Tag Archives: international

Information needs and behaviour of parents of children with autism spectrum disorders: parents’ reports on their experiences and perceptions

Article Authored By: Ivana Martinović and Ivanka Stričević

Reviewed by: Camille Hyatt, Richard Schock, Kate Lasky, Sandra Nunez Currier, and Nicole Cooksey-Voytenko

Link to article: http://www.informationr.net/ir/21-4/isic/isic1609.html

Review of “Information Needs and Behaviour of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Parents’ Reports on their Experiences and Perceptions” by Ivana Martinović and Ivanka Stričević


Article Synopsis and International Perspective
In a recent fact sheet entitled Autism Spectrum Disorders published November 2019 by the World Health Organization, rates of autism (ASD) among children are estimated to be as high as one in 165, while further noting that when examined longitudinally, this number appears to be steadily increasing. While public awareness of neurodiversity-related issues has grown, this awareness may be, in part, ascribed to increased diagnoses; regardless, public awareness has not kept pace with the rate of increase in diagnoses (Martinović & Stričević, 2016). Thus, significant information gaps remain among parents of children with ASD, both in developed countries where there are more avenues for ASD care and opportunities and in countries such as Croatia where much work in this area remains to be done (Martinović & Stričević, 2016).
Researchers Ivana Martinović and Ivanka Stričević sought to examine this subject from the perspective of Croatian parents of children recently diagnosed with ASD. They jointly presented the results of their study at the ISIC information behavior conference in Zadar, Croatia, in September 2016. The authors note the rising incidence of ASD and a concurrent lack of information on the topic available to parents of such children. Martinović and Stričević, utilizing a convenience sampling technique, identified 13 participants with children with ASD who were willing to engage with the researchers, sharing their experiences and information needs. As Martinović and Stričević note, the lack of previously gathered data among the Croatian populace points to a definite need for further studies.

Core Research Questions
Because there is no prior data as to information-seeking behavior for parents of children with ASD in Croatia, Martinović and Stričević begin their study with basic research questions, trying to discern the parents’ information needs. Interestingly, though they are defining information-seeking behavior, their aim is to “provide medical specialists with recommendations… [for] providing information to parents within the sphere of medical and social care,” (Martinović & Stričević, 2016) intimating that the “where” of Martinović’s and Stričević’s question, “where [do] they perform their searches[?]” is likely not the library, which is a shift in perspective. In the United States, for example, information-seeking behavior is generally considered by librarians, less by medical professionals. How much do American medical specialists consider the information-seeking behavior of their patients and families, and are they receptive to recommendations from outside researchers?
The research questions asked by Martinović and Stričević were:
What kind of information needs do parents of children with ASD have?
How do parents of children with ASD seek information that they need?
How do parents assess information they found?
What barriers do they face when seeking information? (Martinović & Stričević, 2016)
In observing this list of questions, there are noted holes in the research area of services provided for children with ASD, which would make for a strong follow-up to this study, and building blocks for ASD infrastructure in Croatia.

Study Methods
The study utilized a semi-structured interview that was audiotaped and transcribed for analysis purposes. The subjects interviewed were 13 parents whose children were diagnosed with ASD and between the ages of 3 ½ – 20 years old. Study data included the gender of the parent, the child’s age, and how long the child has been diagnosed with ASD.
Study participants were reached by the Association of Families of Children with Autism ‘Dar’ in Osijek, Croatia. Each participant was given a code for identification to keep their identity confidential. All of the interviews (~20 minutes in length) were subject to qualitative content analysis and translated into English.

Findings and Conclusions
Martinović and Stričević found that parents of children with ASD were looking for general facts about autism. Typically, these parents had no prior knowledge of what autism is, or how to deal with it. Initially, they wanted to know what it is, how it can be treated, what therapies are best, and what lies ahead for their child (Martinović & Stričević, 2016). Parents wanted to find out if their child would be able to go to a regular school, become independent, and have a normal life. Parents found the majority of their information on their own using the internet, books, other printed materials, professionals, and other parents with similar experiences. Parents did not receive adequate information from doctors and had to find it independently, often becoming overwhelmed with an overload of confusing information. The most trusted information came from other parents as well as specialists. To determine if the information was sound, they tested it on their own child to see the results. The sheer amount of information written in medical terms often contrasted one with the other, and the lack of ASD expertise or experience were reported as barriers for parents when searching for information.

What American Libraries Can Learn
American libraries can benefit from the global practice of research about parents of children with ASD. Ivana Martinović and Ivanka Stričević of the Croatian community highlight inequities in access that can be tested and possibly reflected in American communities. Concrete data around the information-seeking behavior of this community helps librarians provide access to needed information through taught search methods and in-house awareness of ASD services and organizations.
“Many results of this research match the findings of other researches from foreign countries. One can conclude that parents of children with ASD have the same information needs, regardless of the part of the world they come from” (Martinović & Stričević, 2016). American libraries and librarians can take away critical findings from the article for immediate practice, such as the importance of curating local resources and raising awareness about ASD within their communities to prevent inequities in access to information when it is most critical for parents. American libraries can also drive and participate in local research — “Hospital, higher education institutions and public libraries should conduct regular studies of the health information needs and information seeking behaviour of parents of children with ASD in order to equip their users with relevant health information” (Martinović & Stričević, 2016).


Martinović, I. & Stričević, I. (2016). Information Needs and Behaviour of Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Parents’ Reports on their Experiences and Perceptions. Proceedings of ISIC, the Information Behaviour Conference, Zadar, Croatia, 20-23 September, 2016: Part 1. Information Research, 21(4), paper isic1609. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/21-4/isic/isic1609.html

World Health Organization, (2019, 7 November). Autism spectrum disorder. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/autism-spectrum-disorders

Accessibility of Library Facilities by Wheelchair Users: The Case of Libraries in Lagos State, Nigeria

Article Authored By: Christopher Nkiko, Jerome Idiegbeyan-Ose, Promise Ilo, Ifeakachuku Osinulu, & Goodluck Ifijeh

Reviewed by: Leslie Archuletta, Stephanie Murakami, Jessica Roesch, Meghan Soucier, and Kacy Wilson

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/4189/

Article Synopsis

Accessibility is an important commitment that libraries must make in order to ensure diverse and differently-abled users who can benefit from full utilization of library resources. This study examines libraries in Lagos State, Nigeria in order to understand inaccessibility of wheelchair library users. The researchers made personal observations of library buildings which were photographed. The findings of this study indicated that wheelchair users’ needs were not being met. There were no ramps and users often needed to be carried up steps. The desks and shelves were too high and the bathrooms did not have toilets which were wheelchair friendly. Recommendations were then made in order to address the severe lack of thought when designing for differently-abled patrons.

International Perspective

This article represents an international perspective from the standpoint of investigating wheelchair users’ needs at libraries in Lagos State, Nigeria. In addition to Nigeria, the study speaks to libraries in the United Kingdom, United States, and Singapore. The article explains that libraries in developed countries such as the ones listed above have made strides in order to ensure all patrons have access by building ramps and ensuring that circulation desks are able to accommodate wheelchair users. However, the one question which is not answered is: How can international libraries and associations in developed countries help less developed countries? While Nigeria is currently not meeting access needs for differently-abled patrons, perhaps with more developed countries paving the way and greater access to resources, more consideration will be taken when designing their libraries. The article’s recommendations to redesign, enact laws, and for the differently-abled to form groups places responsibility amid a variety of people. Ultimately having equal access to information is a right of all individuals and is important to make sure the differently-abled are included.

Research Questions
1. Is the library building accessible to wheelchair users?
2. Are the heights of the circulation desks accessible to them?
3. What challenges do wheelchair users face when accessing the library catalogues?
4. What challenges do they face when using the library shelves?
5. What problems do wheelchair users face when using the restrooms in the library?


The assessment was made using qualitative methods. Visits were made to 42 institutions/ facilities in both the public and private sectors. These observational visits took place over a six-month period from February to August 2017. No more than three hours maximum were spent at the institutions/facilities. Observations were recorded on a Surface Pro laptop equipped with Job Access with Speech software. In addition, data sources such as Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Observer and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) were used. This research was presented through colonial and post-colonial frameworks.

Findings and Conclusions

Accessibility for differently-abled patrons within Nigerian libraries is very limited. Studies found that most library buildings are not wheelchair accessible and are poorly designed for patrons with disabilities. All of the universities located in Nigeria were found to have non-functioning lifts or ramps for their disabled students to use. Universities that had more than one floor were inaccessible for wheelchair bound patrons as well as the visually impaired. This limited the amount of information that could be accessed by their differently-abled patrons. While designing the libraries and universities, there wasn’t any consideration that included patrons with disabilities.
The studies that were done by Nkiko et al. (2020) proved how inconvenient it was for patrons in wheelchairs to navigate through the rows of the libraries. Several of the buildings contained numerous flights of stairs and/or spiral staircases that were inaccessible for wheelchair users. Among the poorly designed buildings, many of the library’s circulation desks were too high for wheelchair-bound patrons to reach. Not only was the height of circulation desks too high, but the card catalogs and the bookshelves were inaccessible as well. This forced wheelchair users to ask for help if they needed an item located on the top shelf. In addition, Nkiko et al. (2020) found that there weren’t any toilets in the bathrooms designed for wheelchair users. The toilets were not designed for people with disabilities that may struggle in using a standard toilet.
After the libraries and universities were built, Nkiko et al. (2020) discovered that several countries are faced with financial hardships. This may make it harder for countries to update and upgrade their libraries to accommodate wheelchair users. People in wheelchairs should be able to move comfortably and freely within the library and reach all parts of the library. Patrons in wheelchairs should be able to gain access to information without having to struggle through the library to get it. If Nigeria chooses to build new libraries in the future, they need to ensure that wheelchair-bound patrons are included in planning and implementing the design.
Nigeria needs to start by updating the libraries they have first by providing ramps at the entrances, moving materials that are unreachable, creating a circulation desk that can be used by all, and adding toilets that can be used by patrons with disabilities. Accessibility to information should be accessed by all individuals, creating spaces that are inclusive for everyone will increase the value of the library. In the end, the government should pass laws to help their underfunded libraries enhance their facilities to accommodate not only the wheelchair-bound patrons but the differently-abled patrons as well. Punishment should be doled out to organizations that break these laws. On the other hand, the differently-abled community should form pressure groups to influence their government in providing access to libraries for everyone.

What American Libraries Can Learn

In the United States, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Universal Access, 2020) address many of the challenges experienced by wheelchair library-users. Although the work of Nkiko et al. (2020) focuses on libraries in Nigeria, it teaches us that all libraries, even when facing financial difficulties, should at least have the following available for wheelchair library users:
• automatic entry-doors
• ground floors equipped with all the facilities and resources available to other library users
• special shelves constructed to house information materials for wheelchair users
• adjustable toilets
• catalogue cabinets that can be consulted while seated
• accessible circulation desks

On a grander scale, the work of Nkiko et al. (2020) stresses to American libraries that inequitable access of differently-abled users is an international issue. No solutions are offered in the work of Nkiko et al. (2020), but common practices put forward by the American Library Association include participating in international relationship roundtables, involving oneself in causes like the Endowment Campaign, and establishing a sister library (IRRT, 2020). In conclusion, greater collaboration is needed between countries so that everyone can utilize the many tools and resources available at the library.


International Relations Round Table (IRRT). (2020). American Library Association. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/rt/irrt/irrtcommittees/irrtsisterlibrary/sisterlibrary.

Nkiko, C., Idiegbeyan-Ose, J., Ilo, P., Osinulu, I., & Ifijeh, G. (2020). Accessibility of library facilities by wheelchair users: The case of libraries in Lagos State, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 4189. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/4189/.

Universal access: making library resources accessible to people with disabilities. (2020). Retrieved October, from https://www.washington.edu/doit/universal-access-making-library-resources-accessible-people-disabilities.

The Use of Mobile Devices in Learning Foreign Languages: Survey of a Private University

Reviewed By: Abraham Escalante, Stephanie Frame, & Rosario Mireles

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/1984/?utm_source=digitalcommons.unl.edu%2Flibphilprac%2F1984&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages

The Use of Mobile Devices in Learning Foreign Languages: Survey of a Private University

Reviewed By: Abraham Escalante, Stephanie Frame, & Rosario Mireles

Date: 4 April 2020

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/1984/?utm_source=digitalcommons.unl.edu%2Flibphilprac%2F1984&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages


Students all over the world have embraced mobile device technology to help them in their learning. Mobile technology has allowed students more freedom to pursue the learning of languages because the learner can access their device at any time, not just when he or she is in the language lab or classroom. This study, conducted by researchers Oriogu, Ejemezu, and Ogbuiyi, looks at how students at Afe Babalola University in Nigeria used mobile devices to learn a variety of languages. The research indicates that students are overwhelmingly positive about the impact that mobile devices have had on their language learning, despite some challenges with device interfaces and access to Wi-Fi. This was a broad study that opens the door for much more detailed research on how students use mobile devices, as well as the effect of mobile device use on language learning.

This article represents an international perspective in that it investigates the use of mobile devices in learning of foreign languages in Afe Babalola University in Ado-Editi, Nigeria. This study adds Nigeria to the list of countries such as Taiwan, Australia, and China, that have studied how university students can benefit from having language learning programs accessible on a mobile device (Chen et al. 2008; Goodwin-Jones, 2005; Levy & Kennedy, 2005). Perhaps, as more of these studies are conducted globally, the university instructor will have a more informed and effective pedagogy for his/her foreign language learners, especially in increasing autonomy and self-sufficiency among learners. In addition, while studies have focused on how mobile technology is used in the acquisition of English, this study includes other target languages, such as Chinese and French.

Core Research Questions

What type of mobile devices do students use in learning a foreign language?
What is the extent of Nigerian students’ knowledge of foreign languages?
What is the impact of mobile devices on learning of foreign languages by students?
What challenges were encountered on the use of mobile devices by students as they learned a foreign language?


A survey method was used to collect the data for the study. The survey consisted of some demographic questions and then an open answer question for RQ1, a Likert scale item for RQ2, and then a series of yes/no questions to answer RQs 3 and 4. The article says it focused on “students offering foreign languages in the institution” (n.p.), which is unclear due to vocabulary choice. One could interpret that as meaning that the survey was given to students who were enrolled in foreign language courses at the university. No information is given as to whether survey distribution was paper or electronic. There were 250 surveys administered, out of which 207 were used in the final analysis of data. Data were analyzed using “frequency counts, simple percentage, mean, and standard deviation” (n.p.).

Findings and Conclusions

This study focused on the use of mobile devices in learning a foreign language by university students in Nigeria. Of the 207 students whose surveys were counted in the final analysis, the majority were female, 58.9%, and males were 31.1%. The majority of respondents were in the 19-21 age bracket (57%). The results of the survey showed that the most commonly reported mobile devices used by students were Android (58.5%), iPhone (44.9%), and iPad (42.5%). Most students reported having very good knowledge of the English language; their Chinese and French knowledge was reported as good. German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish language knowledge was reported as poor. Furthermore, the results indicated that the majority of students said that using a mobile device had a significant effect on their learning of a foreign language. The vast majority of students said that mobile devices had helped them learn independently, improve knowledge of syntax, morphology, and vocabulary, and improve spoken and written skills. The two major challenges that students reported were 1) limited access to institution Wi-Fi and 2) poor interface and storage capacity of mobile devices. Despite these drawbacks, this study indicated that mobile devices do play a vital role in a university student’s foreign language acquisition. Oriogu, Ejemezu, and Ogbuiyi (2018) state that although mobile technology devices are commonplace with students, they can be better utilized as a tool in learning a foreign language.

What American Libraries Can Learn

American libraries can have mobile devices accessible for use or checkout, equipped with language apps for patrons who are linguistically diverse or who want to learn another language. As the study indicates, mobile devices should be equipped with high storage capacity and have interfaces that work seamlessly for users. Developing the interface may be tasked to librarians or IT staff. In addition, libraries need to pressure local, state, and federal governments, where applicable, to take measures that increase community access to affordable, strong, and fast internet connections. As many Americans are finding out during this pandemic, it is not just people in the developing world who lack access to technology and the internet, without which technology falters. The digital divide is alive in our communities as well. American libraries can look to further studies that focus on the use of particular apps for language learning when considering which programs and applications to install on devices.


Chen, N. S., Hsieh, S. W., & Kinshuk, S. (2008). Effects of short-term memory and content
representation type on mobile language learning, Language Learning and Technology,12
(3), pp. 93–113.

Godwin-Jones, R. (2005). Messaging, gaming, peer-to-peer sharing: Language learning
strategies and tools for the millennial generation, Language Learning & Technology,
9(1), pp. 17-22.

Levy, M., & Kennedy, C. (2005). Learning Italian via mobile SMS. In A. Kukulska-Hulme & J.
Traxler (Eds.), Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers. London,
Taylor and Francis.

Oriogu, C. D., & Ejemezu, C. I., & Ogbuiyi, C. D. (2018). The use of mobile devices in learning foreign languages: Survey of a private university, Library Philosophy and Practice eJournal, http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/1984

Embodied cognition and information experiences of transgender people

Reviewed By: Loren Cruz, Shelby Hebert, Cynthia Orr

Link to article: http://www.informationr.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1940.html

This article recognized a knowledge gap with regards to studying embodied information and how it relates to information gathering. The study was further narrowed to encompass a specific group of participants, transgender individuals. This study was conducted by Finland university professors and researchers and consisted of Finnish participants. The research aim took into consideration the individual experiences of transgender individuals in both how they shared gender identity within their environment and alternately how their experiences, in gender norm environments, influenced their embodied experiences. Further, information needs were discovered due to discomfort with the individual’s own body.
The very concept and nature of this study speak to the international perspective. As mentioned by the researchers themselves, there is very limited research done on this topic. It was also stated that transgender individuals were in agreement that harassment and discrimination were widespread in Europe and they frequently felt unsafe. This certainly is not exclusive to Europe but does shed light on an international perspective and reaction to transgender people. Cultural influences and norms from countries outside of the U.S. can also have an impact on the overall opinion of a group of people. In this case, the data from this study could provide foundational information to assist transgender individuals with information seeking. Although the topic of transgender embodied cognition is not unique to Finland, it is important to note the other demographic factors that play a part in the study. Cultural and societal norms can differ between countries, and even within neighboring communities. With that in mind, th study can also serve as a base for further research on transgender embodied cognition and information seeking in other countries.
The study examined how the information experiences of transgender people, and the affects as a result of those experiences, play a part in their embodied information. It also looks at transgender embodiment on both an individual and interpersonal level. The core research questions in this study are as follows:
What kind of information do senses, emotions and affects contribute to transgender person’s gender identity?
What kind of information does others’ embodiment provide transgender people?
How transgender individuals experience the creating and sharing of the gender identity and its expression in interaction with the surrounding environment?
How do gender norms affect gender expression and embodied experience of transgender people?
This study was conducted using semi-structured interviews and surveys with 25 Finnish people. The participants were between 15 and 72 years of age, with the average age being 33. The participants were also primarily well-educated, white, Finnish, and residing in urban areas. The interviews focused on understanding the information seeking of gender minority-related topics, sources, barriers, and enablers. The findings from the interviews indicate that there are a few factors that influence transgender peoples’ embodiment and gender identity expression. Overall, participants mentioned that their gender expression is both created and shared, and that societal norms and binary gender roles have an impact on their experience of gender expression. They are influenced by the perception of how others view and judge them, in a looking glass experience. They are also influenced by their social surroundings, the media, and everyday life experiences. The participants mentioned negative emotions such as shame and guilt, as a result from the lack of acceptance they feel from others regarding their gender expression.
The biggest thing American libraries can take away from this article is the significance of understanding how different experiences and identities can impact information needs, information-seeking processes, and even just the willingness to be physically present somewhere. The authors note, “One interviewee (I25) described gender representation as creating the possibility of being punished in public.” That speaks to the uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous position many transgender people are put in simply for existing authentically in a public space. Additionally, an understanding of how embodied information is understood and communicated can help American libraries serve many of our patrons beyond just those who are gender diverse. Our bodies are the way we interact with the world, so they are also a crucial part of how we process the information we are given and how we send out some information.
Libraries can prevent intentional and unintentional social censure of our transgender patrons by being aware of their existence and needs through education and institutional policies. When creating a safe and welcoming space for patrons, it is important to identify our own cultural biases and how they may be preventing us from effectively meeting the needs of underserved patrons. Looking at embodied cognition, library information professionals can learn from this study about how their interactions, the materials in the library, and the programs and services offered can make a difference in how transgender patrons perceive themselves and their needs.

Huttunen, A., Kähkönen, L., Enwald, H. & Kortelainen, T. (2019). Embodied cognition and information experiences of transgender people. In Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 16-19, 2019. Information Research, 24(4), paper colis1940. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1940.html (Archived by the Internet Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20191217182005/http://informationr.net/ir/24-4/colis/colis1940.html)

Investigating and Proffering Solutions to the Information Seeking Behaviour of Immigrants in the United Kingdom

Reviewed By: Sabah Abdulla, Devon Cahill, Catherine Mulligan, Vernon Stephens and Karla Quintero

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2336/

Adekanmbi’s article examines the information seeking behavior of immigrants in the UK with its main focus on asylum seekers. The author’s method of research is a systematic literature review of existing data collected by several researchers who had different findings. The objectives of the study are to: focus on immigrants’ sources of information, analyse their information needs and requirements, investigate the barriers to obtaining information, and investigate the information seeking behavior and determine what can be done to improve access. By the end of the study, the author answers the set research questions and is able to identify the sources and information needs of immigrants to the UK. The author then advises information professionals to adapt to their recommendations to better assist new immigrants with accessing information. This article represents an international perspective in that it helps researchers/information professionals look through a more comprehensive lens and better understand the various immigrant cultures in their communities.

Core research question(s).
New immigrants face many challenges, however, one critical problem is access to information. In response to this, Adekanmbi poses several research questions concerning access for immigrants to free information: Why do they seek access to information? How are they accessing information? And what can be done to improve access for new immigrants? What are their informational needs, for example, for finding housing and employment?
Entering a new country and trying to communicate one’s needs to someone who does not speak the same language creates anxiety. The author’s research shows that new immigrants overcome this obstacle by communicating through their social networks and through friends rather than seeking out city agencies. This is primarily because of the language barrier. Through social networks, they find out where to access trustworthy information to accomplish their goals of attaining goods and services.
What can cities do to improve how they provide new immigrants with access to free and fair information? According to the research, city agencies should keep lines of communication simple. For the author, libraries play an essential role for new people arriving in a new country because information professionals strive to offer free and fair access respectfully.

Adekanmbi’s research questions, analysis, and conclusion are derived from an aggregate of existing research via an extended literature review on the topic rather than original research. The cited resources are selected for their relevance to the three core focuses of the research questions: information needs, information sources, and information barriers of recent immigrants. In the article, both data and anecdotal information are used as the foundation for the thesis and conclusion.

The author describes their approach as “taxonomic description,” which allows for a multi-level categorization of pertinent information beginning with high level concepts (themes) and narrowing down to related sub-concepts. The author chooses this method so that the reader can follow their argument efficiently. Although the author’s focus is immigrant information seekers in the UK, they rely on mostly international findings to formulate their study because little research has been done in the UK.

Interestingly, the author notes that a limitation in this study is the trustworthiness of the methodology of the resources used. It seems obvious, therefore, that a UK specific study is still desperately needed to determine the information seeking behaviors of immigrants there. However, the information collected and analyzed here is a good starting point for such a project.

Findings and conclusions
Information Needs: For Adekanmbi, the recurring informational needs of immigrants in the UK corresponds to health, education, employment, legal/political, and housing. The author divides these into two main groups of information: orienting and problem-specific. Orienting information pertains to the new culture and life in a new country; cultural and religious situations; identity, and other more extensive societal contexts. Problem-specific information consists of language, employment, health, legal, education, recreation, transportation, and banking.

Information Sources: The author finds that new immigrants first seek a trusted person or social networks for easy access and to communicate in person. They use the media or the internet when friends are unable to provide answers. Community organizations and job centers also provide information on policies and procedures and access to the wider community.

Information Barriers: The major constraints that prevent immigrants from getting information are limited access, inadequate language proficiency, structural barriers, and cultural differences. These obstacles stem from a wider context of migrant settlement issues.

The aim of Adekanmbi’s study is to investigate the information seeking behavior of recent immigrants and to propose solutions. The research is based on an analysis of existing data in this field. The author’s findings indicate that, for immigrants, access to information directly influences how quickly they settle into UK society.
What American libraries can learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations.
Since some immigrants are not used to using libraries in their home countries, outreach and networking with community organizations and possibly other trusted government agencies are essential. Adekanmbi’s findings show that new immigrants are first and foremost looking for someone they can trust to provide the information they need. Hopefully, through successful networking, new immigrants will learn that a library is a place they can trust.
Public libraries in the U.S. and other countries, provide immigrants, particularly asylum seekers, a safe, friendly, and free place to find what they are looking for. Libraries offer free access to the internet and supportive resources, often in an immigrant’s native language, and services that help them not only adapt to their new found home but also guidance and information pertaining to the country they have moved from.

The author lists three steps libraries can take to design services for diverse populations that can apply to any local context: (1) get to know the community you are serving by collecting necessary data, (2) get prepared by tailoring the library’s mission to support multicultural populations, and (3) recognize new opportunities for innovative programs and services the library can provide by communicating respectfully with immigrant populations, assessing what their needs are, and adjusting accordingly.

Adekanmbi, O. F. (2019). Investigating and Proffering Solutions to the Information Seeking Behaviour of Immigrants in the United Kingdom.

The social constructionist viewpoint on gays and lesbians, and their information behaviour

Reviewed By: Maria Burton-Conte, Sierra Byrd, Stephanie Frey, Marian Griffin, Melyssa Kimbell, Guadalupe Martinez

Link to article: http://informationr.net/ir/13-4/paper364.html

Blogging Open Access Research

Article Synopsis and International Perspective
Nei-Ching Yeh’s study aimed to explore the information-seeking behavior of gay and lesbian Taiwanese citizens from self-realization to acceptance and beyond. Her study also sheds light on the idea of homosexuality in Asian culture and how that affects its gay and lesbian population. Yeh (2008) found that the Internet was an invaluable source for the lesbians and gay men she studied. In Taiwanese society, homosexuality is still considered “abnormal” and many believe homosexuals do not have as promising a future as their heterosexual counterparts. These beliefs stem from “Taiwanese traditional filial culture which emphasizes the importance of getting married and having children and sees this as corresponding to social norms” (Yeh, 2008, para. 31). Therefore, respondents in the study felt the need to protect themselves when searching for information regarding homosexuality, and the Internet provided a safe haven to do so and remain inconspicuous at the same time. They were also able to seek information that facilitated “self-understanding and representation…used to clarify and affirm their homosexual identity” (Yeh, 2008, para. 47). Sadly, Yeh’s respondents felt that they could not conduct these searches in an actual library. Besides the inability to remain anonymous, respondents also felt that the collections in their libraries relating to homosexuality were limited and outdated. One respondent even felt as though “the homophobic condition [was] still prevalent in Taiwanese libraries” (Yeh, 2008, para. 50).
The results of Yeh’s (2008) study highlighted several key factors that influenced how her respondents set out on their information-seeking journey. The first was “self-awareness” – many young homosexuals consider themselves abnormal until they research what they feel and discover that their feelings are indeed quite normal. This information helps them initially accept their sexual orientation and set them on their next information seeking path, which is to find people they can form a connection with. Other reasons for respondent’s information-seeking behavior included a broadening of their information horizons on homosexuality, to be better informed themselves, and to help educate others.

Core Research Questions
Question 1.
How do those who identify as lesbian and gay develop their knowledge of their orientation?
Question 2.
How do those who identify as lesbian and gay construct meaning of their identity through interactions with others within their community?
Question 3.
What are the information behaviors of lesbians and gay people when they are developing their knowledge of their orientation and community?
Question 4.
What are the information needs of lesbian and gay people when they are developing their knowledge of their orientation and community?

The methodology of this research took a social constructionist viewpoint. Researchers collected data through interviewing participants that had volunteered to be part of the study. These interviews were conducted one-on-one and face-to-face with each interviewee and researcher. The fourteen participants each chose the environment for the interview, which seemed to average between an hour and a half to two hours, covering seven individual questions. Their answers were comparatively analyzed to gain the data used in this research study. In comparing and analyzing this data using the constant comparison approach, the researchers were able to focus on clues that identified information behavior. These clues identified patterns among the participants that indicated how they each went about constructing their world as a member of the lesbian and gay community. The researchers noticed a few patterns that stood out among the responses given and identified three main sections of this discovery and creation process. The analysis of the interview responses illuminated how these participants were able to process social construction and highlighted the role that informational behavior played in that construction as well.

Findings and Conclusions
Yeh (2008) found that a majority in the community were taught that homosexuality was abnormal, and the bias society has against them. The Internet is where most go to learn more about their sexuality and sex but reframe from the library as they see the collections for gay people as outdated and limited. Yeh (2008) has found that accumulation and monitoring are useful for investigating and obtaining information and complement the concept of information seeking. This study also concludes that having a community, whether on the Internet or in-person, as important and can let those who are heterosexual understand this community at a deeper level.

What American Libraries Can Learn
As much as we want to understand how our patron communities configure their identities for themselves and within society, so must librarians define how they perceive identity in others. Furthermore, librarians should consider how those perceptions are related to the quality and impact of their services, considering the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. The Internet allows for libraries to have layers of interactions that allow the individual to control how to present themselves online, i.e., anonymously, with known aliases, etc. The anonymity of the Internet also allows LGBTQ+ people to create virtual spaces to facilitate knowledge production, form meaningful connections with other community members, and freely seek and share information via the network. In particular, the LGBTQ+ community uses the anonymity of the Internet to seek sexual health information; it is important for libraries to offer accurate, inclusive health resources that can be accessed anonymously.
Additionally, many LGBTQ+ patrons seek information online due to the limitations of many traditional library spaces: outdated collection policies, cultural stigma against gay and lesbian people in public spaces, and indiscretion from library staff who may be homophobic or lack the sensitivity training for discretion. Libraries should address these valid concerns by focusing on authentic, diverse collection development and hiring and training culturally competent staff. Although this article comes from the perspective of Taiwanese society, American libraries may still harbor the same ideological blind spots, policy oversight, or have limited control over the stigma that continues for LGBTQ+ patrons in and out of the library. Virtual spaces are ways for the LGBTQ+ community to channel the power to self-educate, build a chosen community, and self-identify to the patrons without the librarians as the middlemen.

Yeh, N. (2008). The social constructionist viewpoint on gays and lesbians, and their information behaviour. Information Research, 13(4). http://informationr.net/ir/13-4/paper364.html

Dementia Friendly Memory Institutions: Designing a Future for Remembering

Reviewed By: Mark Jack and Andrew Settlemire

Link to article: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/ijidi/article/view/32529/25592

Review of Lynne C. Howarth’s “Dementia Friendly Memory Institutions: Designing a Future for Remembering” by Mark Jack and Andrew Settlemire

Article Synopsis

“Dementia Friendly Memory Institutions: Designing a Future for Remembering” by Lynne C. Howarth focuses on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD), and the contributions libraries and related institutions can and do make to evolving treatment and disability rights paradigms. Howarth begins by describing Alzheimer’s and dementia, and then provides an informative gloss on the history of the medical treatment of dementia, focusing on the shift from a disease-focused treatment to a person-centered treatment. Howarth describes this person-centered treatment as tapping into the passions and interests of the patient by designing a program which allows the patient to explore these interests while treating the patient with care and respect. This also dovetails with a discussion of the changing, international legal and political frameworks surrounding disability rights

This focus on humane and medically advantageous treatments for ADRD feeds into an extended examination of the role “libraries, archives, and museums” have “as memory institutions” in meeting the needs of and bringing into active membership within the larger community, people living with ADRD (Howarth, 2020, p. 21). In this context, Howarth cites examples spanning the globe, from Australia to Japan, England and the United States, covering interior design modifications and innovative programming, while not neglecting the challenges these institutions will no doubt face.

Core Research Questions

What are the best practices for treating those with ADRD?
What are the benefits of person-centered care (PCC) for people with ADRD?
How can cultural heritage institutions (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) meet the needs of those with ADRD?

Methods Used to Answer the Research Questions
Howarth has examined current and historical medical literature alongside pronouncements by international bodies related to the evolving discourse on disability rights in order to trace the changing understanding of ADRD and current treatments. Howarth (2020) provides a list of sixty-one different references of which the words dementia and Alzheimer’s appear repeatedly in over half of the titles, and includes references from organizations such as Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, Alzheimer’s Disease International, Best Alzheimer’s Products, Dementia Friendly America®, and World Health Organization. These resources are open and readily available. She also includes references which originated in ADRD specific journals such as Alzheimers & Dementia (The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association), Dementia, and American Journal of Alzheimers and Other Dementias among others.

While Howarth’s research strongly stems from most of these journals, she does not limit herself to articles that solely focus on Alzheimer’s and dementia. Other articles that Howarth (2020) relies upon are focused on aging, care for the elderly and those with disabilities, and residential care programs that are primarily used to compare and contrast care for those with dementia and their contemporaries. In considering those with Alzheimers and dementia as being akin to the eldery and those with disabilities, Howarth uses resources from the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institute on Aging all of which provide policy and evidence as to how those with ADRD should be treated and the accommodations which should be made. Howarth also looks at residential care programs in order to provide models of care programs for those with ADRD.

Findings and conclusions.
Howarth (2020) states, “The results of the study indicated that the combination of person- centered program interventions in combination with drug therapy was “97% more beneficial for individuals with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s Disease than memantine treatment alone” (Reisberg et al., 2017, p. 100)” (p.25).Considering these person-centered programs, Howarth (2020) indicates that incorporating individual interests and passions into PCC more effectively treats ADRD as the individual receives better care and learn new skills, or forgotten skills, which help to rebuild the Alzheimer person’s self-esteem and self-respect, providing a higher-quality of life (Howarth, 2020, p.24)

Howarth’s examination of the changing conceptualization of ADRD, both from a medical and concurrent legal/political standpoint, points to both great and hopeful progress and the need for reform. The change from a disease-centered to a person-centered approach has been adopted in institutional language, from the the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Standing Committee on Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons (LSDP) (Howarth, 2020, p. 27 & 31).

Howarth locates within Libraries and other “memory institutions” a convergence of skills and resources that are uniquely suited to embracing the new person-centered approach to people living with ADRD and their caregivers. Going further, Howarth notes that “a greater impetus towards sharing resources, expertise, technology, and even physical space through examples of convergence among so-called memory institutions,” presents a further “opportunity for taking a leadership role in advancing quality of life for those living with dementia” (p. 34).
While primarily locating positive developments as occurring at single institutions, the opportunities for collaboration are highlighted repeatedly. Of course, as Howarth (2020) notes, there are challenges to these potential changes as well, budget restrictions being foremost. “When public libraries are accountable for funding on the basis of usage counts, a small group of eight engaged in a resource-intensive art or music therapy program (for example) can be vulnerable to being cut” (p. 35).

What American libraries can learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations.
As Howarth’s examples are not only multidisciplinary, but international in scope, the practice of making American Libraries more friendly to those living with ADRD and their caregivers are easily transmittable to the particular contexts of American libraries. And, given that each community will face varying restrictions on budgets as well as varying needs, the range of practices outlined by Howarth, which run from architectural design to collection development and programming ideas, provide for a wealth of new approaches to designing for those with ADRD and their caregivers. Perhaps the most crucial point, however, is that collaboration and collective advocacy by libraries and other memory institutions needs to be understood as based within a global context and informed by medical advancements and a co-evolving framework of disability rights.


Howarth, L. C. (2019). Dementia Friendly Memory Institutions. The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion (IJIDI), 4(1), 20–41. doi: 10.33137/ijidi.v4i1.32529

Towards Indigenous Librarianship: Indian Perspective

Reviewed By: Jeannette Moore, Lorena Romero, Claudia Posadas, Stephanie Hiett, Kathrynn Solis, Elizabeth Ramirez Segura,

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2868/


This article examines the importance of indigenous knowledge and librarianship. Information professionals have a responsibility to gather and make information accessible to the rural poor in India. The first libraries in India were for emperors, major capitalists and scholars (Hangshing, 2019). However, after India’s independence from the British, the first public library was established. The Delhi Public library opened in 1951. (Hangshing, 2019). It was the hope that the Delhi Public Library could provide “…modern technologies to Indian conditions and to serve as a model public library for Asia” (Hangshing, 2019, p. 9). By 1954, there were about 32,000 libraries in India which housed about 7.1 million books (Hangshing, 2019). Not only did the libraries offer an incredible collection of materials, but they had made significant progress in creating “…networks at local, regional and national levels to deploy information and communication technologies and to build electronic information sources” (Hangshing, 2019, p. 12).

However, with all this progress, there still were not indigenous libraries or access to that knowledge. Indigenous curriculum is hard to find in professional programs in India and most native knowledge is oral, not written, making it difficult to gather this specific type of information (Hangshing, 2019). Hangshing writes about the necessity for information professionals to go beyond the norm to “…incorporate the needs of indigenous culture and intellectual sovereignty” (Hangshing, 2019, p. 13). For example, hiring diverse staff that represents the clientele is one way to create library environments that recognize native people (Hangshing, 2019).

International Perspective

This article represents an international perspective with research done by Hangshing (2019), Wani (2008), Banerjee (1996), and Bhatt (1995), among others. Additional information in this article was provided by the Indian Library Association, the International Indigenous Librarians Forum, the University Grant Commision of Britain, and the Galiwin’ku Indigenous Knowledge Centre. Finally, the author compared the establishment and function of the public libraries in India with libraries in South Africa, Nigeria, Australia, and Canada.

Core Research Question(s)

This article begins with the question, “Who are the indigenous people?” Though this answer varies from country to country, in India, it is particularly important since there is not one specific group that is recognized as such. Another core research question is, “How does India, with an incredibly established preservation system, maintain and disseminate cultural information of indigenous people when in fact they do not widely acknowledge specific autochthonous groups?”

The article also brings to light the lack of preservation of relevant cultural information in India, especially for the indigenous communities there. However, one of the core responsibilities libraries have is collecting, preserving, and disseminating indigenous knowledge, as well as imparting the value, contribution, and importance of indigenous people and culture to all groups, indigenous or otherwise (Hangshing 2019, p. 3). The article then asks the question, “How do libraries successfully transmit cultural information to the next generation(s) and how can libraries continue to serve the indigenous communities’ interests first and foremost?”


Jose R. Martinez Cobo (1986) is credited in this piece with having one of the most widely cited definitions of indigenous peoples:
Indigenous communities, people and nations are those which, having historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system (Hangshing, p.3).

Hangshing acknowledges the categorizing of such peoples by the Indian government. While the United Nations estimates that there are more than 370 million indigenous people worldwide, India does not consider a specific section of that population as ‘indigenous people’ but the whole country and all its people as indigenous (Hangshing, p.8). The article describes India’s administrative category of “Scheduled Tribes” (STs) pointing out how the category is used to administer constitutional privileges, protect, and benefit specific sections of people “…historically considered disadvantaged and backward” (Hangshing, p.8).

The article draws on the examples of the State Library of Queensland, in Australia, which established and implemented Indigenous Knowledge Centers, and the USA National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) which examined library services on American Indian reservations. Though indigenous tribes have not been defined by the Indian government, Scheduled Tribe (ST) status is identified on the basis of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness (Hangshing, p.8).
The article describes librarianship in India as going back to the sixth century A.D.. Hangshing examines India’s first university libraries at the Universities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, after the colonization by the British. However, he marks the establishment of the Delhi Public Library as specifically significant to the country’s establishment of accessible librarianship and effective public library legislation development (Hangshing, p.10). In addition, the Madras Public Library Act of 1948, was the first library legislation in India that sparked the enactment of Public Libraries Acts throughout the country of India. This legislation raised library services standards, established professional development opportunities for librarians, and provided for better service conditions for librarians in India.
Hangshing also examines the efforts of people in rural areas of India which have contributed to the protection and preservation of traditional histories and languages, specifically the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Furthermore, staffing India’s libraries with diverse staff that represent the community, ensures diversity and equitable access to information for all of the scheduled tribes in India, including the rural areas that traditionally share knowledge verbally.

Findings and Conclusions

India has the largest population of indigenous persons on the planet. The author explains that the Indian government does not recognize indigenous tribes, but rather refers to them as “Scheduled Tribes.” The term “traditional knowledge” then becomes very relevant in India’s libraries with the need to “protect the ancient and traditional knowledge of the country from exploitation through biopiracy and unethical patents” (Hangshing, p. 13).
Hangshing provides extensive research on the history of libraries in India, which is a significant component in understanding the lack of current resources for indigenous cultures. The author claims that the lack of “focus on libraries relevant for rendering explicit services for the indigenous local communities’ remains neglected. There is little indigenous curriculum content within the professional programme” (Hangshing, p. 13). Most libraries in India include indigenous collections of songs, dances, and ways of living of various tribes. These collections, however, exist without “consent of the original stakeholders and consequently leads to misconception and misrepresentation” (Hangshing, p. 12).
Hangshing concludes the article by calling on Indian librarians and professionals to step out of their comfort zones and focus on the communities that need their services the most. The author demands Indian librarians disregard jurisdictional barriers and protect a community that is not being taken care of by their government. As public professionals, Hangshing declares, librarians hold the duty of extending knowledge and information to all local communities, and that does not omit indigeneous Indian populations.

What American Libraries can Learn

Librarians need to continue to create spaces that are hubs of communication, as well as be collectors and protectors of the cultures that are part of the communities they serve. From this article, American Libraries can learn that materials must be collected ethically. Additionally, it is important that what the library has, matches what the community wants, and reflects the community it is serving. Furthermore, American Libraries, like those in India and elsewhere, need to promote cultural awareness and identity within society. “Libraries can help in collecting, preserving, and disseminating indigenous knowledge and publicizing the value, contribution, and importance of indigenous culture to both non-indigenous and indigenous people” (Hangshing, p. 3). It is important that libraries use their influence to “raise awareness about indigenous knowledge, document indigenous knowledge, develop digital libraries based on indigenous knowledge, identify indigenous knowledge specialists, establish the value of indigenous knowledge, and build capacity to develop indigenous knowledge” (Hangshing, p. 4).

American libraries can further learn from the development of Knowledge Centers. This was done in Australia and it “raised the profile of indigenous people in libraries […] and increased indigenous employment and training opportunities” (Hangshing, p. 5). Another way to improve ways of serving indigenous people, is to include them in the programming and development of legislation related to the information services that are being planned for their own community. “Groups of indigenous people in countries around the world are developing their own library organizations for the purpose of sharing and supporting the development of libraries and library services that serve their particular interests” (Hangshing, p. 11).

Finally, American Libraries can learn that though there are challenges to incorporating the needs of indigenous cultures, even so, “professional[s need] to come out of their comfort zone and initiate new approach[es] to render services for indigenously developed knowledge” (Hangshing, p. 13). There are so many ways to better support this community of people so that they will have equitable access to resources, the development of culturally appropriate materials and services, and have the multilingual materials they need. American Libraries must make sure to break down the barriers so that they represent the patrons the library serves and in turn, those people can become leaders in their community and the LIS profession.


Banerjee, D. (1996). The Story of Libraries in India. Daedalus,125(4), 353-361. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20027402

Bhatt, R.K. (1995). History and Development of Libraries in India. New Delhi, Mittal Publications. (pp. 130-131).

Hangshing, J. (2019). “Towards Indigenous Librarianship: Indian Perspective”. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2868

Wani, Z.A. (2008). Development of Public Libraries in India. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). (pp. 1-2) Retrieved from: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1168&context=libphilprac

An Analytical Study of Some NGOs’/NPOs’ Contributions by promoting Library Activities at Disadvantageous Areas in Vietnam to Create Potential and Lifelong Learners

Reviewed By: Curtis Driscoll, Matt Grills, Ahmed Jalloh, Mariah Robbins

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2032&context=libphilprac

Library Development in Vietnam

Article Synopsis
Hossain (2013) examines non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations (NPOs) contribution to libraries in Vietnam for the sake of educational development and access to information. NGOs/NPOs assist through services and education to help bridge the gaps in the library system. The academic missions of libraries and NGOs/NPOs in Vietnam are now increasingly similar which is crucial for the educational improvement of the country. Both acquire and organize information used throughout the country to improve society, expose people to new ideas, and new ways of thinking. However, some libraries in Vietnam have no unified policy for the development of staff, training, programs, and regulations of libraries. The author argues that the many NGOs/NPOs in the country step in to help fill the gap to ensure a better library and education process for the citizens. Many have already started working with libraries and the government to help improve library systems.
NGOs/NPOs and libraries provide literacy and educational advancements and the chance for lifelong learning that can lead to more research, ideas, and creativity in a society. NGOs/NPOs in Vietnam provide library materials needed to build, renovate, and help libraries, including training librarians and providing modern materials and programs. NGOs/NPOs are an integral part of the Vietnam library system. Many NGOs/NPOs help Vietnam society in community development and are part of an informal education network to increase information literacy. The first speaking mobile library for the blind at the General Library of Ho Chi Minh City and the Samsung “Smart Library Program” are NGO/NPO programs used specifically in Vietnam to help address issues and needs in their specific information communities (Hossain, 2013, pg. 10). Furthermore, NGOs/NPOs like the Singapore International Foundation Mobile library help bring new access to the internet for the younger population (Hossain, pg. 11). Vietnam also has a long history of libraries working to help the public, starting with the French in Indochina and its national system today. Vietnam’s library system has over 23,000 state-funded libraries and over 25,000 people working in library services (Hossain, pg. 5).
The article shows the relationship between NGOs/NPOs and libraries in Vietnam and how these organizations are a fundamental part of public libraries and overall education improvements. This is different from how NGOs/NPOs work with libraries in America. The library system in Vietnam has different challenges regarding uniformity and reaching people that NGOs/NPOs help to fill. This article provides an international perspective and examples of how NGOs/NPOs and libraries here in the United States could partner to improve libraries and the services they provide.

Research Question
Hossain researched how many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations (NPOs) were involved in campaigns to increase Vietnamese literacy rates and lifelong learning. Many of these organizations tackled their mission through “building, renovating or patronizing libraries, providing books and other library resources including trained librarians throughout Vietnam” (pg. 6). He sought to explain why NGOs/NPOs focused on school and community library use as the means for fostering lifelong learning. And by discovering how they facilitate lifelong learning in children, Hossain investigates the impact it has had on libraries in Vietnam.

Research Methods
To answer the research question regarding the impact that NGOs and NPOs have had on the literacy rates and lifelong learning of the Vietnamese people, Hossain used several methodologies. These included collecting primary data from these organizations from the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations-Non-Governmental Organizations (VUFO-NGO) Resource Center Vietnam, and then creating an email questionnaire. In tandem with these efforts, the researcher collected literature sources from the internet and local newspapers reports (Hossain, pg. 6). The subject group consisted of 21 NGOs/NPOs that were targeted, with 14 of these groups responding, generating a response rate of 66.6% (pg. 6). The researcher presented 7 study questions, analyzing all the data after the surveys had been returned.
The data that was collected was largely provided by the responding NGOs/NPOs; however, it should be noted that a small number of data was collected from the responding organization’s websites. This cross collection of data also was affected by two other factors: 1) Not all of the responding organizations could provide an exact number of beneficiaries related to the library programs they provided, and; 2) the researcher could not physically visit the areas where these organizations worked (Hossain, pg. 7).
Such considerations should be considered when discussing the primary study questions examined by the researcher. These questions included: 1) How many libraries did the NGO/NPO build/renovate in Vietnam; 2) How many books did the NGO/NPO donate; 3) How library personnel had been trained by the NGO/NPO, and; 4) What was the number of beneficiary affected by the NGO/NPO library program/activities (Hossain, pg. 6). Each of these questions was directed at answering the overall research question presented by Hossain.

Finding and Conclusion
The author’s data displays exactly which reading/library programs NGOs/NPOs created to build/renovate libraries, provide books and train librarians. In total, there were ten NGOs/NPOs programs that built 743 libraries (Hossain, pg. 7-8). These organizations also donated over 1,793,543 books and trained 400 librarians (Hossain, pg. 9-10). The significance of these contributions is the positive impact they have had on literacy rates in Vietnam. The author explains how reading is directly correlated to the presence of a full-time librarian (Hossain, 2013).
The study shows that the Vietnamese government should encourage NGOs/NPOs to collaborate with libraries to enhance learning and the development of communities. And it should collaborate with these organizations in order to enhance libraries and ensure the academic success of Vietnam. The author recommends that Vietnamese library schools should offer more advanced degrees in library science such as a MPhil and a PhD (Hossain, pg. 14). He claims that Vietnamese NGOs/NPOs have limited access to public resources and are not accepted/trusted by the government. However, both are involved in the development of the country. Lastly, Hossain mentions that improved communication between the government and NGOs/NPOs would promote better working conditions for the Vietnamese people (pg. 15).

What We Can Learn
American library professionals can learn a lot from global practice about designing services for diverse populations and as evidenced by this research study. One of the most notable aspects of this study that American library professionals can borrow is the concept of a public-private-nonprofit sector collaboration. These very powerful sectors can all work together to enhance public library services and benefit the community. For example, a private sector organization like Microsoft collaborating with a public organization (library) to upgrade the library’s computer software; a nonprofit like YMCA will then provide resources for a computer class at the library. In these partnerships every organization benefit and it bridges the digital divide in a community. Other areas that we can learn from include:
● Libraries partnering with NGOs/NPOs in the United States to enhance lifelong learning and literacy rates.
● Libraries can seek help from these organizations to help fill the gaps in funding, resources, programs and services.
● Libraries have closed in poor and racially diverse neighborhoods and rural counties, whereas new libraries are opened in white, affluent neighborhoods or metropolitan areas (Adkins, Haggerty and Haggerty, 2014, p. 7). By utilizing NGOs/NPOs, they could reopen libraries that had to close their doors.
● When working with an NGO or NPO, it is important to keep accurate track of data to show which groups are reached by programs and activities.
● Greater data on results can help to focus the organization for better service.
● Organizations can see greater success when they are able to demonstrate that they achieve results from their work and can effectively communicate this with examples.


Adkins, D. C., Haggerty, K. C., & Haggerty, T. M. (2014). The influence of community demographics on new public library facilities. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 51(1), 1-8. DOI: 10.1002/meet.2014.14505101050

Hossain, Z. (2013). An analytical study of some NGOs’/NPOs’ contributions by promoting library activities at disadvantageous areas in Vietnam to create potential and lifelong learners. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), 864. 1-17. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/864

Public library and private space: Homeless queer youth navigating information access and identity in Toronto

Reviewed By: Linda Daguerre, Jeanene DeFine, Jenell Heimbach, Gloria Montez, Kyrie Rhodes, Julia Riley

Link to article: http://library.ifla.org/2144/1/114-walsh-en.pdf

Article Synopsis

While one often hears of the term “passing” in relation to transgender people who appear to be cis-gender, it can be used in different contexts. Passing is when a person can fit into a group different from their own or how they identify: gender, sexual orientation, race, class, disability, or, as is often the case with LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) homeless youth, that they are passing as having secure housing. The reason one might want to fit into another group is for physical protection. For example, in 2019 twenty-six transgender people were murdered in the United States (Human Rights Campaign, 2020). Another reason one might want to pass is emotional protection from having to justify your identity or deal with people who don’t accept you. This is a particularly important motivation for teenagers, who want to fit in. The paper “Public Library and Private Space: Homeless Queer Youth Navigating Information Access and Identity in Toronto (Walsh, 2018) is an ethnographic study of homeless LGBTQ youth in Toronto, Canada. It explores their need to pass and how public libraries may inhibit their information seeking, due to its public nature. Lastly, this paper suggests what libraries can do to meet homeless LGBTQ youth’s needs for safety, privacy and inclusion.

How this Article Represents an International Perspective

This article was originally published in 2018, in conjunction with the 84th World Library & Information Congress (WLIC), a conference hosted by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (International Federation of Library Associations, 2018). The International Federation of Library Associations, or IFLA, publishes global articles on the subject of information science, which connects international information professionals to one another, and to global library news and research. Though full-text articles are published in English, IFLA translates abstracts into Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish (IFLA, n.d.). This article is written by a faculty member at the University of Toronto, in Canada, and focuses on the Toronto LGBTQ homeless community in public and academic libraries, as well as businesses. The article references North American concepts of libraries, and common expectations of public libraries in the US and Canada, including that libraries are valued for providing access to media and being quiet places to study (Walsh, 2018). Additionally, the article mentions the international stigma surrounding use of the public library by individuals experiencing homelessness, citing San Francisco as an example in addition to Toronto (Walsh, 2018).

Core Research Questions

Who makes up the LGBTQ homeless youth?

How are public libraries inhibiting the information-seeking needs for LGBTQ homeless youth?

What are the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth?

What are the informational needs of LGBTQ homeless youth?

What is the theory of information practice?

What is the definition of a public library?

Why aren’t public libraries considered “safe” spaces for LGBTQ homeless youth?

Why do LGBTQ homeless youth feel the need to hide or “pass”?

What is “passing”?

Why are LGBTQ homeless youth not finding private space in public libraries?

Where are LGBTQ homeless youth going for information?

Why are LGBTQ homeless youth seeking information and privacy from academic libraries?

Why was the Apple Store a popular place for LGBT homeless youth to go?

What behaviors are LGBTQ homeless youth practicing that might make them unwelcome in public libraries?

Why do LGBTQ homeless youth prefer non-public library spaces?

How do cisgendered, heterosexual patrons view LGBTQ homeless youth?

What is the goal of the public library?

How can public libraries support LGBTQ homeless youth?

Methods Used to Answer the Research Questions

To understand the relationship between libraries and homeless LGBTQ youth, a study was launched that spanned 2013-2014 that blended observations, research, and interviews. The study was considered exploratory due to the overall lack of knowledge of the subject group. Homeless LGBTQ youth do not outwardly express any clear distinguishable features that would separate them from a homeless teen, a member of the LGBTQ community, or a mainstream youth living with their parents. This is often because they do not want to be recognized or categorized into the demographic so to avoid discrimination, negative stereotypes, or abuse. Due to these factors the study began as broad as possible and slowly shrunk the more the researchers learned. The clearest and most accurate observations came from an organized weekly drop-in program hosted at the library. Those involved consisted of eleven queer and/or trans young adults who were either homeless at the time or had been in the past. They had partaken in one-on-one semi structured interviews which were then analyzed, along with field notes, and photographs in a technique that was established by Emerson, Fretz and Shaw, experts in writing ethnographic field notes.

Findings and Conclusions

The findings gained from the observations and conversations with the LGBTQ homeless youth user shed light on the need for inclusive spaces in the public library. Benjamin Walsh discovered the LGBTQ youth user periodically uses the public library but prefers spaces that allow them to be seen as they choose to be seen, not as a problem or “homeless” (2018). The public library offers public spaces for all and in this way the public library carries the stigma of a place homeless people go. Walsh found this stigma of homelessness to be a contributing factor as to why the LGBTQ homeless youth preferred the Apple Store and academic libraries (2018). These spaces allow them to be more authentic in their identity. Youth can move freely and privately in these spaces. The public library presents a barrier in which they find themselves faced with their homelessnes and exposure to their identity (Walsh, 2018).

Walsh concludes; librarians can re-establish those important connections by going to youth shelters, hiring LGBTQ staff to do outreach and programming, build empathy for the LGBTQ experience through professional development, create private spaces, and take the time to get to know them. The library is a place where strong connections can be made. The commitment is already in the mission so it’s time to adapt those commitments to all users (Walsh,2018).

What American Libraries Can Learn from Global Practice

In an effort for American libraries to assist and recognize the LGBTQ youth communities, it is crucial to start at the beginning; this point that has been ascertained by the information in this article based on the Toronto library system. Globally, the examination of this demographic of library patrons has indicated their preference of areas where they feel safe from scrutiny, victimization and judgement (Walls & Bell, 2011). A location such as the Apple Store has proven to be a preference over public libraries due to the fact that adequate time can be spent at these locations searching for information without having to share their identities but also not having to conceal them (Walsh, 2014). Libraries might benefit from examining unique infrastructures such as this.

Public libraries in the United States, such as San Francisco who purchase defensive architecture to keep the homeless population away should examine and reassess their approach (Gee, 2017). To reestablish a welcoming and “user friendly” space, judgement and prejudice can only add to information poverty which is not synonymous for libraries. As noted in this study, a step towards embracing our homeless LGBTQ youth and fulfilling their information needs would be to focus on the library staff. Enacting outreach programs and training by employing young LGBTQ staff who have personal experience and knowledge in this distinct community, can be the bridge needed to close these gaps, returning these young members to a safe and comfortable place free from the outdoor elements where information is readily available, programs and education is attainable, and their presence is truly welcomed.


Gee, A. (2017). Homeless people have found safety in a library – but locals want them gone. The Guardian (International Edition). Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/24/libraries-homelessness-deterlandscape-designs-san-francisco

Human Rights Campaign. (2020). Violence against the transgender community in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2019

International Federation of Library Associations. (2018). World Library & Information Congress. Retrieved from https://2018.ifla.org/

International Federation of Library Associations. (n.d.). Journal Description. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/description/IFL

Walls, N. E., & Bell, S. (2011). Correlates of engaging in survival sex among homeless youth and young adults. Journal of sex research, 48(5), 423-436.

Walsh, B. (2014). Information out in the cold: Exploring the information practices of homeless queer, trans and two-spirit youth in Toronto. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Toronto. Retrieved from: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/68014

Walsh, B. (2018, June 27). Public library and private space: Homeless queer youth navigating information access and identity in Toronto. Retrieved from