This study seeks to examine, from the viewpoint of 12 adult fiction readers who are members of book clubs, how they go about selecting fiction books to borrow from the public library.
Each participant took part in an individual, semi‐structured, face‐to‐face interview. Using Williamson's Ecological Model of Information Seeking and Use as the conceptual framework, the study examined the role that fiction readers' “internal environments” and “external contexts” played in their book choices.
The selection of fiction books at the public library occurred, to a large extent, outside it. Fiction books were selected as part of everyday life information seeking, influenced by study participants' personal characteristics and circumstances as well as sources from their everyday lives, which typically included family, friends, book club and the mass media. While the public library was the main means by which study participants obtained their fiction books, it was not the first source to which they turned for ideas on what to read.
The study moves from a preoccupation of readers' actions at the public library to examine, more holistically, how everyday life information sources influence their choices of fiction books at the public library. It highlights the purposive and serendipitous dimensions of book selections and also underscores the importance of recognizing trust as a determining factor in book selection.
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