Analysing the challenges for large public libraries in the twenty-first century: A case study of the State Library of Victoria in Australia

  • Vivienne Waller Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Ian McShane Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology

Abstract

For large public libraries, the development of digital technologies poses challenges that have yet to be fully explored. While library sector rhetoric rightly imagines that digital technologies bring change to all aspects of library operations, it is not enough to focus on the technologies. Using the State Library of Victoria in Australia as a case example, this paper identifies two key challenges for large public libraries in the new millennium. The first is to obtain a thorough understanding of the nature of the environment in which they operate; in particular, an understanding of the ways in which both the ecology and economy of information are changing. The second challenge is for libraries to develop a policy framework that clarifies institutional goals and brings coherence to diverse and sometimes conflicting policy demands in rapidly changing technological and service settings.

Author Biographies

Vivienne Waller, Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology
Vivienne Waller is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University. She has a research interest in information and the social aspects of technology use.
Ian McShane, Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology
Ian McShane is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University. He has research interests in public policy, cultural heritage and public infrastructure.
Published
2008-12-07
How to Cite
Waller, V., & McShane, I. (2008). Analysing the challenges for large public libraries in the twenty-first century: A case study of the State Library of Victoria in Australia. First Monday, 13(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v13i12.2155