The social library in three contexts: Programs and perspectives

Kristian Nagel Delica, Hans Elbeshausen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Across different national contexts public libraries have dealt, in diverse yet comparable ways, with the multiple challenges stemming from globalization, migration, marginalization and technological developments. This article argues, by way of dissecting three cases of library planning programmes which focused on centring libraries in their neighbourhoods, that we in recent decades witness the contours of a social library. Discussing experiences from initiatives in the UK, Canada and Denmark we, notwithstanding significant national differences, highlight common features – that libraries bring together already existing, but hitherto isolated institutional knowledge and competencies. We conclude by proposing a tentative typology of ‘the social library’.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)237–245
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Libraries
  • Library programming
  • Social aspects of libraries

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