The Role of the Rural Public Library in Community Development and Empowerment

By Roziya Abu, Marty Grace and Mary Carroll.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Public libraries are an important entity in local communities, particularly in rural and disadvantaged communities. They are more than shelves of books. Public libraries offer an ever changing range of cultural resources for the community, and they have become a type of social and cultural institution. This article discusses the broadly accepted conceptualization of information for development which accommodates the concepts of advancement of adult literacy and development information for people to improve their economic and social conditions. It reports on early findings of an investigation into the links between community development, empowerment and rural public library usage in Australia and Malaysia.

Keywords: Rural Library, Rural Community, Literacy, Information Seeking, Community Development and Empowerment

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.63-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 577.784KB).

Roziya Abu

School of Social Sciences & Psychology, Victoria University Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Through her work as Senior lecturer at MARA University of Technology Malaysia and as an International Student in Victoria University Australia, Roziya developed an interest in helping rural communities by enhancing the current usage of rural library services. The focus of her research is the investigation and analysis of the impact on rural communities of the development of rural library services and to explore the relationships between rural public libraries and their community members, with particular attention to empowerment and community development.

Assoc. Prof. Marty Grace

Assoc. Professor, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Marty Grace is an Associate Professor in Social Work at Victoria University. She carries out research with social policy significance in areas such as youth homelessness, and unpaid work of caring for young children. Her work has been published in various Australian and international journals including a prize winning article in Advances in Social Work Education. She draws on her research and social policy advocacy work in her teaching, and has been recognized by Victoria University teaching awards for her work in the Bachelor of Social Work course.

Dr. Mary Carroll

Victoria University, Victoria, Australia

Mary Carroll is a teacher in the Library and Cultural Studies Unit of Victoria University where she works as a library technician educator. Mary also lectures in information management in the School of Business IT and logistics at RMIT University in Melbourne. She started her professional career as a teacher-librarian and worked for many years in language a literacy development programmes in the education sector before undertaking a doctoral on the comparative education of library technicians and librarians in Australia. Her other research interests include the relationship between library development and reform, the history of education for librarianship, the impact of philanthropy on librarianship and cross-sectoral issues associated with contemporary education in Australia.

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