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Public libraries as promoters of social sustainability?

Engström, Lisa LU and Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna LU (2019) In Information Research 24(4).
Abstract
Introduction. The aim of this paper is to critically examine how public libraries are portrayed as contributing to social sustainability. Meanings ascribed to the concept are investigated and if, and then how, the public library is shaped in relation to it.
Method. Library plans from five municipalities in Sweden are analysed and discussed in the light of previous research.
Analysis. Bacchi’s method ‘what’s the problem represented to be’ is used to scrutinize what problem the public library is supposed to be part of the solution of.
Results. Three policies represent the ‘problem’ as a current threat to democratic values, safety and stability. By favouring social sustainability, the library contributes to robust communities... (More)
Introduction. The aim of this paper is to critically examine how public libraries are portrayed as contributing to social sustainability. Meanings ascribed to the concept are investigated and if, and then how, the public library is shaped in relation to it.
Method. Library plans from five municipalities in Sweden are analysed and discussed in the light of previous research.
Analysis. Bacchi’s method ‘what’s the problem represented to be’ is used to scrutinize what problem the public library is supposed to be part of the solution of.
Results. Three policies represent the ‘problem’ as a current threat to democratic values, safety and stability. By favouring social sustainability, the library contributes to robust communities and to enable trust. In two policies sustainability is related to development and change.
Conclusions: When libraries are put forth as places fostering users to take responsibility for social sustainability a tremendous responsibility is placed on individuals. Our suggestion for disrupting this argument is to recognise social unrest as a consequence of inequalities and unequal distribution of resources and to acknowledge pluralism and difference. Thereby, libraries may contribute to social sustainability and democracy by being places where social antagonism can be transformed to agonism. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Information Research
volume
24
issue
4
publisher
Professor Tom Wilson
ISSN
1368-1613
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7f928b79-6c17-4f7f-ae72-8bcace667ee3
alternative location
http://InformationR.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1914.html
date added to LUP
2019-08-21 15:06:15
date last changed
2020-01-10 15:21:57
@article{7f928b79-6c17-4f7f-ae72-8bcace667ee3,
  abstract     = {Introduction. The aim of this paper is to critically examine how public libraries are portrayed as contributing to social sustainability. Meanings ascribed to the concept are investigated and if, and then how, the public library is shaped in relation to it.<br/>Method. Library plans from five municipalities in Sweden are analysed and discussed in the light of previous research. <br/>Analysis. Bacchi’s method ‘what’s the problem represented to be’ is used to scrutinize what problem the public library is supposed to be part of the solution of. <br/>Results. Three policies represent the ‘problem’ as a current threat to democratic values, safety and stability. By favouring social sustainability, the library contributes to robust communities and to enable trust. In two policies sustainability is related to development and change.<br/>Conclusions: When libraries are put forth as places fostering users to take responsibility for social sustainability a tremendous responsibility is placed on individuals. Our suggestion for disrupting this argument is to recognise social unrest as a consequence of inequalities and unequal distribution of resources and to acknowledge pluralism and difference. Thereby, libraries may contribute to social sustainability and democracy by being places where social antagonism can be transformed to agonism.},
  author       = {Engström, Lisa and Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna},
  issn         = {1368-1613},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  publisher    = {Professor Tom Wilson},
  series       = {Information Research},
  title        = {Public libraries as promoters of social sustainability?},
  url          = {http://InformationR.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1914.html},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2019},
}