Buchalteria ducha. O statystyce bibliotecznej
BEAN-COUNTING OF SPIRIT. ABOUT LIBRARIAN STATISTICS
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Sociopolitical transformations in Poland affect every aspect of life, changing the social structures and forms of participation in culture. They coincide with fast technological advancement, and both processes have to be reflected in the statistics. Unfortunately, cultural statistics in Poland became petrified twenty years ago. This fact touches profoundly on library statistics, which in its current form ignores the new needs of users. In particular, it doesn’t respond to the questions asked by the ministries and other state offices. These institutions fund the libraries’ activity, and so have the right to know something regarding the efficiency of their public spending. It is widely accepted that the modern library should perform not only the role of an access point for books, but also the function of a cultural institution. The latter signifies that libraries have to offer new services (e.g.: animation workshops, homework clubs, technological counseling). We believe that statistics serve not only to describe the libraries’ reality, but also to influence the decisions made by the libraries’ directors. The new aspects introduced into statistical form offer the possibility of promoting across the library management body new solutions to preserve the existence of the library itself and to position its role in the new cultural, technological and social landscape. This publication is a proposition for the adaptation of the anachronistic current state of library statistics to respond to the questions posed by the the government and by scientists of many disciplines (sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, library and information science). It will permit us to introduce all the necessery library policies and redefine the scopes of the library’s services. The importance of library statistics is often underrated, but we can say with certainty: there is no other instrument for observing so precisely the changes in the cultural life of the country. The library chain covers all the communes and municipalities. The library doesn’t demand special qualification of the user (in contrast to theaters and museums). All users are required to fill out the entrance form, giving specific information about their education, age, profession etc. The reconstruction of library statistics is crucial to the understanding and registration of cultural participation of the country’s population.
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