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Thai immigrants’ information seeking behaviour and perception of the public library’s role during the settlement process

Pornpimol Sirikul (Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)
Dan Dorner (School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 7 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Thai immigrants who relocated to Auckland, New Zealand, looked for and found the information they needed during their settlement process.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a qualitative methodology through semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions that were conducted with nine Thai immigrants living in the greater Auckland region. Mwarigha’s three stages of settlement and Dervin’s Sense-Making Methodology were used as theoretical frameworks for understanding the information-seeking behaviour of the Thai immigrants and their information needs and associated barriers to accessing information at different stages of the settlement process.

Findings

The information needs of Thai immigrants in Auckland were diverse based on the stage of each participant’s settlement process. The main information needs of the participants were for employment, English language-learning, housing, health and making connections. Their main information sources during settlement were family, friends and the internet. The participants saw Auckland Libraries as a useful source but did not take full benefit of the library’s services. The main barriers in accessing services were English language incompetence, lack of resources available in the Thai language, lack of time and library staff behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study will provide library and information professionals with new insights into Thai immigrants’ information-seeking behaviour and their information needs, which may contribute to providing immigrants with the information tools they need to improve the quality of their lives in New Zealand. As this study is limited to Thai immigrants in Auckland only, there is a need to conduct a study on the information needs and seeking behaviour of Thai immigrants in other locales. It may be of interest to researchers to conduct a quantitative study of a larger sample to further generalise the findings.

Originality/value

There is minimal research that specifically investigates the information needs, sources and barriers to information experienced by immigrants throughout the settlement process. This study is unique in that it focuses on a specific ethnic community of Thais. The findings of this study can be a stepping stone towards further research to gain a deeper understanding of Thai and other immigrants’ information needs, sources, barriers and their perceptions towards public libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Sirikul, P. and Dorner, D. (2016), "Thai immigrants’ information seeking behaviour and perception of the public library’s role during the settlement process", Library Review, Vol. 65 No. 8/9, pp. 535-548. https://doi.org/10.1108/LR-01-2016-0008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited