Analysis of the Strategic Role of Public Libraries in Iran’s Geopolitics of Information

Mahdi Deramnesari, Fahimeh Babalhavaeji, Zahra Abazari, Nadjla Hariri, Fatemeh Nooshinfard

Abstract


The main purpose of this study is to analyze the strategic role of public libraries in Iran’s Geopolitics of Information. This is applied research adopting a mixed-method (qualitative-quantitative) approach. A semi-structured interview was used to collect qualitative information. In the quantitative part, a researcher-made questionnaire was designed based on the results of the qualitative part. The statistical population of the research in the qualitative section included 13 experts and university professors who were selected purposefully based on a set of criteria. The qualitative data were analyzed using the qualitative content analysis method. The findings of the quantitative part were analyzed using factor analysis. The population of the quantitative part included the general managers and deputies of the general administrations of Iran's public libraries (70 people) and the librarians of the provinces that had the central public libraries from five clusters of north, south, east, west, and center of Iran, including 10 provinces and 160 librarians. Some 201 completed questionnaires were received. The findings showed that libraries had an implicit role in strengthening cultural identity and increasing public awareness, especially in strengthening Iranian-Islamic identity, as one of the three main components of geopolitics. However, this role is neither deliberated for a specific mission nor clearly explained in the upstream documents. Moreover, based on the findings, the acquisition of the centralized resources by the Iran Public Libraries Foundation for all public libraries is managed in an integrated manner such that there is not any clear role of user needs in the selection process. This is inconsistent with the Free-Flow of Information approach. The findings also suggested that national policymakers should pay attention to the role of public libraries as a public discourse space in transmitting culture and information and a base for strengthening the power of soft defense, training and explaining the specific role for librarians, developing technological infrastructure of libraries, providing resources based on local needs and the audience needs, continuous and purposeful monitoring of activities, and increasing the number of service recipients from public libraries.

https://dorl.net/dor/ 20.1001.1.20088302.2022.20.1.8.1


Keywords


Geopolitics of information; Cultural identity; Public libraries; Islamic Republic of Iran

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E-ISSN: 2008-8310

   ISSN: 2008-8302