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Elastiska bibliotek: en undersökning av två folkbiblioteks formbarhet och gränser med hjälp av begreppet elasticitet
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this Master thesis is to examine whether the term elasticity is relevant and functional to apply to public library organisations. Another aim of the thesis is to relate the term elasticity to public library organisations in a network society. Sociologist Manuel Castells provide the theoretical framework on the network society. Three investigations (meant to complement each other) in two Swedish public libraries seek to give answers to these questions.To be able to examine which areas of public library activity are elastic, I make a rough definition of what public library organisations consist of – nine activity fields are identified using IFLA’s guidelines in combination with Swedish law of public libraries. I also define elasticity. Three qualities make the term interesting to apply to public libraries: 1) elastic objects (libraries) have an ideal shape, 2) they (libraries) are moulded when pressure is applied from outside, and 3) when pressure applied from outside becomes too intense, elastic objects (libraries) break (or become dysfunctional).The essay undertakes three investigations in Alby public library and Dieselverkstaden public library in Nacka (both in Stockholm). In the first investigation two aspects of elasticity (in relation to public libraries) are examined: One aspect regards how elasticity is expressed in two texts that govern public libraries in Sweden – Swedish law and IFLA’s guidelines for public library activity. Is elasticity intrinsic in these norms and in what way? Secondly a comparison is made between how elasticity is expressed in these normative texts and the actual situations in two public libraries, in which way they are elastic, and what discrepancies there are between texts and scenarios from practice. I study the library – its collections, public activities, documents and rules and regulations regarding loans.In the second investigation I aim to find out how the visitors of public libraries shape the library, how they perform pressure on it. Short survey-like interviews are completed with twenty visitors at the two libraries.The third investigation consists of interviews with two members of the staff at each library. These interviews assist me in the process of developing thoughts regarding elastic libraries in a network society.Results show that the term elasticity is relevant but evasive. It becomes clear that studying IFLA’s guidelines and Swedish library law will not answer the question where the elasticity of the activity fields end. That limit seems to become evident only when examining libraries in practice. I find that five activity fields can be called elastic (in practice): the collections, the librarians, to give access to information and ICT, the library room and environment and management.Results also show that qualities that signify the network society combined with political changes, affect the way public libraries are perceived and opinions of how they ought to be managed. This is what I consider to be pressure on a global level. I also find that this pressure is difficult to measure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 105 p.
Uppsatser inom biblioteks- & informationsvetenskap, ISSN 1650-4267 ; 540
Keyword [en]
Public libraries – Sweden, Public libraries – Law and legislation, Public libraries – Information technology, Public libraries – Political aspect, Qualitative Research.
Keyword [sv]
Folkbibliotek – Sverige, Bibliotek – juridik och lagstiftning, Bibliotek och internet, Bibliotek och samhälle, Folkbibliotek – målsättning och uppgifter, Kvalitativ metod.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-183389Local ID: 540OAI: diva2:562588
Subject / course
Library and Information Science
Educational program
Master Programme in ALM
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-10-25 Created: 2012-10-25 Last updated: 2012-12-04Bibliographically approved

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