Archive for juli 15th, 2015

juli 15, 2015

The Public Library – The Research Centre of the People

Summer means reruns on all channels. On this blog I have the pleasure of reminding of and introducing to younger readers a much quoted (at least on this blog) article by Swedish author Sven Lindqvist from 1989: “How Public are Public Libraries”. The article is marked by being written about 5 years before the World Wide Web started showing its potential, however Lindqvist’s idea of the public library as the “research centre of the people”, launched in this article and in a number of speeches, stands firm:

“Libraries should become popular research centres which not only supply sources of information, but also produce the basic data one needs to ex­press one’s opinions on different issues. As we know, political power in a so­ciety like ours largely depends on who controls the investigation processes. To­day only the state, local authorities, en­terprises and large organizations have these resources at their disposal. … municipal libraries should be given the resources to help environ­mental groups and other pressure groups, local associations, village com­munities and trade union branches to obtain the information they need, in about the same ways as the parliamen­tary information service helps the parliamentary parties with investigations in various questions”.

“For fifty years Sven Lindqvist’s books have been the centre of literary and political controversy in Sweden”. He is the author of 33 books, mostly non-fiction, out of which 15 are translated to English (see even interview in The Guardian, 2012). He has for decades been a strong library advocate and was for years member of the Board of the Swedish National Library.

The article was first printed in Scandinavian Public Library Quarterly #3, 1989. I republish the article with permission of the author and of the journal (renamed Scandinavian Library Quarterly (SLQ) since 2012). Read the whole article below.

For our Scandinavian readers I even republish my interview with Sven Lindqvist in the Norwegian journal “Bok og bibliotek” #5-6, 1994 (pdf-file). See even at (Norwegian IPs only).

Anders E.

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