Type of Document Thesis Author Karppinen, David URN etd-08232004-225005 Title National Information Policies: Improving Public Library Services? Degree Master of Science Department Information Studies, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Marcella Genz Committee Chair Kathleen Burnett Committee Member Maria Chavez-Hernandez Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2004-06-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractWith an increasing focus on information and learning in today’s society,governments are paying more attention to the role that libraries play in the development of an information society. This thesis began with a question regarding the role of national governments and how policies they shape can affect the services that public libraries provide. Traditionally, public libraries have been grassroots, local organizations serving the needs of specific communities. How can this service be maintained and grown using policies developed at higher levels of government?
The focus of this paper was on three public libraries in the United Kingdom, Finland and Canada. First, each of the cities under question was described. Second, the development of national information policies was described. Next, the public libraries in three cities (Manchester, Helsinki and Vancouver) were examined with a view toward understanding how national policies have filtered down to the local level. Finally, an analysis of major findings was carried out.
The Helsinki City Library stands out as the institution having advanced library services beyond traditional expectations. In addition to electronic services, Helsinki has dedicated itself to bringing information out into the community. In contrast, Manchester has almost no electronic services available through its web site and has focused on bringing users into the library. Finally, the Vancouver library has the same electronic services available to users in Helsinki, with the same commitment to providing traditional information services to users in libraries located throughout the city. The differences in library service approach mirror the innovations in national information policies, which are as different in local delivery as are the libraries themselves.
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