Public Libraries as Agonistic Spaces: At the Crossroads of Librarianship and Contemporary Artistic Practices

Irena Bekić, Petra Dolanjski



The paper deals with the possibilities of engaged interdisciplinary activity implemented at the crossroads of librarianship and contemporary art practices. By relying on the theoretical concepts on which critical librarianship is based on the one hand, and contemporary art on the other hand, a possibility is shown of their interference with the aim to introduce a critical perspective within librarianship through art and to establish a new methodology at the crossroads of the two disciplines. The aforementioned is demonstrated in the paper through the coexistence and activity of S. S. Kranjčević Library and Prozori Gallery (Zagreb City Libraries), the programmatic and curatorial concept of which deals with the questions of the manner in which the theoretical positions of contemporary art and their practical and discursive analysis can contribute to the visibility, importance, and cultural capital of the library, the library profession, and the encouragement of critical attitude within the framework of information and communication sciences, the branch of which being librarianship, with emphasis on the project “Uncertain Interventions: LGBTIQ Users in Public Libraries” as a case study. Finally, the paper introduces the concept of libraries as agonistic public spaces.


critical librarianship; contemporary art; LGBTIQ; interdisciplinarity; agonistic space

Full Text:




Accardi, Maria. 2013. Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Accardi, Maria, Emily Drabinsky and Alana Kumbier, ed. 2010. Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Barbarić, Ana and Aleksandra Pikić. 2017. “LGBTIQ osobe – vidljivi ili nevidljivi korisnici hrvatskih knjižnica?” In: Inovativna knjižnica u službi lokalne zajednice: zbornik radova, edited by Davorka Pšenica and Annemari Štimac, pp. 59-69. Zagreb: Croatian Library Association.

Buschman, John and Michael Carbone. 1991. “A Critical Inquiry into Librarianship: Applications of the New Sociology of Education.” In: The Library Quarterly 61, no. 1: pp. 15-40.

Carr, David. 2006. A Place Not a Place: Reflection and Possibility in Museums and Libraries. Oxford: Altamira Press.

Cheinman, Ksenia. 2014. “Creating Alternative Art Libraries.” In: Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 33, no. 1: pp. 41-58.

Dolanjski, Petra. 2017. “Silvio Vujičić: Flowerworks”. In Prozori 17, edited by Irena Bekić, 42–45. Zagreb: Knjižnice grada Zagreba.

Elmborg, James. 2006. “Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice.” In The Journal of Academic Librarianship 32, no. 2: pp. 192-199.

Belan-Simić, Alemka and Aleksandra Horvat, ed. 2002. Slobodan pristup informacijama u službi kulturnog razvitka: zbornik radova. Zagreb: Croatian Library Association.

Harris, Michael. 1972. The Purpose of the American Public Library in Historical Perspective: A Revisionist Interpretation. ERIC, ED 0710668.

Harris, Michael. 1986. “The Dialectic of Defeat: Antimonies in Research in Library and Information Science,” In: Library Trends 34 (3): pp. 515-531.

Hibert, Mario. 2014. “Kritička (informacijska) pismenost: ka pedagogiji jaza.” In: Informacijska tehnologija u obrazovanju, edited by Jadranka Lasić-Lazić, pp. 191-222. Zagreb: Institute for Information Studies.

Holmes, Brian. 2012. “Eventwork: The Fourfold Matrix of Contemporary Social Movements.” In: Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011, edited by Nato Thompson, pp. 72-85. New York: The MIT Press

IFLA. 2011. “IFLA-ine smjernice za narodne knjižnice.” 2nd Croatian edition (in accordance with 2nd revised original edition), edited by Christie Koontz and Barbara Gubbin. Zagreb: Croatian Library Association.

IFLA and UNESCO. 1994. “IFLA-in i UNESCO-ov Manifest za narodne knjižnice.” In: “IFLA-ine smjernice za narodne knjižnice.” 2nd Croatian edition (in accordance with 2nd revised original edition), edited by Christie Koontz and Barbara Gubbin, pp. 105–107. Zagreb: Croatian Library Association, 2011.

IFLA. 2013. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Users Special Interest Group. [cited on: 2017-01-30]. Available at:

Katunarić, Vjeran. 1990. “Uvod u teoriju društva Frankfurtske škole.” In: Teorija društva u Frankfurtskoj školi, edited by Vjeran Katunarić, pp. 7-128. Zagreb: Naprijed.

IFLA. 2018. “What Comes after the 'Third Place'? Visionary Libraries – Spaces and Users.” Last modified on: January 30, 2018.

“Kazneni Zakon: redakcijski pročišćeni tekst: s napomenama uz pojedine odredbe i pojmovnim kazalom.” 2013. Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia 125/11 and 144/12/. Zagreb: Novi informator.

Laclau, Ernesto and Chantal Mouffe. 2005. “Predgovor drugom izdanju knjige Hegemonija i socijalistička strategija.” In Diskrepancija: studentski časopis za društveno-humanističke teme, vol. 6, no. 10: pp. 55-64.

Levinas, Emmanuel. 1976. Totalitet i beskonačno: ogled o izvanjskosti. Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša.

Mehra, Bharat and Kevin Rioux, ed. 2016. Progressive Community Action: Critical Theory and Social Justice in Library and Information Science. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press.

Mouffe, Chantal. 2008. “Umjetnički aktivizam i agonistički prostori.” In Operacija grad: priručnik za život u neoliberalnoj stvarnosti, edited by Leonardo Kovačević et al., pp. 220-230. Zagreb: Alliance for the Centre for Independent Culture and Youth, Multimedia Institute, Platforma 9,81 – Institute for Research in Architecture, BLOK – Local Base for Cultural Refreshment, SU Klubtura / Clubture

Milković, Marina. 2013. Brutalna stvarnost: Istraživanje o nasilju, diskriminaciji i zločinu iz mržnje protiv LGBTIQ osoba u Republici Hrvatskoj. Zagreb: Zagreb Pride.


NSK. 2018. “9. savjetovanje za narodne knjižnice u Republici Hrvatskoj.” Last modified on: January 30, 2018.

Radford, Gary. P. 1998. “Flaubert, Foucault, and the Bibliotheque Fantastique: Toward a Postmodern Epistemology for Library Science.” In: Library Trends, vol. 46, no. 4: pp. 616-634.

Rancière, Jacques. 2009. Aesthetics and Its Discontents. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Schroeder, Robert and Christopher V. Hollister. 2014. “Librarian's Views on Critical Theories and Critical Practices.” In: Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, vol. 33, no. 2: pp. 1-29.

Thompson, Nato, ed. 2012. Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011. New York: MIT Press.

“Zakon o ravnopravnosti spolova: redakcijski pročišćeni tekst Zakona.” 2017. Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia 82/08, 69/17. Zagreb: Government of the Republic of Croatia, Vlada Republike Hrvatske, Gender Equality Office.

“Zakon o suzbijanju diskriminacije.” 2008. Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia 85/2008. (accessed on: May 15, 2018.)

“Zakon o životnom partnerstvu osoba istog spola.” Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia 92/14. (accessed on: May 16, 2018.)


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Libellarium (Online). ISSN 1846-9213 © 2008


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.