Library services in a federal multi-lingual and democratic community : the Swiss example
Very little information is available about Swiss libraries and librarianship in English language text books and periodicals. While this study hopes to partly remedy this situation. it also intends to present a case study , or model, of library services in a federal, multi-lingual and democratic community which may serve as a basis for further investigations and comparative studies. The first two chapters of this thesis are devoted to a survey of the historical development of Switzerland and its libraries throughout their recorded history. and to an examination of the political. socio-economic and cultural developments which have taken place and have exerted a significant influence on Swiss library development. Seven chapters are devoted to an examination and discussion of recent developments in all types of library that offer at least a minimum of service to the public. Libraries that do not grant public access to their collections on any basis at all have not been included in this study, nor have archives and documentation centres. The investigation of modern Swiss library services focuses on the period mid-1960's to early 1980's. Special emphasis is placed on communal and cantonal library services and on their inter-relations. Chapter seven, which is three times as long as the average chapter and has been placed in the centre of this thesis, explores the problems, challenges and achievements of library provision at communal level in each of the twenty-six Swiss cantons. The Swiss Library Supply Agency, which played a major role in the development of communal libraries, is appraised in a separate chapter. The study concludes with two chapters devoted to an examination of the role of the major professional associations concerned with Swiss librarianship, and with a survey of library education at different levels. A final chapter is devoted to an appraisal of libraries and librarianship in Switzerland around 1980 and is followed by a bibliography of 922 entries.