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三田図書館・情報学会誌論文(論文ID LIS017153)

The Development of Public Libraries in Post-War Japan
No.17, p.153-181

After a long period of depression, public libraries in Japan have been developing rapidly since mid-60s. The aim of this paper is to analyze the tendencies of the development, and the factors prompting them.

Data are taken from Nippon no toshokan (Annual statistics on libraries in Japan). Four measures are selected to represent library activities: number of libraries, number of holdings, number of acquisitions, and number of circulations. Data are summed up and analyzed on prefectural base to get an outline of the development, in the years of 1955, 1965, 1970, and 1975, each representing pre-, beginning of, mid-, and present stage of the development. Two indicators are used to analyze the development: permillage――indicator of geographic distribution――, and growth rate.

Results are as follows:

(i) There is a change of tendencies in the development of public libraries in mid-60s.

(ii) Two new tendencies are recognized――a tendency toward acceleration of the development and a tendency toward concentration of the development in particular prefectures.

(iii) The tendency toward acceleration is more obvious in number of acquisitions and number of circulations than number of libraries and number of holdings, showing that the development is caused by a large investment (i.e. acquisitions) in relatively small number of libraries, rather than by the construction of many libraries.

(iv) Acceleration in number of acquisitions precedes the development.

(v) Tendency toward concentration is caused by the rapid growth of libraries in metropolitan prefectures.

(vi) The growth of libraries in eight metropolitan prefectures explains more than half of the growth in number of libraries and holdings, and almost all of the growth in number of acquisitions and circulations.

(vii) As a result, an alteration of generations is now going from traditional high level prefectures to metropolitans.

‘An alteration of generations’ means that public libraries in Japan now started modernization, that this modernization is accomplished by a large investment of acquisitions in small number of metropolitan prefectures, and so results in the ever widening geographical gaps as regards public libraries.

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