City councillors and the mission of public libraries

From New Library World journal
The following abstract is for an article by Dominique Gazo about public libraries in Quebec, which appears in the latest issue of New Library World journal (Vol. 112 Iss: 1/2, pp.52 - 66).

Also available here: Gazo, D. Que Pensent les Elus Municipaux Quebecois des Missions des Bibliotheques Publiques ?. Documentation & Bibliothèques v. 56 no. 1 (January/March 2010) p. 5-13

Purpose – In Quebec, where a large majority of public libraries are municipal departments, the mission of the libraries must be defined in collaboration with city councillors and acknowledged by them. The purpose of this paper is to understand the views of city councillors in Quebec on the mission of public libraries, and to compare them to actual library practices.

Design/methodology/approach – The research strategy adopted is a multiple case study. Interviews were conducted with 12 city councillors who represent their library on the city council. These interviews and the municipal cultural policies were subjected to a discourse analysis. The interviews with the directors of the public libraries and some documents were subjected to content analysis.

Findings – A conceptual framework based on the theory of social construction of reality is proposed to study the discourses of city councillors in their textual dimension, to contextualise them and to analyse them in comparison with library practices.

Originality/value – There is no homogeneous view among city councillors in Quebec on the mission of public libraries. However, a model of the discourse of city councillors does emerge. It is less developed than current literature. It presents a passive image of the library in which the tradition continues, ignoring the Information Society. The analysis also revealed that the views of city councillors are based on their own convictions as individuals, on their role in the management of the municipality as elected officials, and on the image they have of the users of public libraries.