PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND SOCIAL CAPITAL IN THREE NEW YORK CITY NEIGHBOURHOODS

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

This study uses the social capital concept to explain geographical variation in public library use. Applying Putnam's social capital theory, we examine how social capital in three New York City neighbourhoods affects usage of local branch libraries. A survey was conducted to understand differences in public library use and social capital in the neighbourhoods. Diversity and segregation indices were included as additional measures of social capital. The study found that neighbourhoods with higher levels of social capital, especially bridging social capital, tend to have higher public library use.

Keywords: New York City; Public libraries; neighbourhoods; social capital; survey

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2008.00440.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065., Email: gong@hunter.cuny.edu 2: Drexel University, College of Information Science and Technology, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104., Email: andrea.japzon@drexel.edu 3: Department of Civil Engineering, City College of New York, 140th Street and Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031., Email: c.chen@ccny.cuny.edu

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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