Non library user

Non-library user immigrants: How can libraries support their information experience?

Project Aim:

Libraries have been recognised by information researchers and professionals as one of the critical facilitators in enabling social inclusion. However research has shown that information agencies such as libraries are not always the primary source of information for newcomers to a community. Groups such as immigrants may not engage with their library, which means they may miss out on resources that could help them adjust to their new community.

Therefore this qualitative research aims to:

  • Investigate the information experience of immigrants who are not regular users of libraries. This is to understand how this specific group of people engage with information as they go about their everyday lives.
  • Draw on the resultant understanding from (1) to develop an Information Experience Design framework. Beyond the boundaries of this research project, the Information Experience Design framework will inform the design and implementation of interventions such as programs, services, tools, strategies or policies to be used by public libraries, as well as associated organisations, to support and enhance the information experience of their non-users or underserved-users from newcomer communities.

Project Significance:

The project addresses the information aspect of social exclusion and is of significance in both theory and practice.

  • The project investigates how a specific group of people (i.e. non-library or underserved user immigrants) engage with information in their day to day lives. The outcome of such investigation contributes to our understanding of the phenomenon of information experience. This is specifically of importance since the project considers information experience as the direct phenomenon under investigation and not a domain of study.
  • The project develops an Information Experience Design framework. This is a framework that translates the information experience theory into practice.
  • Developed within a library context and aimed at non-library users or underserved users, the framework can be drawn on to inform the design and development of practical interventions for libraries, such as programs, policies, services, tools and strategies that enable staff to support and enhance information experience of immigrants to Australia who are not well engaged with these organisations.
  • The Information Experience Design framework will guide establishing relationships with organisations whose purposes align with the library, including settlement service providers that share the library’s goals and philosophy in serving the information needs of new arrivals. By working collaboratively across traditional information boundaries, the library may expand its sphere of influence and deliver better outcomes for new arrivals and other stakeholders.

Project Team: 
Debra Cooper
Logan City Council

Debra is currently the Library Programming Coordinator for Logan City Council Libraries. Her experience in developing community engagement programs for libraries is a significant contribution to the project. Debra has developed and overseen a number of culturally inclusive programs in partnership with community, cultural and internal stakeholders, e.g. Yarning with our Mob Story Time, Dreamtime Yarning, Reading for Reconciliation Book Club, Page Turners reading program for culturally and linguistically diverse children, Homework Help and English Conversation Circles. Up until 2011, Debra was the Multicultural Program Officer for the State Library of Queensland for many years. She was part of the Social Inclusion Unit, promoting public library trends in community engagement and focusing on programs and services which support culturally and linguistically diverse, disabled and indigenous, individuals and communities.

Dr Elham Sayyad Abdi
Queensland University of Technology

Elham is an associate lecturer in the Information Systems School at QUT. Her research work focuses on the interplay between people and information and how it can be enhanced for more informed citizenship. Through her research, Elham is developing the concept of “Information Experience Design” as an enabler of information literacy. She is currently project managing and running an Australian Research Council Linkage funded project exploring migrants and refugees’ information literacy. She is also a research consultant in a reciprocal research project investigating Iranian refugees and asylum seekers’ migration experience. Since 2014, Elham has taught different subjects in the Master of Information Science at QUT and has been supervising doctoral, Master’s and research project students. Elham serves as the committee member of the Australian Library and Information Association, Queensland and the secretary for the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), Asia-Pacific Chapter.

Kathleen Smeaton
Queensland University of Technology

Kathleen is a Learning Designer, Librarian and PhD candidate. Her research focuses on engagement with online information. Kathleen has prior experience with a range of qualitative research methods including phenomenology, phenomenography and case study.