- Stakeholders' Points of View on the Public Library Service: Qualitative Research on the Possibility of Competition with Market
- No.48, p.1-24
It is desirable to have a mutual understanding between the book market and public libraries. However, in reality, the book market criticises public libraries for diminishing their sales by lending too many bestselling books. What lies behind this claim is the fact that consideration of various stakeholders has been ignored by the public libraries and one solution to this is for them offer different services from that of the market.
A qualitative examination was conducted of how each stakeholder recognises the public library and why differences in recognition occurred, in order to reveal the relationship between stakeholders’ and the public libraries. Interviews were conducted of authors, publishers, distributors, retail bookstores and second-hand booksellers. The results clearly demonstrated that stakeholders have suspicions about the “public responsibility” of libraries. Moreover, these suspicions increase when it comes to the upstream of the book market i.e. authors, publishers and distributors, and this group asserts copyright issues. There are gaps between upstream and downstream, originating in power differentials in controlling interests.
In conclusion, it is suggested that the identity of the public library will be fully established only by offering a service based upon “public responsibility” and not on the market mechanism.
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