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Educators of the Information Society: Information Literacy Instruction in Public and Academic Libraries

Maria Henkel
Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Germany

Summary

As information literacy is a key competence of the information society, information literacy instruction in public as well as academic libraries is crucial. Today, librarians do not only act as providers of information but also as educators of the information society’s citizens. This study aims to assess the perceived quality of information literacy instruction in libraries of Canada’s informational cities: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Therefore, librarians were interviewed by means of a questionnaire inspired by the SERVQUAL diagnostic tool. The questionnaire comprises of two parts: The first part consists of questions regarding information literacy instruction, in the second part the focus is on the seven competence areas of information literacy. Based on the difference between the librarians’ “Expectation” and “Experience” scores, gap scores for all questionnaire items were calculated and are now being presented and discussed. At the same time, results of public and academic libraries are compared to show the differences in information literacy instruction and the perceived value of the different information literacy competence areas.


Signal Architectures of US Public Libraries: Resolving Legitimacy between Public and Private Spheres

Michael Majewski Widdersheim¹, Masanori Koizumi²
1School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, United States of America; ²Graduate School of Library, Information, and Media Studies, University of Tsukuba, Japan

Summary

Public library systems intersect with both public and private spheres of social life, but how they do so remains a mystery. Many believe private influences distort the public sphere in public libraries, and if so, then library legitimacy suffers, raising normative and material concerns for library systems. To better understand how libraries negotiate public legitimacy and private influence, we approached the problem using a communications system framework. We used qualitative content analysis to examine data from three US public library systems: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, New York Public Library, and Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. We recorded the many ways private actors communicate with and through public library systems. Then, we analyzed the signals in terms of their components: transmitter, receiver, medium, and message. We found two dimensions: in the Public Sphere dimension, private actors govern, legitimate, and use the library, and in the Private Sphere dimension, private actors exchange personal services and exert economic power. We describe the communication channels shared by private actors and public library systems, identify signals associated with governance, influence, and legitimacy, and consider how these signals relate. This study explores the signal architectures of social life in public libraries.


User Experience Librarians: User Advocates, User Researchers, Usability Evaluators, or All of the Above?

Craig M. MacDonald
Pratt Institute, United States of America

Summary

User Experience (UX) is gaining momentum as a critical success factor across all industries and sectors, including libraries. While usability studies of library websites and related digital interfaces are commonplace, UX Librarianship is becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion in the community and is also emerging as a new specialization for library professionals. To better understand this phenomenon, this paper reports the results of a qualitative study involving interviews with 16 librarians who have “User Experience” in their official job titles. The results show that UX Librarians share a user-centered mindset and many common responsibilities, including user research, usability testing, and space/service assessments, but each individual UX Librarian is also somewhat unique in how they approach and describe their work. As a whole, the research sheds light on an emerging library specialization and provides a valuable and informative snapshot of the current state of UX Librarianship.