International Journal of Libraries and Information Studies
Editor-in-Chief: Albright, Kendra S. / Bothma, Theo J.D.
4 Issues per year
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Public Libraries in the Knowledge Society: Core Services of Libraries in Informational World Cities
Informational Cities are the prototypical spaces of the knowledge society. Public libraries play an important role as parts of the digital, smart, knowledge and creative infrastructures of these Informational Cities. Libraries have economic value as location factors in the two spaces of Informational Cities, the physical and the digital. For this reason, we divided the library services into two main groups, namely the digital library and the physical library. For 31 specified Informational World Cities, we empirically analyzed the core services of their public libraries via content analysis of the libraries’ Web pages. Additionally, we studied these libraries’ social media activities. Many libraries provide free e-resources (above all, e-books, e-journals and bibliographical databases) to their customers. Libraries offer digital reference services, mainly via e-mail and Web forms. Their presence in social media is dominated by posts on Facebook and Twitter. Nearly all public libraries we analyzed represent attractive architectural landmarks in their region. Besides offering spaces for children, the libraries provide rooms for learning and getting together and, to a lesser degree, modular working spaces. Most libraries provide Wi-Fi inside their buildings; more than half of those we investigated work with RFID technology. The prototypical public library in the knowledge society has two core services: (1) to support citizens, companies and administrations in their city and region with digital services, namely e-resources as well as reference services, and to communicate with their customers via social media; and (2) to provide physical spaces for meeting, learning and working, as well as areas for children and other groups, in a building that is a landmark of the city.
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