De bibliotheek is van alle markten thuis Een onderzoek naar de manier waarop de maatschappelijke rol van de openbare bibliotheek in Nederland is veranderd

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This thesis is about the changing societal role of public libraries in the Netherlands. Starting with the emergence of the first public reading room, the expansion of that initiative and the eventual institutionalization of the library as a public institution, the first part of this thesis provides the reader with a detailed understanding of the history of the Dutch public library. Subsequently, based on a selection of policy texts and continuously contextualized using academic literature, the second part of this thesis explores the societal trends that have influenced - and still influence - the Dutch public library system. Using discourse analysis, this part examines the way policy and representatives of the library field speak about the public library and its (future) role in society. Key topics in this part are the use of the public library as an instrument in culture-led urban renewal and in tackling societal issues, the physical space of the library, its public image, the commercialization of the discourse, declining subsidies, the competition with the internet and Third Places, usage statistics and remarks on this essentially narrow way of measuring the library’s societal importance. The last part of this thesis is the case study of Stichting Forum Groningen, a Dutch foundation that is responsible for nine libraries in and around the city of Groningen. The eponymous eye-catcher Forum Groningen functions as the city’s main branch, but also houses, among other things, multiple movie theatres and cafés, an exhibition space and a museum. By examining the building itself and the written text of annual reports, this last part explores the possible future societal role of the public library in the Netherlands.
Faculteit der Letteren