Place et images des langues étrangères dans les bibliothèques municipales françaises : un cas pour les sciences de l'information.

Abstract : Initiated and informed by years of professional experience dedicated to providing foreign language resources in a French public library, this research questions the positioning of the library as an institution anchored in the principle of equal access to public service, in the context of a decline in both attendance and enrolment as well as that of increased international migration and multilingualism. The argument focuses on the transformation of practice and professional representation generated by the introduction of foreign language material in France's municipal libraries and questions the notions of “general public,” “information,” and “institutional positioning.” A quantitative survey assesses the size of the phenomenon. The qualitative survey analyses observations collected during face-to-face interviews with professionals, with non-library users as well as with elected representatives responsible for overseeing public libraries. Results reveal a real, albeit limited evolution: while numerous libraries now provide resources in foreign languages, such offers remain small in terms of both volume and value. They also highlight a lack of understanding of the nature and expectations of target audiences, the disruption of professional practice and representation generated by the acknowledgment of language as one of the criteria to shape the offer of resources, the transformation of the positioning of public librarians, of audiences and, more generally, of an institution not yet substantially involved in the field of foreign languages. In conclusion, the results show that this question goes beyond the sole decision-making power of public libraries themselves and falls more broadly in the remit of territorial and national authorities. Whether the development of foreign language resources in French public libraries is merely a passing shadow or, on the contrary, a significant evolution remains to be determined.
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Laurence Marion Lhuillier. Place et images des langues étrangères dans les bibliothèques municipales françaises : un cas pour les sciences de l'information.. Sciences de l'information et de la communication. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENL001⟩. ⟨tel-00808999⟩

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