Public Libraries and Community Cohesion Developing indicators

From Museums, Libraries and Archives

Public Libraries and Community Cohesion Developing indicators

Executive Summary This report addresses the objective of developing indicators for community cohesion in public library services in England, and is based on a mix of telephone interviews, questionnaires, desk research, visits and focus group meetings. Initial research showed that there has been little significant activity in public libraries to suggest that community cohesion is either well-understood or that it forms the central focus of strategy or practice. The report argues firstly that community cohesion is a key component in a broad policy trend characterised as ‘civil-localism,’ which both challenges and creates opportunities for pluralism and the public realm. Secondly it argues that community cohesion is a legitimate central focus for library services. Where the public library can demonstrate a contribution to the quality of social relations in local communities it will recover its place as a recognised symbol of the public realm. Community cohesion implies challenging the conditions that lead to the segregation of people from different backgrounds, in order to forestall any potential conflict caused by the misrepresentation of people’s genuine interests. Numerous public library project and partnership activities can be said to contribute to this theme, but many have essentially social inclusion objectives and few reflect cohesion principles as central tenets of the library’s purpose. The report offers a four-point structure for understanding the potential contribution of libraries: library as resource, librarians as expertise, library as place, and library as symbol. In terms of areas for action, the report suggests three complimentary and self-reinforcing approaches: library contributions to community cohesion strategies; delivering services in a way that is consistent with the principles of community cohesion; and working with local residents and groups to support viable networks of self-support and communication. In conclusion, a matrix combining the four attributes with the three action areas is proposed as the framework for developing indicators of community cohesion in public libraries.

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Public Libraries and Community Cohesion Developing indicators

Joannes de Garlandia, ca. 1195-ca.1272
The Stella Maris of John of Garland, edited, together with a study of certain collections of Mary legends made in northern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries by Evelyn Faye Wilson.
Mediaeval academy of America, 1946.
These Mary legends are usually referred to as Miracula beate Marie Virginis or Stella Maris. This edition is based on the two known manuscripts in the British Museum and the Bruges public library.
1. Mary, Virgin-Legends.
PA 8360.J5S8.