Library Trends 65 (2) Fall 2016: Libraries in the Political Process [Restricted]

 

Library Trends 65 (2) Fall 2016: Libraries in the Political Process. Edited by Christine Stilwell, Peter Johan Lor, and Raphaëlle Bats.

For better or worse, libraries are part of the fabric of society. They cannot survive and thrive as alien bodies nor, to use the language of systems theory, as closed systems with impermeable boundaries. It should therefore not surprise us that libraries are directly and indirectly affected, if not buffeted, by societal trends and perturbations. It remains shocking nevertheless when libraries are damaged or destroyed, especially when it appears that they have been deliberately targeted. A number of recent cases of this nature prompted the Library Theory and Research (LTR) section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to propose the topic “Libraries in the Political Process: Benefits and Risks of Political Visibility” as the theme for its open session held at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France, in August 2014. This topic was aligned with the global theme of the IFLA 2014 Congress, “Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge.” IFLA has over sixty sections and interest groups dealing with current topics of all kinds. Within this constellation, LTR has a particular responsibility to select themes that require rethinking and theoretical reflection at a fundamental level, or that present methodological challenges. Accordingly, the LTR Standing Committee called for papers responding to the challenge of rethinking library roles in relation to the publics we serve in times of crises of all kinds, including political, financial, and managerial crises and crises of professional identity. Participants were asked to look in a scholarly way at these phenomena, not limiting the session to descriptions of the incidents or the defense of libraries, but considering also the profession’s responses and what they say about the way the profession is conceptualizing its role in society.


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