The public library as a "community facility dedicated to. . .service to everyone" is finding it impossible to meet the increasing demands made by a varied and shifting clientele—students require more space, more copies of books, more specialized services; educators wish to exploit the public library as a means of improving the educational and cultural opportunities of low-income groups; sophisticated industrial complexes demand high-level reference services and research resources; general readers want to retain the traditional image of the public library as a "refuge for the bookworm and the browser." Each of the distinguished contributors to this volume has dealt with an issue directly related to his or her own field of specilization, providing insights into the educational, cultural, demographic, political, and financial aspects of the urban public library.
This book serves as an important beginning point in a necessary re-examination of the role of the public library in a changing urban scene and should prove to be basic reading for the librarian, the library administrator, and the sociologist. The book will also be of value to social and political scientists, city planners, and economists who are concerned with the character of cities and the future of libraries whose milieu is the city.