A Political Economy of Librarianship?
No profession concerned with the administration of a public institution, such as the library, can ignore the need to pursue serious research into the politico-economic sphere of public policy. Understanding the enduring link between economics and politics is crucial to understanding the current political realm of librarianship. Achieving this understanding is the reason for the need to develop a political economy of librarianship. Currently, the primary attention librarians give to politics and economics is political advocacy for the purpose of generating enhanced funding of libraries. Such advocacy is admittedly very important and librarians have become increasingly sophisticated at doing it. However, I assert that librarians need to devote more effort researching the political and economic dynamics that define the past and current environment of libraries. Libraries are the creation and instrument of public policy derived from political processes. Understanding these processes includes appreciating the connection between the polity and the economy. This connection between the polity and economy defines the political realm of the library and the basis for this paper’s claim that there is a need to develop a political economy of librarianship.