Recent thesis on libraries and peacebuilding

A Bacheloroppgave (bachelor’s thesis) on libraries and peacebuilding, by Natalia Bermudez Qvortrup, has recently been accepted by the Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus, Institutt for arkiv-, bibliotek- og informasjonsfag, in Oslo, Norway. The title is “Libraries and peacebuilding: the role of public libraries in post-conflict societies: a systematic review”.  Here is the abstract:

The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the roles of libraries in postconflict societies. It analyses the roles that public libraries have taken on to help re-build postconflict societies after the 1980s. This paper systematically categorises the collected information in a theoretical framework, which combines John Paul Lederach’s theories of peacebuilding, and Peter Lor’s concept of a scale of library roles in peacebuilding. Searches were carried out in seven different databases. 48 papers were identified, of which only 22 fit the initial criteria and only 16 fit the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) criteria. These articles show that there are roughly nine roles libraries take on in post-conflict societies, all of which can be directly or indirectly implemented for peacebuilding. The results show that there is a difference between countries and continents in their approach to, and their levels of interest in, peacebuilding. Some articles demonstrate that tensions and conflicts escalate when communities do not have access to libraries or information. On the whole, there is insufficient research measuring the impact of libraries that have taken on a direct role in peacebuilding. Theoretically, however, many of the core library roles fulfil the necessary requirements for successful peacebuilding implementation approaches, yet have been completely overlooked in the peacebuilding field.

For those interested in libraries and peace, this is a systematic and useful piece of work and well worth looking at. It is available online at: I congratulate Natalia and hope that she will follow this up with further research on this topic.


About Peter Lor

Peter Johan Lor is a Netherlands-born South African librarian and academic. In retirement he continues to pursue scholarly interests as a research fellow in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
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1 Response to Recent thesis on libraries and peacebuilding

  1. Many thanks for bringing this very interesting thesis to light, Peter. Natalia’s work has relevance in post-conflict Timor-Leste, where much work is underway to preserve historical records. It would be interesting to investigate the role of specialist archives and libraries attached to bodies such as truth commissions.

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