Joseph C. Donohue and Manfred Kochen, "Community information centers: Concepts for analysis and planning," in Manfred Kochen and Joseph C. Donohue, eds., Information for the community (Chicago: American Library Association, 1976), 7-18
The authors begin by outlining and explaining the “information gap” became more pronounced do to the growing complexity of societies, particularly in urban areas, and the changing nature of traditional social patterns. This led to a call to action by several educated idealists, who were trying to make sure that justice was for everyone. Many of these ventures, as well as dire predictions, did not come to pass, but the necessity of providing more information in communities was clear.
As the number of information centers began to rise, so did a need for classifying information services. The main examples provided are classifications by client group or support group, which may overlap. Furthermore, there may be difficulties in how an information service is run, or run by, such as those that are part of the “establishment” and those that are run by volunteers. Numerous information centers were opened in public libraries in the early 1970s.
The remainder of the article outlines concerns in developing an information agency that is trying to extend services to a wide population. Impediments are listed, as well as possible solutions. When developing an information agency, the organizers must also address their own motivations, needs, structural viability, how “radical” the agency should be, and the environment, or location of the service. Public libraries are a good location for an information center, as they are usually supported by tax dollars, but run by semi-independent trustees. The authors close with a short discussion on the ethics of information services and the necessity of community involvement. They seem to believe that all information should be provided, leaving the client to make his or her own judgment.