chapter  8
26 Pages

Libraries and Museums as Breeding Grounds of Social Capital and Creativity: Potential and Challenges in the Post-socialist Context

Recent decades have witnessed profound changes in the theory and practice of library and museum management, which has gone beyond the traditional tasks of gathering, storing and displaying exhibits or borrowing books (Vergo, 1989; Black, 2012; Edwards et al., 2013; Svendsen, 2013). In their attempt to develop a more attractive offer, many public cultural institutions strive to increase their visibility and engagement in local communities. Growing numbers of them are redefining their mission in response to the changing expectations of audiences and the public authorities financing them (Building Futures, 2004; Scott, 2003; Sandell and Nightingale, 2012). Contemporary museum visitors expect not only longer opening hours, but also more possibilities for exploration with family and friends, to encounter new people, to engage in educational and leisure activities or even to actively participate in developing museum narratives (Kelly and Gordon, 2002; Kinghorn and Willis, 2008). Similarly, libraries are evolving towards a ‘third place’ (Elmborg, 2011) where one can not only study or borrow a book, but also be entertained, meet both old friends and new people, and drink coffee (Harris, 2007; Edwards et al., 2013).