Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
In the new Library Act of 2014, it is stated that public library supply should be characterized by quality. To investigate what this means for the library, I do a functional analysis of ideas of librarians' views on quality and how they work with purchasing, weeding and mediation. I have chosen to limit the essay to fiction for adults in Swedish public libraries. By combining the basal idea analysis, where I investigate librarians' ideas about quality, with an operational analysis of ideas, where I examine the effects librarians' quality ideas get for the daily work, Iwant to find out the librarians' quality ideals.
The material I analyze consists of 18 questionnaires, filled out by librarians with responsibility for purchasing and / or thinning in libraries across Sweden. The analysis is done with an analytical schedule, that consists of a number of opposing ideal types taken from previous research on quality, purchasing, thinning or mediation. In this way I want to show how librarians quality idea and practical work relate to previous quality ideas and ways of working.
The result shows two in many ways opposing ideas of quality: craftsmanship, where quality sits in the work's aesthetic, and impact on the reader, where quality arrisis in the meeting with the reader. Put in context, idea number one can be seen in quality definitions where quality is seen as relatively objective, where experts best can judge a work's quality. The second quality idea is often associated with a user-defined and subjective quality. One can also see how it is a special kind of impact, development, that is associated with quality.
If we look instead at the operational analysis we can see how librarians, especially in the work of purchasing, promote the popular, both in terms of authors, titles and genres. The librarians purchase a lot on demand and use circulation figures to see what needs to be purchased: that which it lent much. Popularity rather than quality is what decides what should be purchased, except for literature of very low quality that is not bought at all. Also in weeding circulation figures is used; even though literature of very high quality is moved to the magazine instead of beeing weeded. Regarding the mediation of literature, librarians to some extent try to lead their users toward literature of higher quality, but they are careful not to judge neither reader or literature. When giving advice on literature, it is from one reader to another. It is important that the readers themselves choose what and how they want to read. User influence is what steer the work of purchase, weeding and mediation.
The librarians quality ideas only to a very limited extent influence the librarians practical work, why I believe that it is impossible to speak of a quality ideal. Instead I want to describe the librarians' way of thinking about the library's literature as a value ideal. Furthermore, I would call the librarians value ideal a customer-driven value ideal, where the user is seen as an enlightened and well-informed customer with both the right and the knowledge to determine what the library should purchase and prioritize.
This is a two years master’s thesis in Archive, Library and Museum studies.
2015. , 80 p.
Questionnaires, Literature, Quality Management, Libraries--Public Services
Enkäter, litteratur, användarstyrt förvärv (bibliotek), kvalitetsstyrning, folkbibliotek