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ERIC Number: ED349029
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Jun-4
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
What Is the Role of the Public Library?
Shubert, Joseph F.
Changes in today's technology make it necessary for library administrators to look anew at the role, the mission, and the future of the public library. Economic development and education strategists recognize three types of rural communities--rural poor, traditional middle America, and communities in transition--each with different values, socioeconomic characteristics, and locus of political structure. Local people have a great deal to do in determining what kind community they will live in, and the library director and board who have a keen sense of mission for their own library and a plan for improving library service to their community are prepared to be a part of community revitalization, economic development, or infrastructure rebuilding. Four factors of particular significance to library planners are the changing demographics of rural areas, the continuance of rural personal income lag, the persistence of underdeveloped human resources, and the continuing financial crisis in agriculture. Rural communities that can tap into the information infrastructure through telecommunications have a greater possibility of making the transition to stronger communities. Some small libraries have provided outstanding literacy services, a key factor in strengthening family and community structure. The public library and its resource sharing connections are also important to both teachers and students in smaller schools. Leadership is needed in articulating the role of the public library within the community and in state policy if rural library services are to be improved. When the role is defined and agreed to by the library and the community, it will be possible to relate to infrastructure and economic development. The role a rural library selects can provide the means for access and equity and make it a vital part of its community in an electronic information society. (BBM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A