Participatory projects in public libraries – a tool for visibility and social betterment in local community

SABOLOVIĆ-KRAJINA, Dijana (2016) Participatory projects in public libraries – a tool for visibility and social betterment in local community. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 79 - Library Theory and Research.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1338
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Participatory projects in public libraries – a tool for visibility and social betterment in local community

"Fran Galović" public library in Koprivnica, a medium sized urban environment in Croatia, has a long tradition in organizing projects and programs in the local community in collaboration with numerous individuals, institutions and non-governmental organizations Collaboration and networking are two management concepts, but also tools that can be used to overcome financial, staff and physical space limitations. At the same time, they broaden public visibility of public libraries and enhance their importance in the betterment of the local community. This research was based on a case study, a semi-structured interview and a survey method. It has shown that collaborative relations are vital in transforming the traditional role of public libraries in a society, a process wherein a focus is not any longer on book collections, but rather on users and community needs. According to the research results, one of the indicators of Koprivnica library’s adaptation to contemporary society are its participatory projects, which revealed new audiences to welcome – babies and toddlers, children and youth, as well as socially vulnerable groups in the local community. The role of a librarian has also changed; from an expert in library science to cultural event manager and animator, PR expert, educator and communicator with different groups in the local community. The research has shown that the library users recognised the library as the place that enhances social integration, social cohesion and social inclusion. But the politicians on all levels – local, regional and national should be more involved in recognizing the importance of public libraries in development of society. On the other side, library community should to be more proactive in: promoting their positive role in the social changes, approaching to the new audience, understanding social macro- and micro environment and advocacy for its status in society.

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