Readers’ histories as a way of studying and understanding multicultural library communities

Keren Dali (School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 7 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Personal readers’ histories have long had a respected place in reading research. They add a human, personalized dimension to the studies of reading practices, often reported through aggregate findings and generalized conclusions. Moreover, they introduce a private context of readers’ lives, which complements other reading contexts (e.g. historical, socio-economic and cultural) required for an understanding of reading behaviours. The purpose of this paper, based on a selected data set from a larger reading study, is to introduce a gallery of portraits of immigrant readers with the aim to facilitate the library practice with immigrant communities.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative face-to-face intensive interviews with immigrant readers.

Findings

The knowledge of reading contexts and the opportunity to see readers as individuals rather than anonymous statistics are crucial for librarians who come in contact with multicultural populations. Personal histories can also serve as a step in building interpersonal relationships between librarians and community members.

Originality/value

The value of the study is in introducing a methodological approach which, through collecting and writing reading histories, allows librarians to gain insight into the cultural practices of multicultural communities and to adjust their work accordingly. This approach can also be used as a prototype for researching other community groups.

Keywords

Citation

Dali, K. (2016), "Readers’ histories as a way of studying and understanding multicultural library communities", Library Review, Vol. 65 No. 8/9, pp. 519-534. https://doi.org/10.1108/LR-04-2016-0035

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.