Purpose – The purpose of this article is to present a research project on public libraries in urban development focusing on how libraries contribute to culture‐led urban regeneration as icons, placemakers and community vitalization. Design/methodology/approach – The research project is based on case studies of new “cutting‐edge” public libraries in Europe and North America. These case studies have been conducted through analysis of documents, observation and qualitative interviews with key informants. Findings – The article finds that new public libraries have re‐conceptualized their design, brand and functions as an answer to strategies of culture‐led urban regeneration, and at the same time they have actively contributed to urban development by changing the image and identity of urban places, contributing to urban diversity and addressing social and economic problems. Practical implications – The article provides a framework for development of strategies and legitimization for public libraries and a point of departure for the discussion of the library's contribution to urban development. Originality/value – This is the first public presentation of the findings of the results of the research project Public Libraries in Urban Development – Creativity, Innovation and Experience outside the Nordic countries.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2013
Keywords: Public libraries; Culture‐led urban regeneration; Urban development; Icon; Placemaker; Community vitalization; Urban areas; Europe; North America
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