Folkbibliotek i coronakris : tillgänglighet, legitimitet och förväntningar under covid-19-pandemin
Sammanfattning: In this Master’s thesis we examine why public libraries, in different municipalities in the same city region, have chosen to make different decisions regarding the libraries accessibility during the covid-19 pandemic. These institutions are forced to show evidence of adaptability and competence to handle a situation of an unpredictable crisis with rapid turns and major consequences as a result. The inertia that defines institutions becomes interesting when its paths cross with the rapidly changing pandemic we are now living in. The municipalities we have chosen for this study all have similar levels of infection amongst the residents, and they all operate under the same regional politics, but they also have dissimilarities. Some of the municipalities are urban and some are more of a suburban or rural character. Half of the municipalities organize their public libraries in “culture and leisure”-commitiées and the other half organize their public libraries in a more narrow culture-committée. To investigate why the municipalities have made different decisions regarding accessibility, we have performed qualitative interviews with seven library managers from six different municipalities. We’ve used three research questions in this thesis. The questions read as follows: 1. What decisions have the public library managers made, in the examined municipalities, regarding keeping the library open and accessible during the covid-19 pandemic, and what kind of consequences did the decisions have? 2. How do the public library managers speak about and work with accessibility during the covid-19 pandemic? 3. Do library managers experience contradictory expectations regarding accessibility from politicians and the public, if so how does that affect the libraries accessibility-work during the pandemic? Our interview-form has brought up questions about organization, library closings, pandemic restrictions, decision making, how the managers interpret accessibility, among other things. To analyze our results we have used an ethnomethodological approach to our empirical data. We have studied how our informants express themselves and looked for norms and underlying expectations from the surrounding community and municipal organization to see why they interpret accessibility the way they do and how that affects the way that they act in the pandemic. Our interview questions and research questions are informed by neo institutional theory. The neo institutional theory is our central theoretical approach to our material. Central theoretical concepts used to conduct our analysis are organisation, systems, institutional logics and social legitimacy. Our results show a region with little to no coordination during the covid-19 pandemic. We have also shown a similarity in the way that the library managers understand and interpret accessibility. The true dissimilarity lies in the surrounding municipal organizations understanding and interpretation of the concept of accessibility. Library organisations that face contradictory expectations from the public and the municipal executive committée have a harder time to make the library service accessible during the covid-19-pandemic. In the case that the library organisation and the surrounding municipal organisation represent different institutional logics, the library organisation struggles to achieve social legitimacy. Our results have also shown that municipal organizations that keep the decision making “in line” and near the library organizations are less keen to close their public libraries.
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