Abstract: Arbetsplatsbibliotek i Sverige. Studier av en uppsökande folkbiblioteksverksamhet och dess framväxt.
(Books at Work. Studies on Public Library Extension Services in Sweden and their Development.)
Mats Herder, Skrifter utgivna av Avdelningen för litteratursociologi
vid Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen i Uppsala, nr 20. 1986
174 pp. Uppsala ISBN 91-85178-14-4.
(Swedish text with a summary in English.)
The aim of this thesis is to set Swedish public libraries' workplace lending activities in a library tradition and in particular to analyse this lending service in the 1970s and 1980s. The results of field studies are presented, providing an account of how workers use libraries at their places of work and of whether--and if so, how--their reading and library-using habits have changed. Differences can be observed between inividual places of work, and the reasons for this are discussed in depth. In addition the author analyses how this form of lending influences the use made of libraries' regular service points.
The author's account of the background to workplace libraries highlights a philanthropic tradition within the library movement, with roots in nineteenth-century liberal circles, and the workers' educational movement's own extensive library activities in the first half of the twentieth century. Library philosophies from the English-speaking world, advocating large libraries for all members of the community, met with a hesitant reception in some quarters in Sweden. It was felt that an endeavour to centralize and co-ordinate could alienate people from libraries. Community-oriented library services in the early twentieth century, in the form of travelling libraries, were considered important, as were the extension services developed after the Second World War.
Greater national and local government commitment to cultural sphere, beginning in the 1960s, an endeavour to democratize the range of culture available, and debate on the working enviroment and detrimental influence of working life on job satisfaction, comradeship, and solidarity were factors which promoted the growth of lending at places of work. A government commission, set up to examine cultural issues in the early 1970s, sponsored workplace libraries on an experimental basis and proved of great importance, resulting in a decision to provide government subsidies for lending at places of work. 45 per cent of Sweden's local authorities now provide such facilities. The thesis concludes with an examination of current uncertainty as Swedish cultural policy approaches a crossroads which will significantly affect decentralized cultural activities and hence workplace libraries.