The impact of the public library as a creative place in the community: A contextual review

Osborne, Roger, Burgess, Jean E., Cunningham, Stuart D., Hearn, Gregory N., Klaebe, Helen G., & Light, Ben (2015) The impact of the public library as a creative place in the community: A contextual review. [Working Paper]


This review examines recent literature on the public library as a creative place and the ways in which socio-cultural impact is being measured in assessments of cultural value. Inputs such as funding and staffing are frequently measured against outputs such as visitor numbers and lending frequencies, but qualitative measures (outcomes and impacts) are minimal in the literature because of the lack of persuasive evaluative frameworks and the difficulty of designing and facilitating the evaluations at local and national levels. Nevertheless, when combined with data about outputs and outcomes, the impact on individuals and their communities can be measured effectively and reported persuasively (Poll 2012, p.124). This contextual review provides an overview of current thinking about public libraries and creative spaces with particular attention paid to the rise of so-called makerspaces and Fab Labs. This includes discussion on the types of creative activities that are occurring in the public library context, and an outline of the rhetoric and reality of the public library as a community space. These outlines are reconsidered in a discussion of the evaluative frameworks that have been employed by libraries in the past, followed by an account of some prominent creative spaces that have been formally evaluated. The existence of creative spaces in public libraries is in a state of constant flux, and the development and redevelopment of evaluative frameworks will ensure that published reports will continue to appear throughout 2015 and beyond. This review provides a brief snapshot of the state of the field as it is in the first quarter of 2015.

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ID Code: 94713
Item Type: Working Paper
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Digital Media Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 11 Apr 2016 02:49
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2016 02:49

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