Reaching the disadvantaged and disengaged in times of crisis: towards an understanding of information behaviours to inform interventions.

Steven Buchanan, Katherine Jane Loudon, Lauren Tuckerman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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A report on three UK studies seeking to better understand information behaviours in disadvantaged and disengaged circumstances, explore issues of social integration, and inform public library interventions. Heightened access and internalised behavioural barriers are reported beyond those common to the general population, the former influenced by technology and literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms; barriers consigning many of our subjects to a stratified existence within an impoverished (small) information world. There is evidence suggestive of deception, risk-taking, secrecy, and situational relevance in information behaviours, and a reliance on bonding social capital characteristically exclusive and inward facing. In such circumstances public libraries can provide a key information access and support role, and community role, but there is little evidence of their use. Findings suggest that a rethink is needed in how public libraries meet the information needs of people in disadvantaged and disengaged circumstances. We suggest that a more proactive outreach approach is needed that sensitively addresses issues of trust, confidence and self-efficacy. Action-oriented interdisciplinary research appears warranted to support such activity, which importantly, focuses on influencing information behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015
EventInternational Federation Library Associations World Library Information Congress (IFLA WLIC 2015) - Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa., South Africa
Duration: 15 Aug 201521 Aug 2015


ConferenceInternational Federation Library Associations World Library Information Congress (IFLA WLIC 2015)
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town, South Africa.


  • information behaviour
  • information poverty
  • information literacy

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