Defining the Role of the Public Library: A Qualitative Analysis of Mission Statements

by de Guerra, Regina Nowicki

Abstract (Summary)
This study uses a qualitative analysis of library mission statements and additional role-related documents to determine what a sample of large public library systems in North Carolina are declaring to be their roles today. These declared roles are also compared to the roles and service responses described in Public Library Association planning manuals. The naming, placement, and length of all online public library mission statements in North Carolina are also discussed.

It is found that public libraries see themselves as fulfilling many roles, some continuing their traditional tasks, some responding to the new Information Economy, and some reflecting intangible values. The planning manuals are seen to neglect many of these roles, with the exception of the latest version. Libraries are encouraged to better utilize mission statements in order to communicate these many roles and so demonstrate their continuing relevance in the new information context.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:David Carr

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public libraries aims and objectives north carolina mission statements


Date of Publication:04/06/2008

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