Supply and demand: an example from the United States

Anne-Marie Bertrand sheds new light on the familiar question of supply and demand, proposing a new approach that compares public libraries in the United States and in France. Collections in the States are built up in response to reader requests and the sacrosanct notion of freedom of information. French librarians, on the other hand, tend to see their role as one of expanding, even challenging, the reader’s tastes by introducing them to new works. It is an endless debate, but the difference between the two visions of the library’s role sheds useful light on the specific characteristics of French library holdings.