Spanish media coverage of public libraries and reading compared to other cultural institutions and practices : measures to promote and disseminate libraries and reading

Objectives. First, the article compares the Spanish media coverage of public libraries and reading with its coverage of other cultural institutions, such as cinemas, museums and theatres. Secondly, the article analyzes the relationship between making public libraries more visible in the media and increasing their use (both in terms of visits and loans per inhabitant). Finally, some proposals are made about how to take greater advantage of public libraries. These are based on the relationship between public libraries and reading, the field of librarianship and documentation, and politics and the media.

Methodology. For the first objective, the researchers used the database MyNews to obtain the number of news items on the cultural institutions considered. This was then compared to the total number of institutions as places or physical units. For the second objective, the researchers analyzed the relationship between the total number of news items per 50,000 inhabitants for the Spanish autonomous Communities and public library visits and loans per inhabitant. This analysis took into account the results of the autonomous communities for the variables and calculated the linear correlation coefficient between the variables.

Results. Public libraries receive a low level of coverage in the Spanish media compared to other cultural institutions, even to the point where they are hardly covered at all, although there are more public libraries than cinemas, museums and theatres. On the other hand, there is a positive relationship between greater media visibility of public libraries, and increases in library loans and visits. From there, the researchers present the idea of the positive feedback between the field of librarianship and documentation, public libraries and reading, the media and politics, proposing that greater visibility of public libraries in the Spanish media could increase library loans and visits.