1st Edition

Public Libraries and Marxism

By Joe Pateman, John Pateman Copyright 2021
    128 Pages
    by Routledge

    128 Pages
    by Routledge

    Public Libraries and Marxism provides a Marxist analytical framework for understanding public libraries and presents a set of proposals for transforming the capitalist libraries of today.

    Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of this Marxist framework, the authors also provide a critical examination of the history, theory and practice of libraries in the Soviet Union and North Korea. Considering what a Marxist library service would look like in the Western capitalist countries of today, Pateman and Pateman synthesise the insights provided throughout the book into a set of Marxist proposals designed to promote the transformation of contemporary Western public librarianship. These proposals suggest how Western public libraries can change their organisation and practices – their strategies, structures, systems and culture – in order to best serve those with the most needs, particularly as society evolves in response to new challenges.

    Public Libraries and Marxism will be relevant for scholars and students of library and information science, history, politics and sociology. Outlining the rudiments of a Marxist library service that should be applicable around the world, the book will also appeal to library practitioners who want to develop libraries in a community-led and needs-based direction.

    Acknowledgements; Chapter 1: Introduction; Chapter 2: The Marxist Interpretation of the Public Library; Chapter 3: V. I. Lenin and Soviet Socialist Public Library System; Chapter 4: Kim Il-Sung and Socialist Public Libraries in North Korea; Chapter 5: The Vanguard Library; Chapter 6: Conclusion; Index.


    Joe Pateman is a doctoral candidate in politics at the University of Nottingham, UK. Joe’s research interests include Marxism-Leninism, democratic theory and the political economy of race. Joe is the co-author of Managing Cultural Change in Public Libraries: Marx, Maslow, and Management (2019, Routledge).

    John Pateman is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Librarian of Thunder Bay Public Library in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He was previously Head of Libraries in Hackney, Merton and Lincolnshire in the UK. He is the joint author of Public Libraries and Social Justice (2010, Routledge), Developing Community Led Public Libraries (2013, Routledge) and Managing Cultural Change in Public Libraries: Marx, Maslow, and Management (2019, Routledge).