The Public Library in the Community: Developing a Critical Practice


Develop an appreciation of the modern public library’s history paying particular attention to the wider social forces (economic, political, cultural, social, technological, and professional), which have shaped its evolution and that of public librarianship from the mid-19th century.

This course (INF2155H — The Public Library in the Community: Developing a Critical Practice) explores theories of the public library in society (historical, contemporary) including the ethics of professional practice. Review the regulatory environment within which the municipal public library operates. Explore the structure of the Canadian public library community and the relationships (formal and informal) between the municipal public library and its partners in the public, private and volunteer sectors. Explore the ways in which the public library identifies and responds to its community’s needs in relation to the full range of user groups and non-user groups. Explore attitudes towards and perceptions of the public library as held by citizens, other service professionals, politicians, etc., and as reflected in professional, scholarly, and popular media.

Cultivate a critical awareness of the key issues facing public libraries and discuss strategies for responding to these issues. Inspire an entrepreneurial and innovative orientation towards service planning and delivery through the development of a strategic orientation towards planning. Create a new service initiative and a mechanism for its evaluation. Expose students to a range of professionals working in the field of public librarianship. Cultivate an individual philosophy towards public service and the role of the public sphere in Canadian society.

As of January 2018, pre-requisite is INF1321H or INF1322H or INF1323H or INF1324H

Former pre-requisite was INF1310H

Recommended: INF1001H