Small public libraries as publishers

Dijana Sabolović-Krajina, Public Library „Fran Galović“ in Koprivnica

Public libraries all over the world have a long tradition of publishing activities with wide range of topics and formats. In this presentation we would like to turn attention to fact that not only large, but also small public libraries are successful in publishing. The aim is to give insight into functioning of vivid publishing activities of small public libraries in the library network of the Koprivnica-Križevci County in the Republic of Croatia. Among five public libraries, three of them are publishers. The largest of them serves population of 30,000 inhabitants, the medium serves population of 20,000 inhabitants, but the third one which serves population of only 5,000 inhabitants is the most engaged in publishing. Publishing activities of those public libraries are connected with the local circumstances, where they substitute the lack of other publisher(s) interested in various specific, mainly homeland topics – local librarianship, history, art, linguistic, literature, poetry, geology, local myths and legends, style of living, tradition, etc.

Despite publishing is not their core business, all of mentioned public libraries use it as a tool in: (i) protecting and promoting richness of local cultural heritage, (ii) contributing to library collections with specific local topics, (iii) empowering local identity, (iv) positioning themselves better as important culture, education and information centres of their local community worth to invest in (v) creating new, added value of libraries in society.

The publishing profiles, topics, and formats will be stressed, as well as creativity of these public libraries to find finances in alliances with private and public sectors. The models how they use print and digital opportunities in publishing will be shown to illustrate that publishing activities does not primarily depend on type, size and financial means of libraries, but on library policy and strategic orientation that include also publishing activities as a business model.