The values of public libraries: a systematic review of empirical studies of stakeholder perceptions

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Purpose: Public libraries' relevance and raison d'être towards society is an often discussed subject within public, politics and research. The objective of this systematic literature review is to provide a synthesis of empirical studies of stakeholders' perceived values of public libraries. Design/methodology/approach: The review is based on a structured literature search that was conducted in seven databases. Two independent participants carried out a two-step screening of the identified studies. Firstly, the studies were screened on basis of title and abstract. Secondly, studies that were included in the title–abstract screening were full-text screened. Conflicting studies were discussed, and consensus between the reviewers was reached. Citation searches of each included study were conducted along with scrutinising cited literature. The included studies were subject to a risk of bias assessment on basis of a developed risk of the bias tool, and qualitative analysis was provided. Findings: Of all, 4,086 studies were screened and 19 were retained for the review. The studies consisted of both quantitative and qualitative investigations of different stakeholders in a variety of countries. The reported values varied across the studies and stakeholders. Originality/value: This is the first study that systematically reviews empirical literature that explores stakeholders' perceived values of public libraries. The paper suggests further recommendations for empirical research of values connected to public libraries.

TidsskriftJournal of Documentation
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)909-927
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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