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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS070025)

Bunko in Japan: Studying the Trends of Bunko Operation and the Attitude of Bunko Operators
No.70, p.25-54
Issue date

Purpose: Bunko is a private activity providing library services for children, which is unique to Japan. After the World War II, the activity spread rapidly all over the country. The purpose of this study is to survey current situation of the Bunko activity in Japan and to examine how its operators (i.e., persons responsible for it)feel the activity.

Methods: In May 2010, questionnaires were sent to the operators of Bunko activities and valid 528 responses were obtained finally. The responses were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.

Results: Findings show that the number of organizations working as Bunko has decreased. The operators in the organizations are aging and their number is decreasing, which affects quality of the activity in terms of its facility and book collection, remarkably in the Bunko operated at private homes. Also, all of three core elements for the Bunko activity such as ‘place’,‘books’ and‘mission’are not always succeeded when its operator was exchanged, and only one or two of them tend to be kept continuously, which is a feature of Bunko activity. In particular, books are an important element for keeping the activity. Sometimes a person who suspended the activity at one place continues it at another location. As for the motivation and reasons for engaging in Bunko activity, it turned out that their belief in the value of ‘children’s books’,‘children’ and ‘an act of handing books to children’ were main incentive to sustain Bunko activity. In addition, 16 characteristics were found from the Bunko operators’w ttitudes. These characteristics were categorized into four concepts: relationship with children, one’s own lifestyle, relationship with others, and recognition of the role of Bunko activity and that of the operators’.

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