People at a library

Project: Public libraries in a changed political landscape – a democratic mission for a new era?

The aim of the project is to investigate political influence on local public libraries in six south-Swedish regions. The study focuses the perspective of librarians and other local information workers.

Project information

Project manager
Joacim Hansson
Other project members
Fredrik Hanell, Linnaeus University
Hanna Carlsson, Linnaeus University
Lisa Engström, Lund University
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, Lund University
The Crafoord foundation (Crafoordska stiftelsen)
1 July 2021–31 December 2023
Library and Information Science (Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences).

More about the project

How are public libraries affected when established democratic foundations and procedures are questioned? When the established forms of democratic governance in a society are renegotiated, the democratic role of local public libraries change. The focus of this project is the perceived political changes in Sweden, seen from the perspective of librarians. Cultural policy shaping the norms for librarianship is currently, after decades of political consensus, subject to ideological struggle.

Methodologically, the project draws on institutional ethnography which, as part of a critical sociological tradition, considers individual thought and action as institutional. Through this frame, the views and practices of librarians also become the views and pratices of the library.

The project combines surveys, individual interviews, focus-group interviews, and document studies to capture various dimensions of the problem at hand.