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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

public sphere in a "real"place and in cyberspace

I found the two articles, the one about two major central libraries, and the other about major online projects, to be interesting illustrations of the notion of a public sphere, one in a large physical setting and the other in cyberspace. I noticed that the survey of the public libraries tended to show that the library's users came mainly from fairly nearby geographic locations, but the cyberspace project has the ability to bridge the geographic distance. But still there are barriers, as Jom observes.
I've used the Vancouver central public library and I really enjoyed its setting in a large shopping area in a donwtown area that used to be blighted but now is really vibrant and is anchored by the library. I think it is really successful in that respect. But I don't think it feels like a place where all people might want to come-- it is kind of a middle-class, educated people's place. The online project seems to really be reaching out to all people, but the gaps and barriers have to do with having access to technology and being able to use technology. Also with just knowing that the online project is there, since it isn't like a big building that you can see from the street. You have to know it is there, somehow.



Blogger Soojin Park said...

Here, I also want to mention about the effect of the notion of 'geography' on the online service specialzed in certain areas. Whenever, we talk about cyber space, we seem very free from the concept of geography. Here, the paper provides the way to keep connecting the geographical sense of communities. In terms of self-identity, the notion of geography is critical. Can we expect any possible virtual public sphere based on public sphere? I think yes, Pettigrew et al. offer evidence

3:50 PM  

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