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World Libraries, the Diplomatic Role of Cultural Agencies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2015

Juan Jose Prieto Gutierrez*
Complutense University Library, Ciudad Universitaria, Facultad de Derecho, Biblioteca, Spain. E-mail:


Cultural actions are among the best tools for ministries of foreign affairs worldwide. Many countries who choose to work with cultural actions could potentially reach millions of citizens, inclusive of those living in remote areas. One of these cultural actions is that of establishing and opening cultural centres. This paper presents libraries as providing outstanding service in all these centres. Through a historical and numerical analysis of the libraries of The British Council, the Alliance Française’s Institut Français, the Goethe Institut and the Cervantes Institute, it can be shown that libraries are a real tool for public diplomacy that can exceed its remit of social assistance, social services and education. To conclude, this paper will also look at actions that could be undertaken to improve and cater for network libraries.

Focus: A Dialogue of Cultures
© Academia Europaea 2015 

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References and Notes

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