the central library, this does not tell us much about the general role of the library in the community. For information about the central library to reveal much about the general role of the library we also need to know about the role of the branch libraries from a similar study in the same community, or we should select a community that only has a central library—without any branches. In the absence of either of these condition we only know about the role of the central library in the community, instead of knowing about the role of the library in the community.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Soojin Park said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Soojin Park said...

One mention! I was in Toronto three years ago and used the public library. They provide fee-based reference services. The public institution offere differenciated service to the public. The public need to pay. It works! What is the meaning? How to interprete this?

3:29 PM  

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