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Inom ramen för det legitima : en intervjustudie om hur folkbibliotekarier verkar för en demokratisk utveckling

Harrison, Sebastian LU (2017) ABMM54 20171
Division of ALM and Digital Cultures
Abstract
The new Swedish Library Act, which took effect in 2014, states in paragraph 2 that libraries in the public library system shall promote the development of a democratic society by contributing to the transfer of knowledge and the free formation of opinions. In recent years several debates have surfaced in the media concerning the democratic mission by public librarians and public libraries, in regard to the exclusion or inclusion of content that is critical of immigration. Furthermore the debates take into account whether libraries should take a political stance against xenophobia, with the purpose of promoting a diverse society. This master’s thesis can be described as an attempt to broaden the understanding of how public librarians... (More)
The new Swedish Library Act, which took effect in 2014, states in paragraph 2 that libraries in the public library system shall promote the development of a democratic society by contributing to the transfer of knowledge and the free formation of opinions. In recent years several debates have surfaced in the media concerning the democratic mission by public librarians and public libraries, in regard to the exclusion or inclusion of content that is critical of immigration. Furthermore the debates take into account whether libraries should take a political stance against xenophobia, with the purpose of promoting a diverse society. This master’s thesis can be described as an attempt to broaden the understanding of how public librarians perceive the democratic purpose of public libraries in relation to the selection of materials and activities, especially concerning titles which are critical of immigration. In order to answer these questions I have conducted semi-structured interviews with six public librarians who are employed within six different municipalities in Skåne, Sweden. In this thesis I have applied the theory of new institutionalism, with the concepts of institutional logics and legitimacy as the central tools in my analysis. The results show that the participating librarians consider activities which are meant to support immigrants and refugees to be essential in regard to the libraries democratic mission, which is due to the increased immigration in recent years. The librarians perceive that the libraries thus can function as a gateway into the community. In addition there is the subject concerning suggestions regarding purchases by library users, specifically self-published literature that is perceived to be critical of immigration, but also of immigrants in general, which brings the question of professional ethics into action. In general the librarians express reluctance towards acquiring materials that are discriminatory against certain minorities, in which a specific dilemma arises due to the great demand for self-published literature that promotes harsher immigration policies. The democratic ideal which entails that the library is for everyone, but also the professional ethic of being neutral in relation to political and/or ideological issues, puts a greater pressure to not exclude materials that there is a great demand for because it could be perceived as a violation against the principle of providing the necessary means for the free formation of opinions, which in turn is conceived as a prerequisite for freedom of expression. Arguably in the end, this constitutes that the librarians have a harder time motivating exclusion, and therefore they are in a sense prohibited from applying their own professional standards in relation to the acquisition of materials. (Less)
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author
Harrison, Sebastian LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Within the Framework of the Legitimate : an Interview Study of How Public Librarians Contribute to a Democratic Society
course
ABMM54 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Folkbibliotek, folkbibliotekarier, bibliotekslag, demokrati, nyinstitutionell teori, legitimitet, institutionella logiker, neutralitet, new public management, ABM, biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap Public libraries, public librarians, library act, democracy, new institutionalism, legitimacy, institutional logics, neutrality, ALM, library and information studies
language
Swedish
id
8910575
date added to LUP
2017-06-16 13:06:20
date last changed
2017-06-16 13:06:20
@misc{8910575,
  abstract     = {The new Swedish Library Act, which took effect in 2014, states in paragraph 2 that libraries in the public library system shall promote the development of a democratic society by contributing to the transfer of knowledge and the free formation of opinions. In recent years several debates have surfaced in the media concerning the democratic mission by public librarians and public libraries, in regard to the exclusion or inclusion of content that is critical of immigration. Furthermore the debates take into account whether libraries should take a political stance against xenophobia, with the purpose of promoting a diverse society. This master’s thesis can be described as an attempt to broaden the understanding of how public librarians perceive the democratic purpose of public libraries in relation to the selection of materials and activities, especially concerning titles which are critical of immigration. In order to answer these questions I have conducted semi-structured interviews with six public librarians who are employed within six different municipalities in Skåne, Sweden. In this thesis I have applied the theory of new institutionalism, with the concepts of institutional logics and legitimacy as the central tools in my analysis. The results show that the participating librarians consider activities which are meant to support immigrants and refugees to be essential in regard to the libraries democratic mission, which is due to the increased immigration in recent years. The librarians perceive that the libraries thus can function as a gateway into the community. In addition there is the subject concerning suggestions regarding purchases by library users, specifically self-published literature that is perceived to be critical of immigration, but also of immigrants in general, which brings the question of professional ethics into action. In general the librarians express reluctance towards acquiring materials that are discriminatory against certain minorities, in which a specific dilemma arises due to the great demand for self-published literature that promotes harsher immigration policies. The democratic ideal which entails that the library is for everyone, but also the professional ethic of being neutral in relation to political and/or ideological issues, puts a greater pressure to not exclude materials that there is a great demand for because it could be perceived as a violation against the principle of providing the necessary means for the free formation of opinions, which in turn is conceived as a prerequisite for freedom of expression. Arguably in the end, this constitutes that the librarians have a harder time motivating exclusion, and therefore they are in a sense prohibited from applying their own professional standards in relation to the acquisition of materials.},
  author       = {Harrison, Sebastian},
  keyword      = {Folkbibliotek,folkbibliotekarier,bibliotekslag,demokrati,nyinstitutionell teori,legitimitet,institutionella logiker,neutralitet,new public management,ABM,biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap Public libraries,public librarians,library act,democracy,new institutionalism,legitimacy,institutional logics,neutrality,ALM,library and information studies},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Inom ramen för det legitima : en intervjustudie om hur folkbibliotekarier verkar för en demokratisk utveckling},
  year         = {2017},
}