Picture map of Europe with pins indicating European capital cities

Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

Explore research outputs by the European Policies Research Centre...

What is the true value of a public library?

McMenemy, D. (2007) What is the true value of a public library? Library Review, 56 (4). pp. 273-277. ISSN 0024-2535

Full text not available in this repository. Request a copy from the Strathclyde author

Abstract

It seems that, in the UK at least, the public library is a service that constantly has to defend its right to exist. As Goulding has suggested, although public feeling towards libraries seems to remain positive, commentators, both political and social, like nothing more than to paint the picture of a service "at crisis point" (Goulding, 2006, p. 4). Yet from the outside looking in, so much of the navel-gazing instigated by such reports that cry the death knell of the public library, seem built on shaky foundations, and, it seems to me, a complete misunderstanding of what the public library concept is and how we should value it. More worryingly, the agendas created by such navel-gazing run the risk of weakening the service even further by encouraging a focus on issue statistics or other numbers-driven methodologies as the absolute guarantor of the potential value of a public library to its community and to society. So how should we measure the value of a public library? What indeed do we mean by value?