The Impact of Third Spaces: Examining the Role of Public Libraries in Social Inclusion and Community Cohesion

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This thesis examines public libraries' evolving role as "third spaces" that bridge the gap between home and work, providing platforms for collaboration, socialization, and various activities. Focusing on Roermond as a case study, the research employs qualitative methods like semi-structured interviews and observations to understand the impact of public libraries on social inclusion and community cohesion. The study highlights libraries' significance as community hubs, fostering inclusivity, accessibility, and a sense of belonging. Libraries offer diverse resources, including language learning materials and cultural content, nurturing engagement and inclusion. As social infrastructures, libraries facilitate connections through activities like book clubs and art exhibitions, promoting community integration. The study underscores the importance of auxiliary resources, helpful staff, and diverse programs in enhancing users' engagement. It calls for continued investment in these aspects to meet user needs. The findings emphasize that public libraries contribute to social cohesion by offering inclusive environments and accessible resources. The study suggests exploring different locations and contexts for a deeper understanding and proposes potential quantitative studies to complement qualitative insights. In conclusion, the thesis demonstrates how public libraries, as third spaces, support social inclusion and community cohesion, encouraging further investment and research in this area.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen