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Bio-networking among librarians, parents, and children in a modern children’s library: a phenomenological study

Bernadette M. Guirguis (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)
Negmeldin Alsheikh (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 6 March 2023

Issue publication date: 12 April 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to understand how parents and librarians describe their lived experiences in a modern children’s library that aims to create a triad bond through the organization of multiliteracy events and activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a phenomenological case study approach using two semistructured interviews, the first with parents (n = 5) and the second with library staff (n = 5), to record their lived experiences in creating and attending literacy events and activities.

Findings

The findings indicated multiplicities of transformative and heterotypic spaces that juxtapose different yet compatible and vicarious experiences for librarians, parents and their children. The virtual and interactive features of the library fuel children’s curiosity and creativity and afford them authentic materials through a creative blend of local heritage and technology-mediated multimodal literacies. Moreover, the librarians engage in constant program evaluation and upgrades. The library environment creates a vibrant bio-network for disseminating literacy through creativity and ingenuity and affords an affinity space for community socialization.

Research limitations/implications

This study has some limitations and delimitations. The data for this study were collected during the pandemic, which affected the sample size. Moreover, the children’s views were not considered, which could broaden our understanding of the phenomena. Furthermore, the study relied on interviews as the sole source of data; other sources, such as archival data and documents, could enrich the data and increase the study’s rigor. Finally, the study is confined to only one site.

Practical implications

The study found that a “living library” philosophy with an enthusiastic and attentive staff that caters to patrons’ interests draws parents and children to visit. Additionally, unexpected fun activities that occur when sufficient children are present keep them engaged and motivated to stay and learn more. The study suggests that librarians, architects, school leaders, policymakers and educators should consider how to conceptualize, design and experience a modern library space that prioritizes literacy activities and incorporates technology to inspire children’s innovations. The findings can be applied to both public and academic libraries.

Originality/value

The findings from this study could provide researchers, teachers, administrators, librarians and artificial intelligence with a viable orientation to envision new ways of reconceptualizing public and school libraries to create affinity spaces for the literate community, especially in a non-western context such as the United Arab Emirates.

Keywords

Citation

Guirguis, B.M. and Alsheikh, N. (2023), "Bio-networking among librarians, parents, and children in a modern children’s library: a phenomenological study", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 124 No. 3/4, pp. 92-109. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-09-2022-0107

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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