Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Information Science and Technology


Barbara Kwasnik


Namibia, New Institutional Theory, Public Libraries, World Society Theory

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science


This dissertation is a study of library use in a poor neighborhood in Windhoek, Namibia, to understand the diffusion of public libraries around the world. I used a sociological approach and the Extended Case Method (Burawoy, 1991; 1998). Two theories framed the research: World Society Theory (Meyer et al. 1997) and New Institutional Theory (Powell and DiMaggio, 1991). World Society Theory was developed from evidence of similarities in governmental, health and educational organizations globally that demonstrates the growth of a world culture based on a rationalistic and scientific approach to knowledge. The findings show that international notions of public libraries do influence national and local notions of them. Local and national notions of the library also have influence, however, and the libraries are ultimately an amalgamation of local and international notions, reflecting in part the needs of the community for education and self-development.


Open Access