Cultural practices and libraries in Paris

Librarians do not read surveys on cultural practices from the view point of cultural theorists or disinterested observers; their point of view is determined by the nature of the site they work in. They begin by making comparisons. They try to tell which aspects are the result of general attitudes and global developments and which are the result of a particular set of local circumstances. They also try to identify the aspects that can be put to pragmatic use in building the libraries of the future. Jean-Claude Utard draws on a number of concrete examples to illustrate his argument: internal and external factors both come into play in Paris libraries, while changing cultural attitudes between the generations mean far-reaching changes are on the cards for libraries.