Legitimacies, competition, arbitrations (and back again)

What are the reasons why communities decide to invest in their libraries? Starting from the example of the communes, analysis shows that it is the legitimacy accorded to libraries that can lead decision makers to argue in their favour: in effect, it is a matter of deciding between organisations and competing projects (the museum, the swimming pool, the hospital), and thus between competing legitimacies. Arguments along these lines reinforce the validity of the basic central themes of public library development: democratisation and modernisation.