An Investigation into the Information Acquisition Methods of the Library Users of Blaenau Gwent's Public Libraries

Authors Organisations
Type

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economics and Social Studies

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kirsten Anne Ferguson-Boucher
Award date2013
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Abstract

The purpose of this research study is to, investigate the methods, by which individuals, acquire information, within the public libraries of Blaenau Gwent, Wales, and to extrapolate, any future scenarios, individuals, wish to see their public libraries adopt, in relation to service and/or information delivery.
The aims and objectives of this study are; to explore the various methods, by which an individual can acquire and gather information, in the context of a library; The identification of key issues noted from secondary sources into the methods individuals acquire information; The exploration of the perceptions, regarding, the role of the information provider; The querying of the library users of Blaenau Gwent, in regards to their information acquisition methods; To explore future possibilities and trends that may exist within the general library space.
An explanatory mixed-method is employed to collect primary data, by which a quantitative study, is followed up by a predominantly qualitative study. Quantitative data, was collected through the use of the quota sampling method, by which a printed survey was presented to research participants, that consisted of 3x A4 pages, which consisted of ten questions. Qualitative data, was collected, through the use of the convenience sampling method, by which a series of semi-structured interviews, was conducted, that consisted of a series of open ended questions, that allowed for a verbose answer, with responses being recorded.
The results showed, that individuals will attend a library for a specific purpose, however the reasons are diverse and numerous. Digital methods of information acquisition, such as the internet, appears to be displacing traditional methods, such as obtaining printed media. A majority of research participants, view the librarian as a custodian of the bookshelves, whilst overlooking the more diverse and broad skill set, the librarians has. Many library users, expect library services to change within the next 20 years, with digital technologies, advancing the need for change and adaptation of library services.
In conclusion, it would appear, that the way library users, access and acquire information, is changing, as a causal relationship exists, between an individual's age and their method of information acquisition, as such a digital divide could be opening up, with the older age groups would appear to be averse to the usage of digital technologies, therefore a possible future scenario could exist by which they are excluded from accessing information. What is certain is that the monolithic proprietary information systems, which revolve around books, and traditional printed media, are being displaced by newer, digital or more mobile forms of information acquisition, which may force libraries to adapt to an increasing dynamic user base