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Mediations 3.3: Jennifer Robinson
November 29, 2013 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Jennifer Robinson presents… Service: The Synergy between the Servers and the Served
Respondents: Yimin Chen and Zac Bronson
Purpose – This paper examines how ideas about what service is and should be have changed in the public library setting and speculates on the impact of these ideas on public libraries as organizations, as well as their staff and users.
Findings –A working definition of service entails librarians helping patrons through resources in hopes of meeting aspirational goals while adhering to an institutional qualitative/quantitative system of measurement integrated with a professional philosophy. Contested elements of service include: the disputed aim of service as a humanist principle, the derogated server as a professional exercising judgment, and the dissolved served as a collective interest. These aspects develop in the public library field as the commercial reconstruction of value (action – service) which redefines the role of the human intermediary (actor – librarian) and the locus of impact is the relationship between the user (actor – patron) and institution (interaction – political economy of the library).
Originality/value –A comprehensive review of the dense literature articulates coherent structures and patterns to help practitioners understand and re-imagine the service model.