Libraries, archives, and museums as key pillars of modern European democratic societies?
How do public Libraries, Archives and Museums (LAMs) succeed in their mission to be key pillars of the European democratic societies? What are their challenges and successes in these missions?
We ague that LAMs at a local level are crucial in these matters. Thus, we focus on LAMs’ work and engagement in their communities with a particular interest in present issues such as activism, post-neutrality, and sustainable development.
Public libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) have played a significant role in establishing and maintaining European liberal democracies. Ideally, public LAMs are promotors of democracy, known as providers of trustworthy information and available to all people regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, age, disabilities, political opinion, and faith. In the perfect world, LAMs promote engaged, informed, and empowered citizens in the active civil society.
However, present-day Europe faces a widespread critique of the foundations of deliberative democracy. Europe sees increased anti-globalist movements, polarizations between rural and urban population groups, regional conflicts, and nationalism, sometimes fueled by populist political philosophies disregarding fundamental democratic norms. These characteristics result in new social and cultural divisions between communities and complicate the ideas and values of openness, pluralism, tolerance, and non-discrimination. Several of these challenges require actions that the LAMs have traditionally been providing, particularly open access to information and knowledge, freedom of speech, safe discussion space, and stable, accountable, and inclusive institutions.
We will explore how public LAMs handle today’s pertinent challenges of technological, political, and social changes. How are these institutions succeeding in their mission to be key pillars of the European democratic societies? What are their challenges and successes in these missions?
We argue that local LAMs should be seen together to enhance further the outcome and impact of building democracy, citizen engagement, and public-participation across Europe, and we focus on LAMs’ work and engagement in their communities with a particular interest in present issues such as activism, post-neutrality, and sustainable development.
|Eckerdal, Johanna Rivano||Associate professor|
|Engström, Lisa||Associate professor|
|Clavier, Berndt||Senior lecturer|
|Vengerfeldt, Pille Pruulmann||Professor|