Inviting and/or inclusive: A study of the Flemish public library sector.

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Comparing the results of two large-scale user surveys conducted in Flanders in 2004 and 2018 shows that the Flemish public library sector has successfully adapted to challenging circumstances, such as increasing budgetary stringency and the pervasive digitalization of society. However, it is also clear that attendance numbers have decreased in Flemish public libraries in the last two decades, especially among visitors with lower education levels, which is cause for concern. In this article, the authors present an overview of exploratory analyses that try to ascertain how many of the public libraries that took part in their study were considered to be significantly more (or less) ‘inviting’ by specific subgroups (age, gender, education level, etc.) of the visiting public. Moreover, regression analyses are presented, showing which library characteristics have a positive effect on the attendance of two under-represented groups among Flemish library users: men and the lower educated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIFLA Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • User survey
  • inclusion
  • invitingness
  • education level
  • effectiveness


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