Library Research Round Table – Research to Understand Users; Issues and Approaches
This session will feature three library-related research papers investigating users and their use of libraries and information. An LRRT committee will select the winning papers based on quality of study design, significance of the research topic, and potential for significant contribution to librarianship. Topics include: Community public-access computers, Online Community of Individuals in Crisis, Recreational Reading in Academic Libraries.
Note to all presenters – the slide just hanging out on the scree before the presentation starts should be the name of the program as written on the schedule to assure people they’re in the right place. This one was showing the title slide of the first presenter – “Insights from the Under-Served in Rural Washington” – S. Patricia Rempel PhD
This session is one of 4 on research from LRRT.
All three of the studies were very interesting. The first had a very finely delimited research question: What are the perceived reasons for access and usage of public-access computers among Spanish-speaking adults in agricultural communities of the Yakima Valley?
One of her study findings was that a mastery of email provided a personal sense of having crossed the digital divide, of empowerment. Yet another reason I feel that my library should start offering introductory computer classes for our students.
The second was my graduate adviser – Lynn Westbrook – Silent Crises: Understanding the Information Landscape in an Online Community of Individuals in Crisis. It focuses on intimate partner violence. Lynn stressed that this is an ongoing project. She gave an overview of her research, stressing the places that libraries have expertise that is applicable, in particular, helping women find local resources (books, people, websites, etc.) and connecting them with online support communities. Her presentation is available on her website.
The final presentation was – Reading Matters: Examining the Role of Recreational Reading in Academic Libraries. I particularly liked how the researchers debunked some of the “reading is declining” studies that have been circulating. They addressed barriers to student leisure reading. Time was the biggest one, but they also found that students loved lists and challenges/competitions. They’ll be creating a separate fiction area pulled out from LC, setting up reading nooks, creating reading lists and starting a book blog.