Purpose – This article seeks to propose a new vision for public libraries in the digital age. Design/methodology/approach – This conceptual paper is based on an understanding of the recent developments in ICT, internet and digital libraries; and also on the authors' personal experience in research and development in library and information science – especially in relation to public libraries – and digital libraries. Findings – The study argues that currently there are no proper mechanisms for capturing, preserving and disseminating community knowledge, and proposes that public libraries in the digital age should take a new role whereby they should act not only as a gateway to knowledge, but also as a platform facilitating the creation of, and access to, local community knowledge. Proposes a model for PL2.0 where public libraries can take on this new role to build a network of community knowledge. Research limitations/implications – The paper proposes a conceptual model for the second generation of public libraries, and further studies are required to test and implement the model. Practical implications – The paper proposes that the new role of public libraries will be to shift from solely providing access to knowledge to acting as a platform for the storage and dissemination of local community knowledge within the global context created by twenty‐first century digital technologies. Originality/value – The proposed model will bring in a “cultural change” by giving a new role to public libraries in preserving and disseminating community knowledge.
Online Information Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2006
Keywords: Public libraries; Digital libraries
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