Censur på bibliotek? : En kvalitativ studie av kontroversiella medier på folkbibliotek
Sammanfattning: The aim of this master thesis is to examine how Swedish public libraries approaches purchasing potentially controversial and anti-democratic books. According to the The Swedish Library Act, libraries should work towards the development of the democratic society and act for the benefit of free speech. If that is the case, how do libraries approach non-democratic works, for example works that speculate in racism or even genocide? This have been a widely discussed topic in media the last couple of years, fuelled by two decisions by the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen) that ruled that two public libraries acted wrongly in their decisions to deny purchase of a couple of controversial books that had been requested to be purchased by patrons. This study is based on five qualitative interviews of managers representing five different Swedish public libraries, supplemented by a review of the libraries steering documents. To summarize this study finds that there has been a shift over the last couple of years how public libraries approach potentially controversial books. In the past, it was more common for libraries to not carry any books considered anti-democratic or xenophobic. However, today it is very common for libraries to add these kinds of books to their collection. The only aspect a library can deny a purchase on is the “quality” of the work, not the values or opinions expressed in it. Because of the lack of a national definition of what exactly “quality” entails some libraries have worked out their own definition that they use when making decisions regarding media purchases. The representatives didn’t think that a national definition was needed and that and under the current configuration the libraries have more manoeuvrability and can apply their professional competence to a higher degree.
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