Libraries as Knowledge Hubs in Informational World Cities

Agnes Mainka, Sviatlana Khveshchanka

Abstract


Informational world cities are based on knowledge; and the traditional institutions of knowledge organization, storage and dissemination are libraries. Knowledge institutions, like (digital) libraries, provide societies with worldwide information and establish a culture of lifelong learning. In informational cities, libraries might change into the knowledge hubs of the ubiquitous society. Our hypothesis is: Regarding to the highly developed ICT infrastructure of an informational city, libraries have a huge variety of digital information as well as attractive physical meeting, working and learning spaces. This paper investigates the important role of (digital) libraries in the constitution of informational cities. Based on the relevant literature, we investigated public libraries in informational cities. An international survey was conducted in the period from 26th August to 22nd September 2011. For this purpose, a questionnaire was developed which was sent to 38 public libraries in several major cities of the world. A total of 14 libraries from Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific agreed to take part in this survey. Additionally, we conducted a case study of the library infrastructure of Singapore. The results of the survey illustrate that there is no consistent strategy how libraries handle their physical and digital library. Investments in digital resources or in physical spaces differ on a large scale. But nearly all libraries offer electronic resources (such as e-books or e-journals), digital reference services as well as guides and seminars to enhance the information literacy of their users.

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