The role of public libraries in Lifelong Learning in a multicultural and digital context

Title: The role of public libraries in Lifelong Learning in a multicultural and digital context
Author: Tóth, Máté
Source document: ProInflow. 2016, vol. 8, iss. 2, pp. 32-42
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Type: Article
License: Not specified license

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The traditional roles of public libraries are approached from four directions: the library as a(n) 1. information provider, 2. mediator of cultural assets, 3. source and services for lifelong learning, 4. a place for recreation and entertainment. Recent changes in the society suggest that two main trends – both derived from globalisation – influence the content of these traditional roles: multiculturalism and digitisation with the growth of knowledge society. According to these trends public libraries are functioning as low-intensive meeting places where people with different ethnical, cultural, religious background can be exposed to other values. Based on the digitisation of content and services public libraries have reinterpreted their roles in an online environment too, that made the reflection to actual tendencies of lifelong learning possible. The blurring border-lines of curricula, the exchangeable roles of educator and learner, the relativity of values all suggested the necessity of elaboration of a continuously changing lifelong learning infrastructure. Public libraries are tending to create spaces in online environment make possible the confrontation of different values and ideas, acquisition of new knowledge and stimulating creativity. The border-lines and the scope of public library services are also blurred as archives, museums and also companies – also from outside the GLAM sector – are facing the same challenges and reflecting the same user needs. The paper presents some European examples in which the public libraries based on providing digitised content are creating stimulating online environments for the needs of lifelong learning.
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