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Title: Libraries and the geography of use: how does geography and asset “attractiveness” influence the local dimensions of cultural participation?
Authors: Delrieu, Varina
Gibson, Lisanne
First Published: 6-Jan-2017
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Cultural Trends (2017) pp. 1-16
Abstract: The project “Understanding Everyday Participation – Articulating Cultural Values” (2012–2018) explores the ways in which the “situatedness” of participation is an important factor in understanding the socio-political dynamics of cultural participation [Miles, A., & Gibson, L. (2016). Everyday participation and cultural value. Cultural Trends, 25(3), 151–157]. This paper on the geography of library use is an early presentation of ongoing research which seeks to understand the impact of geography and asset “attractiveness” on particular kinds of cultural participation. Many studies have focused on traditional “push” factors to participation, understanding attendance and participation in their various forms through individual- and household-level demographic and socio-economic characteristics [e.g. Bennett, T., Savage, M., Silva, E., Warde, A., Gayo, M., & Wright, D. (2009). Culture, class, distinction. London: Routledge]. However, a number of recent studies have also revealed the significant effects of supply and proximity on participation [Brook, O. (2013). Reframing models of arts attendance: Understanding the role of access to a venue. The case of opera in London. Cultural Trends, 22(2), 97–107; Brook, O. (2016). Spatial equity and cultural participation: How access influences attendance at museums and galleries in London. 25(1), 12–34; Widdop, P., & Cutts, D. (2012). Impact of place on museum participation. Cultural Trends, 21(1), 47–66; Hooper-Greenhill, E., Phillips, M., & Woodham, A. (2009). Museums, schools and geographies of cultural value. Cultural Trends, 18(2), 149–183]. In this paper, our approach to the geography of cultural participation focuses on the role of what we are terming “pull factors” to participation at specific locales over others. Many forms of participation in socio-cultural activities involve a level of spatial decision-making, weighing up factors relating to the destination(s), and the time and effort of getting there. How much do these “pull factors” impact on participation, and are they quantifiable? In order to understand if these spatial considerations are an explanatory factor in explaining the socio-demography of library use, we have applied the urban planning concept of trip-chaining and a geographically defined categorisation of asset attractiveness [O’Reilly, N., Berger, I. E., Hernandez, T., Parent, M. M., & Seguin, B. (2015). Urban sportscapes: An environmental deterministic perspective on the management of youth sport participation. Sport Management Review, 18, 291–307.; Thill, J.-C., & Thomas, I. (1987). Toward conceptualizing trip-chaining behavior: A review. Geographical Analysis, 19, 1–17] to reveal the extent to which a library visit is linked to other everyday activities. This paper introduces the preliminary findings of this study which aims to assess the impact of geospatial variables on cultural participation.
DOI Link: 10.1080/09548963.2017.1268331
ISSN: 0954-8963
eISSN: 1469-3690
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Museum Studies

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