Investigation of Public Libraries Managed by Outsourcing: A Study Focusing on Library Usage, Opening Days, and Directors’ Librarian Qualifications and Workloads

  • Yuhiro Mizunuma SURUGADAI University
  • Keita Tsuji University of Tsukuba
Keywords: : designated administrator system, library management, public libraries


Public libraries in Japan were managed by local governments for a long time. However, in 2003, organizations including private enterprises, NPOs and foundations took over their management with the introduction of an outsourcing system, namely the ‘designated administrator system’. The question of whether this outsourcing system is appropriate for public libraries is a subject of current debate, wherein many argue that it is inappropriate. To provide basic data for this discussion, we conducted a cross-sectional and time series analysis on almost all public libraries in Japan focusing on library usage, number of open days, and director qualifications and workload. The results show that the opening days and percentage of certified directors of public libraries managed by the outsourcing system (‘outsourcing libraries’) was more than those managed by local governments (‘direct management libraries’), whereas the number of Inter-Library Loan (ILL)-borrowings and the number of ILL-lending were more in direct management libraries than in outsourcing libraries. It was also shown that the library usage and open days, as well as the number of certified directors increased after the introduction of the outsourcing system.


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