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Overcoming Information Poverty

Book Description

Overcoming Information Poverty: Investigating the Role of Public Libraries in The Twenty-First Century considers the role of public libraries in alleviating information poverty and targeting social exclusion, using a three-level information poverty framework. The book proposes a model for understanding the concept of information poverty, develops indicators for its measurement, and provides recommendations for service improvement based on analysis of public library services at macro (strategic), meso (community) and micro (individual) levels. The topic is of theoretical and practical importance when considering the changing role of public libraries today. The book is the first time a macro, meso, and micro model of information poverty indicators has been developed and applied to illustrate the impact of public libraries at strategic, community, and personal levels.



  • Stimulates thinking and debate on information poverty and how it may be addressed by public libraries, education departments, and governments
  • Uses case studies to investigate how information poverty can be tackled at the macro, meso, and micro level
  • Focuses on how strategic policies to reduce information poverty filter through to community-based interventions within branch libraries
  • Discusses mixed methods, using quantitative and qualitative data, surveys, interviews, and focus groups with library users and non-users, to conduct a three-level investigation of information poverty

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Series Page
  5. Copyright
  6. List of Figures
  7. List of Tables
  8. Preface
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Abbreviations
  11. Chapter 1. Introduction
    1. 1.1. Introduction
    2. 1.2. Background and Rationale
    3. 1.3. Information Poverty
    4. 1.4. A New Perspective on Information Poverty and Public Libraries
    5. 1.5. The Macro, Meso and Micro Framework
    6. 1.6. Research Design and Methodology: Libraries NI as the Case Study
    7. 1.7. Structure of the Book
    8. 1.8. Summary
  12. Chapter 2. Setting the Context
    1. 2.1. Introduction
    2. 2.2. Historical Context: Public Libraries and Social Inclusion
    3. 2.3. Poverty in Northern Ireland
    4. 2.4. The Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure and Libraries NI
    5. 2.5. Library Usage in Northern Ireland
    6. 2.6. Library Usage in Socially Deprived Areas
    7. 2.7. Conclusions
  13. Chapter 3. Developing an Understanding of What Information Poverty Is
    1. 3.1. Introduction
    2. 3.2. Conceptualising ‘Information’
    3. 3.3. Poverty and Information Poverty
    4. 3.4. Origins of the Concepts of ‘Information Poverty’ and the ‘Information Poor’
    5. 3.5. Information Poverty and the Information Poor in the LIS Discourse
    6. 3.6. Information Poverty: Perspectives from Policy makers and Library Staff
    7. 3.7. Information Poverty and Social Exclusion
    8. 3.8. United Kingdom Government: Access to Information and Public Libraries
    9. 3.9. Conclusions
  14. Chapter 4. Factors Creating Information Poverty
    1. 4.1. Introduction
    2. 4.2. Factors Creating Information Poverty
    3. 4.3. Physical Access to Information: Infrastructural Approaches
    4. 4.4. Social Factors Creating Information Poverty
    5. 4.5. Awareness of Information
    6. 4.6. Financial Factors Creating Information Poverty
    7. 4.7. Educational Factors Creating Information Poverty
    8. 4.8. The Skills Needed to Access Information
    9. 4.9. Barriers to Library Usage
    10. 4.10. Personal Factors Creating Information Poverty
    11. 4.11. Intellectual and Cognitive Factors Creating Information Poverty
    12. 4.12. Viewing Information Poverty as a Continuum
    13. 4.13. Information Poverty Indicators
    14. 4.14. Information Poverty Indicators and Public Libraries
    15. 4.15. Measuring the Impact of Public Library Services
    16. 4.16. A Three-Level Model of Information Poverty
    17. 4.17. Concluding Thoughts
  15. Chapter 5. Investigating Information Poverty at the Macro Level: Part 1
    1. 5.1. Introduction
    2. 5.2. Macro-Level Approaches to Information Poverty
    3. 5.3. Digital Inclusion: The Digital by Default Agenda
    4. 5.4. Northern Ireland Home ICT and Internet Access
    5. 5.5. Access to Information: Infrastructure
    6. 5.6. Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion: The TSE Strategy
    7. 5.7. Staff Skills to Tackle Social and Digital Exclusion
    8. 5.8. Conclusions
  16. Chapter 6. Information Poverty at the Macro Level: Part 2
    1. 6.1. Introduction
    2. 6.2. Lifelong Learning and Public Libraries
    3. 6.3. Supporting Learning: Developing Literacy Skills
    4. 6.4. Public Libraries and Cultural Inclusion
    5. 6.5. Information Literacy Skills and Public Libraries
    6. 6.6. Digital Literacy
    7. 6.7. Mapping the Information Poverty Indicators Framework to Libraries NI’s Information Provision and Services
    8. 6.8. Summary and Conclusions
  17. Chapter 7. Investigating Information Poverty at the Meso Level: Part 1
    1. 7.1. Introduction
    2. 7.2. Localised Information Environments
    3. 7.3. Information Seeking Within Disadvantaged Communities
    4. 7.4. Chatman’s Information Poverty Theories
    5. 7.5. Chatman’s Small-World Theories and Public Libraries
    6. 7.6. Social Participation
    7. 7.7. Strong Ties/Weak Ties Theory and Public Libraries
    8. 7.8. Public Libraries as Third Places Supporting Information Sharing
    9. 7.9. Summary and Conclusions
  18. Chapter 8. Investigating Information Poverty at the Meso Level: Part 2
    1. 8.1. Introduction
    2. 8.2. Challenges Facing Library Managers in Socially Deprived Areas
    3. 8.3. Community Partnerships
    4. 8.4. Groups That Public Libraries Could Target More Effectively
    5. 8.5. Library Services and the Elderly
    6. 8.6. Library Services to the Disabled
    7. 8.7. Outreach to the Homeless
    8. 8.8. Engagement With Lone Parents
    9. 8.9. Improving Community Outreach
    10. 8.10. Conclusions
  19. Chapter 9. Investigating Information Poverty at the Micro Level
    1. 9.1. Introduction
    2. 9.2. Public Libraries and the Unemployed
    3. 9.3. Focus Group 1: Young People Aged 18–24 Years (NEET)
    4. 9.4. Job Clubs in Libraries
    5. 9.5. Focus Group 2: The Library Job Club
    6. 9.6. Learning From Other Locations
    7. 9.7. Summary and Conclusions
  20. Chapter 10. Concluding Thoughts and Recommendations
    1. 10.1. Introduction
    2. 10.2. Summing Up
    3. 10.3. Future Challenges for Public Libraries
    4. 10.4. Recommendations for Policy and Practice
    5. 10.5. Concluding Thoughts
  21. Appendices
  22. References
  23. Index