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ZolfagharZadeh M M, Zackery A, Gilani Nezhad F Z, Sedaghat Baghbani S, Nasrolahi H, Miari S. Future Scenarios of Iran's Public Libraries Based on Futures Workshops for Selected Librarians, Managers and Members. Research on Information Science & Public Libraries. 2021; 26 (4) :751-785
URL: http://publij.ir/article-1-2224-en.html
faculty of management, University of Tehran , Zolfaghar@ut.ac.ir
Abstract:   (823 Views)
Purpose: Nowadays, public libraries are going through a critical period and turning point, a time when from one hand and based on the environmental trends affecting them, can be a sign of their future elimination, or on the other hand if they enjoy an accurate picture of the future and adopt appropriate strategies, can provide them with a renewed vital opportunity. This issue is related to the necessity of addressing the future of public libraries with an alternative approach which is usually pursued in futures studies.
Method: In the present study, by focusing on the scenario planning method and the Global Business Network approach to it, the effective environmental trends in the future of public libraries have been identified, and then, by using the method of futures workshops with a participatory action research approach and as well as the views of a selected group of librarians, administrators and active members of libraries, possible future scenarios of Iran public libraries have been mapped. Due to the existing restrictions, these workshops were held in the provinces of Tehran, Mazandaran and Fars (two workshops) based on the degree of libraries, and a workshop was also held for the managers and staff. 
Findings: In each workshop, five groups designed totally 25 categories of fourfold-scenario based on the choice of two key uncertainties. The research team reached four scenarios through integrating and refining the groups' mentalities, based on the crossing between two high-frequency uncertainties: 1) manner of centralized or decentralized governance 2) the central role of book or 'User experience'. 'Info feed', 'Book pool', 'Info digging' and 'Book mall' are the titles of these four scenarios. The first uncertainty concerns the focus or lack of focus on decision-making, policy-making, planning and implementation in Iran's public libraries, which also affects their financial, budgetary and economic dimensions, such as their expenditure and income patterns. The question which the second uncertainty begs is whether libraries will remain in their current state, which is based solely on books, or whether they will move towards creating a new customer experience? The first integrated scenario, entitled 'Info feed', describes empirical libraries in the realm of state governance. The second integrated scenario, called 'Book pool', and depicts a book-oriented library in a state-governed environment. The third integrated scenario, called 'Info digging' and describes a privately owned empirical library. The fourth integrated scenario, called 'Book mall', depicts a book-based library which operates in a space dominated by the private sector.
Originality/value: Those studies thus far conducted in the field of the future of public libraries, especially in Iran, which have used the scenario approach, have not yet applied the workshop approach and participatory action research, which were used in this research.
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Type of Study: qualitative | Subject: Management Studies
Received: 2020/08/16 | Accepted: 2020/10/14 | Published: 2021/02/28 | ePublished: 2021/02/28

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