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Public Libraries in the 21st Century
by Ann Prentice

Public Libraries in the 21st Century provides an up-to-date picture of what the public library is today, what the public librarian needs to know, and how to apply that knowledge. The book offers a thought-provoking exploration of the social, political, economic, cultural, and technological influences that determine the role of the public library in our society. It also looks at ways in which that role continues to change to meet new challenges, while always keeping true to the mission of bringing people and information together.

Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, the library reinvented and repositioned itself to be a force for people and their interaction with information. To illuminate that process, the book outlines the history and purpose of the public library. Issues of leadership, planning, decision making, organizing, and staffing are discussed, as is the impact of technology on how the library is managed and how it serves the community.

This book helps readers explore how public librarians have reinvented the ways they bring people and information together to meet 21st-century challenges.

Public librarians are beginning to find that visits to their websites are exceeding visits to the physical library and that library users include both virtual and physical locations, depending on their needs, interests, and ease of access. That is only one of the many changes that mark the brave new world of the library in the 21st century.

· Shows how public librarians have taken advantage of research, information technology, and new approaches to service to reposition itself as a true center of the community
· Tells the story of the public library and how it continues to be the place where everyone can learn something new that will improve their lives
· Shows that the public library is a leader in innovative ways of bringing people and information together
· A history of the public library in the United States as context for the study
· Illustrations depicting different ways to organize a library

Prentice, Ann. Public Libraries in the 21st Century. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2010. 120 pp.

9781591588535 $50.