The public library as public sphere: a longitudinal analysis – full article available as EarlyCite

Appleton Hall 2022 public library sphere EarlyCiteThe public library and pubic sphere: a longitudinal analysis is now available as a full paper (HTML or PDF) from the Journal of Documentation as an EarlyCite publication. This is the final output from Dr Leo Appleton‘s part-time doctoral study, completed in 2020 within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University.

In the article, Leo and I discuss the role of the UK public library as a public sphere, and the ways in which this role relates to the epistemic, community, and political functions of public libraries. It will be of particular interest to those concerned with the the fundamental epistemic value of public library services. We demonstrate the ways that new information and knowledge emerge through person-to-person interactions in public library space, arguing that the community function of public libraries is made evident through these exchanges, notably as a platform for citizens to participate actively in society, including in its democratic processes.

For those who do not have subscription access to the Journal of Documentation, a PDF of the full text of the manuscript of this article is available for download from the Edinburgh Napier repository.

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