Gorichanaz, T., and Turner, D. All the community’s a stage: The public library’s changing role in community information provision. The Library Quarterly, 87(2), 99–116.
Abstract. Community information is indispensable for modern life, but access to it remains challenging for many people. Historically, public libraries have been central in providing formal community information, but today such information provision is accomplished largely by informal networks of community service agencies. Thus, the role and the value of the public library in community information provision seem unclear. We find an analogy to this situation in design theorist Christopher Alexander’s conceptualization of planned versus natural cities, and we bring this to bear on an ongoing study of public library service provision to the urban poor. This work reveals implications and recommendations for the public library’s unfolding role in community information provision: public libraries may no longer be needed to provide formal community information, but they can engage as information shepherds with local community service agencies in informal community information provision.