Seminar Paper: Public Libraries X Private Sector - Public Libraries (pt.1)steemCreated with Sketch.

in education •  23 days ago



Public libraries

Public libraries are libraries that are accessible to the general public. They are either directly owned by the state or financially dependent on the state. Public libraries are funded via secondary distribution (direct allocation or grants) throughout the state. The main services of public libraries include facilitating easy access to books, journals, hardware and the Internet. According to ALA (American Library Associations), " no one should be denied information because he or she cannot afford the cost of a book or periodical, have access to the internet or information in any of its various formats." [3] The Association, in other words, supports the stance of positive law for access to information.


It is generally claimed that public libraries are completely voluntary - that no one is forced to use their services and that services are provided free of charge [1]. This claim, however, is not entirely true. It is generally a well-known fact that nothing and under no circumstances is free. All processes, services and commodities, consume resources to create or operate [2]. Taxes hold public library services running. People cannot decide not to pay taxes - the service is not voluntary and every taxpayer is forced to finance the service. We will try to get to results of such an economic model through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation research, exploring the use of public libraries. However, voluntary libraries are only the private.


That survey, conducted 5 years ago (2013), came with interesting statistics. Of all adults in the Czech Republic, only 21% of the population used public library services for the whole year. Freely accessible computers then used poor 4%. This was mostly done by people living in small or big cities. It should be stated that 90% of the customers were satisfied with the services. [4]


Free Internet access and computers then rated 40% of the population as a useful service. In addition, 67% of the library's public and its services are rated as effective (however, it is important to realize that up to only 21% of these voices have really benefited from the library services). 36% think public libraries deserve more money from the state budget. The last interesting fact is that 34% used public library services for educational purposes. [4]


What does the data imply? Primarily, the fact that libraries are not drastically used hits the eye. The use of documents stored in them does not exceed 1/3 (once a year) and the use of their computers and the Internet does not exceed 1/20 of our population. The positive news is that libraries provide high quality services according to their customers, even if they do not have too many active ones. But maybe are not good enough to attract new customers? I had suspicions that the numbers won’t be so compelling before I collected the data, and it had confirmed my suspicions.


Are public libraries in the Czech Republic really providing services of free access to information to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it? What is the probability that the 21% of the people who used the library services would not be able to afford the service otherwise? And what would be the answer would it be provided that the money was not first taken to operate these services (which are obviously not free of charge). Do they truly provide computers and internet access to the people who would not otherwise be able to afford it? What does it mean to afford a computer with internet nowadays in Czech Republic? According to Google the cheapest internet access is worth around $ 10 per month, and the cheapest hardware will cost less than $25 (one-time). How many of the 4% of people using computers in public libraries would not be able to pay this amount despite the fact that most of them live in towns or cities? It is unlikely that people wouldn’t be able to afford these commodities and services. It would more likely be their very own priority, or the fact that an entity in the form of a state takes money from the person and then allows the usage of these services "free of charge" within the libraries. In order to get answers to these questions, a survey of specific economic issues would have to be conducted. It is quite obvious, however, that the library paradigm is constantly changing in the information age and that the private sector is changing the form of public libraries. That will be examined in part 2.


1.Rubin, Richard E. Foundations of Library and Information Science(3rd ed). 2010. Neal-Schuman Publishers: New York.

2.BASL, Josef a Roman BLAŽÍČEK. Podnikové informační systémy: podnik v informační společnosti. 3., aktualiz. a dopl. vyd. Praha: Grada, 2012. Management v informační společnosti. ISBN 9788024743073.

3."Access". American Library Association (ALA). Archived from the originalon July 28, 2009.

4.IKAROS, redakce. Výsledky evropského průzkumu využívání veřejných knihoven. Ikaros [online]. 2013, ročník 17, číslo 8 [cit. 2018-12-27]. urn:nbn:cz:ik-14120. ISSN 1212-5075. Dostupné z:

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