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Hidden gems? The cultural contribution of independent libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States

Rowley, Jennifer and Loach, Kirsten (2020) Hidden gems? The cultural contribution of independent libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. ISSN 0961-0006 (In Press)

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Abstract

Independent libraries are important cultural assets for their communities yet have largely been overlooked in mainstream library research. This research seeks to bring these libraries into the limelight by building a profile of their cultural contributions. Through a content analysis of the websites of the libraries of the Independent Libraries Association (UK) and Membership Libraries Group (US), it demonstrates that independent libraries preserve and facilitate access to a variety of important cultural assets and, while often characterised as ‘hidden gems’, are proactively working to increase engagement beyond traditional audiences, whilst also making significant contributions to the cultural sustainability agenda.

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