A Public Sphere Framework and Research Agenda for the Public Library Sector.

January 5, 2016 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

Widdersheim, M. M. (2015). Governance, Legitimation, Commons: A Public Sphere Framework and Research Agenda for the Public Library Sector. Libri: International Journal of Libraries & Information Services, 65(4), 237-245.

Public libraries continually struggle to define their social value, and economic or educational rationales are commonly submitted to this end. In contrast to these approaches, public sphere theory emphasizes the political and social justice aspects of public libraries. Existing library literature has established strong associations between public sphere theory and public libraries, and a tentative model of the public sphere in public libraries has been developed. It is not yet clear, however, how a public sphere model of public libraries might benefit the profession. This paper therefore explains how a conceptual model of the public sphere in public libraries can serve as a potential framework and research agenda for the public library sector. A model of the public sphere in public libraries contains three main arenas of discourse: governance, legitimation, and commons. Each of the arenas represents values that are central to public librarianship. Practitioners and scholars in the public library sector can use the public sphere model to orient research and practice. This paper explains each arena in detail and discusses the model’s relevance as a philosophy and research agenda.





Entry filed under: Valdosta State University.

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