Public libraries in the "age of austerity": income generation and public library ethos

Hartwig Pautz, Alan Poulter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A UK-wide survey was conducted using questionaires and interviews into the ethical and professional issues that public librarians faced when considering paid versus free access to services. The budgets of Britain’s public services have been under sustained pressure and public libraries are no exception to public spending cuts in today’s “age of austerity”. Librarians increasingly try to supplement shrinking budgets by employing a variety of income generation methods. But are these methods always in line with the public library ethos? This article presents data showing what British librarians hold to be the public library ethos, what they undertake to generate extra income to maintain public library services and whether they think that their efforts to generate additional income are ever in contradiction to the public library ethos. The article is based on survey and interview data produced in 2013 and also provides, in a Supplementary File, a comprehensive list of income generation methods. The research methods only allowed for the production of non-generalisable data.
LanguageEnglish
Pages20-36
Number of pages17
JournalLibrary and Information Research
Volume38
Issue number117
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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income
librarian
budget
additional income
public spending
interview
supplement
public service
research method

Keywords

  • public libraries
  • professional ethics
  • public funding
  • spending cuts
  • income generation

Cite this

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Public libraries in the "age of austerity" : income generation and public library ethos. / Pautz, Hartwig ; Poulter, Alan.

In: Library and Information Research, Vol. 38, No. 117, 2014, p. 20-36.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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