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Importance Of The Public Libraries Essay

557 words - 3 pages

Public libraries are an essential part of the modern public culture. In an increasingly individualistic and technologically isolated environment, the library has becomes a chapter of the past. But as a chapter of the past, it has become mythologized to a certain extent. Its past function is different from its contemporary role. This is especially true for the people who may be characterized as uneducated and living on the fringes of society: the homeless. What position and what role does this place of public knowledge have for these people? Is it merely a stable place of meeting? Or – is a place for learning to occur? Do the homeless visit the library in order to further their knowledge? Therefore the argument for this paper is: an underappreciated element of homeless individuals visit the Vancouver Public Library for the pursuit of knowledge, not simply physical ...view middle of the document...

) Darrin Hodgetts et, al. (“A Trip to the Library: Homelessness and Social Inclusion”) takes a more specific focus for their study: the homeless people who visit the library and their subsequent portrayal in the media. Hodgetts is mostly focused on the latter part of the question – the media representation of the homeless. Finally, Gloria Lecki and Jeffrey Hopkins (“The Public Place of Central Libraries: Findings from Toronto to Vancouver”) address the role of the public library in connection to ideas of public space within Toronto, and more importantly, Vancouver. They cite several studies which detail the specifics of the people but skirt around the question of homeless people. The major strength of their article is its theoretical framework and its specific focus on Vancouver and Toronto.
The knowledge gap that this paper will address is related to specify and knowledge prejudice: specify meaning the first two studies are concerned with foreign cities and cultures. And although they offer interesting perspectives and beginning points, they ultimately remain too distant from Vancouver. The knowledge prejudice that this proposal finds is that many of the studies focus only on the library acting as a physical shelter for the homeless. The articles suggest that some learning may go on with the homeless but they often trivialize that learning, presenting it as something other than legitimate. This essay, on the other hand, will look at Vancouver exclusively and contend that the pursuit of knowledge should not be linked to wealth or social class.

Works Cited

Black, Alistair and Crann, Melvyn. “In the Public Eye: A Mass Observation of the Public Library.” Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 34.3 (2002): 145-57.

Hodgetts, Darrin et, al. “A Trip to the Library: Homelessness and Social Inclusion.” Social & Cultural
Geography 9.8 (2008): 933-53.

Leckie, Gloria and Hopkins, Jeffrey. “The Public Place of Central Libraries: Findings from Toronto to Vancouver.” Library Quarterly 72.3 (2002): 328-72.

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