Community Library Spaces for Promoting Reading for Pleasure in Thailand

BOONAREE, Chommanaad, GOULDING, Anne and CALVERT, Philip (2018) Community Library Spaces for Promoting Reading for Pleasure in Thailand. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 205 - Asia and Oceania.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Community Library Spaces for Promoting Reading for Pleasure in Thailand

Based on data collected for a PhD research project, Factors Affecting Reading for Pleasure Practices in Community Libraries (CLs) in Thailand, this paper presents one of the themes identified as key to the success of community library initiatives – the provision of an inclusive, safe atmosphere. The research applied a multiple case study design. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, unobtrusive observations, and documentary analysis. The paper discusses the characteristics of CL spaces that are most appropriate for disadvantaged people in the Northeast (Isan), the most deprived area of Thailand. The study showed that CLs provide books access for rural people which greatly encourage literacy development, and community bonding. The evidence suggests that due to discomfort caused by disparities in socio-economic status in Thai society, villagers prefer to use informal CLs rather than the official district public libraries. Analysis of the data showed that four factors contributed to the development of a low anxiety situation for users of CLs: 1) community participation and civic involvement; 2) learning atmosphere and location; 3) sharing reading; and 4) public libraries and the librarians. The research contributes to our knowledge and understanding of community-based reading promotion practices in Thailand and will assist library professionals seeking approaches to increase the reach of libraries in Thailand.

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