Sense of Ownership

Libraries have value to neighborhoods

People prefer to live near a public library if they have a choice, and often perceive library access as part of an enhanced quality of life, although it is rarely a direct factor in home purchase decision making.

The public library supports continuing education, workforce development, and sense of place in community

People must continually educate themselves, upgrade their skills, and reorient themselves to new realities. Interviews with patrons demonstrated that many individuals who were unemployed used the library as a home base to explore employment opportunities, even receiving cell phone calls in the library about job interviews. There was also much evidence that patrons were using the library as a place to make the transition into Canadian society, particularly through the learning of English. For instance, the seating sweeps in Vancouver revealed that a large number of patrons (more than half on many sweeps) in the library on any given day were involved in studying English. The central library, then, acts as a place where individuals in transition can feel included and productive in a way that would be almost impossible in other public spaces, such as cafes, parks, museums, arenas, and municipal offices (p. 354).

The library as a safe, important, and central public space

It seems clear that the central library is, indeed, central to the life activities of large numbers of people, is an important space in which public culture is constructed and lived, and thus has a deep sense of place attachment for its users. The central library attracts all ages and linguistic groups, has a well-educated clientele, and is regarded as a safe and appropriate destination for women, children, and men (p. 353).
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