The influence of community demographics on new public library facilities


The location of a public library is critical to information access. Previous research suggests that public libraries closures disproportionately affect poor and ethnic communities, thus limiting their access to information. Using GIS technology, library location, and county-level Census data, we examine where libraries open facilities, in order to determine whether libraries make equitable opening decisions. Our results suggest that public library outlet openings also occur in locations that are accessible to poor and ethnic communities. After isolating rural libraries, however, we find that new library outlets tend to go in less diverse areas. This suggests that access to resources is limited, and deliberate choices may be made about who ultimately benefits from tax-funded services. Copyright is retained by the authors.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting

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