Citizen Participation, Controversial Social Issues, and the Information Services of Public Libraries: the Perspective of Librarians in Taiwan

LIN, Wen-Yau Cathy and ZHONG, Ren-You (2016) Citizen Participation, Controversial Social Issues, and the Information Services of Public Libraries: the Perspective of Librarians in Taiwan. 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/1405
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Language: English (Original)
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Language: Chinese (Translation)
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Abstract

Citizen Participation, Controversial Social Issues, and the Information Services of Public Libraries: the Perspective of Librarians in Taiwan

Taiwan have experienced a lot of protests initiated by citizens including the demonstration and sit-in concerning various controversial social issues in recent years. Among the debates of different social controversial issues, most citizens obtain relevant information through news and social media. Nevertheless, are public libraries, an important source of information in the civil society, able to provide the general public with the information concerning them? We have conducted a survey research to the public libraries in the capital city Taipei and its satellite city, New Taipei City. 201 questionnaires have been distributed to the librarians in 107 libraries who responsible for conducting outreach activities, assessing their perceptions and attitudes about providing relevant information regarding controversial social issues among the public. The results showed, librarians agreed that it is the responsibility and obligation of public libraries to provide information and resources to citizens, and that citizens have the freedom of rights to obtain various types of information. The librarians generally agree that public libraries should organize outreach activities related to current controversial issues. Although issues regarding political orientation, public policies, ethics, and media freedom were considered controversial social issues by most of the participants, they felt these issues would not be appropriate for integrated into outreach activities of public library. This research is an exploratory and emergent study in the Taiwanese society. The preliminary research results can only serve as a reference to what kind of information provider public libraries can be in the course of the development in a civil society.

从台湾图书馆员的视角探讨公民参与、争议性社会议题与公共图书馆的资讯服务

台湾近年来发生多起由人民发动的游行、静坐抗争活动,其主题均属高度争议性的社会议题。在各种争议性议题的论辩中,多数民众都是藉由新闻与社群媒体得到相关资讯,然而做为公民社会中重要资讯来源的公共图书馆是否能即时提供民众正在关心的议题之相关资讯呢?本研究以台北市及新北市的107个公共图书馆为研究对象,向负责举办推广活动的馆员发出201份问卷,询问馆员对举办推广活动的认知,以及利用推广活动提供民众与争议性社会议题相关资讯的态度。研究结果显示,馆员普遍同意公共图书馆有提供民众资讯与资源的责任与义务,且民众有获取多元资讯的自由,所以公共图书馆也应提供多元议题的资讯给民众。受访者亦普遍认同公共图书馆应配合正在发生的时事举办推广活动,但是对于争议性社会议题的认知则显得分歧。虽然最多数馆员认为政治立场、公共政策、伦理道德、媒体自等属于争议性社会议题,但这四项也是馆员们认为最不适合与公共图书馆推广活动结合的议题。显示受访的公共图书馆员认为欲在公共图书馆中举办结合时事议题的推广活动有其困难。本研究在台湾社会中尚属相关议题的探索性研究,这个初步的研究结果或可提供公民社会发展过程中,公共图书馆可扮演的资讯提供者角色之参考。

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