Previous MSc Theses

2019 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014
2013 | 2012

"Income Generation in Public Libraries and its Influence on Public Library Ethos." H. Pautz. A. Poulter. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2013. (BibTeX) MSc Information and Library Studies

The research addresses income generation methods in public libraries and their 'compatibility' with public library ethos in the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The research questions emerged from the interlinked problems of funding cuts to public libraries, changing and expanding user needs, an increasingly digital knowledge and information world and from questions over public libraries' ethos and the role of public libraries in the 21st century.

The research goes beyond finding out what librarians do to support their libraries financially via, inter alia, sponsorship deals, charges or donation campaigns. The study also sheds light on whether these librarians feel their professional ethos being compromised by any of these methods. To complement this research, the views of public library users in Glasgow, Scotland, on income generation were also elicited.

Data was generated through interviews with librarians and an electronic survey sent to librarians in all three countries. The user survey was disseminated in electronic from and in hardcopy.

The research produced a number of interesting results. The data confirmed that
librarians in the three countries share the most fundamental convictions. Differences were visible in how librarians in the three countries generate income. US-librarians heavily use Friends of the Library groups and fundraising campaigns to support their library. German librarians also generate support through Friends of the Library groups, albeit with a focus on winning those with personal wealth and links to businesses as members. In Britain, librarians seem averse to asking the public for money in order to compensate for decreasing public funding. However, where the library moves out of direct local government control, it is more likely to develop 'cultural entrepreneurism'.

Based on the research results, recommendations regarding income generations methods and their compatibility with public library ethos are made. These recommendations concern the necessity of an 'ethical test' applied to the development process of new services. This test should ask questions based on professional and organisational ethos. Further recommendations concern the importance of maintaining the trustworthiness of the public library and the importance of personal networks between library managers, political decision-makers and other local elites in order to foster support for the public library.