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Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Bharat Mehra, Bradley Wade Bishop and Robert P. Partee

This chapter presents a gap analysis of the perspectives of small businesses and rural librarians in Tennessee in order to develop an implementation blueprint of a public

Abstract

This chapter presents a gap analysis of the perspectives of small businesses and rural librarians in Tennessee in order to develop an implementation blueprint of a public library small business toolkit, a resource that the state’s rural public libraries can create for small businesses in the future.

The chapter reports on select comparison data sets collected via two exploratory online surveys with small businesses and rural public librarians, respectively, in an externally funded planning grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Leadership Grants for Libraries (Research category) to the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Findings from the gap analysis of the perspectives of small businesses and rural librarians provide similarities and differences between the two stakeholder groups in terms of

  • existing assistance needs of small businesses,

  • information-related challenges small businesses experience,

  • desired public library use, and

  • information-related components of a public library small business toolkit.

existing assistance needs of small businesses,

information-related challenges small businesses experience,

desired public library use, and

information-related components of a public library small business toolkit.

The study is a unique example of action research based on varied levels of participation in rural research and action, learning through collaboration, community inquiry into everyday experiences and potential impact, use of mixed methods, and the situated nature of applications and concrete outcomes. It serves as a pilot case experience and prototype assessment test bed to expand strategies for the entire Appalachian region and other rural environments in the future.

Details

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Karen Miller

This chapter explores differences in fringe, distant, and remote rural public library assets for asset-based community development (ABCD) and the relationships of those…

Abstract

This chapter explores differences in fringe, distant, and remote rural public library assets for asset-based community development (ABCD) and the relationships of those assets to geographic regions, governance structures, and demographics.

The author analyzes 2013 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture using nonparametric statistics and data mining random forest supervised classification algorithms.

There are statistically significant differences between fringe, distant, and remote library assets. Unexpectedly, median per capita outlets (along with service hours and staff) increase as distances from urban areas increase. The Southeast region ranks high in unemployment and poverty and low in median household income, which aligns with the Southeast’s low median per capita library expenditures, staff, hours, inventory, and programs. However, the Southeast’s relatively high percentage of rural libraries with at least one staff member with a Master of Library and Information Science promises future asset growth in those libraries. State and federal contributions to Alaska libraries propelled the remote Far West to the number one ranking in median per capita staff, inventory, and programs.

This study is based on IMLS library system-wide data and does not include rural library branches operated by nonrural central libraries.

State and federal contributions to rural libraries increase economic, cultural, and social capital creation in the most remote communities. On a per capita basis, economic capital from state and federal agencies assists small, remote rural libraries in providing infrastructure and services that are more closely aligned with libraries in more populated areas and increases library assets available for ABCD initiatives in otherwise underserved communities.

Even the smallest rural library can contribute to ABCD initiatives by connecting their communities to outside resources and creating new economic, cultural, and social assets.

Analyzing rural public library assets within their geographic, political, and demographic contexts highlights their potential contributions to ABCD initiatives.

Details

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Brian Real and R. Norman Rose

This chapter analyzes major trends in rural public libraries, beginning with a discussion of changes in service offerings since the advent of the Internet. These outlets…

Abstract

This chapter analyzes major trends in rural public libraries, beginning with a discussion of changes in service offerings since the advent of the Internet. These outlets are now better able to help patrons with their employment, education, and civic engagement needs than they have been at any point in the past. However, rural public libraries still lag behind their peers in broadband speeds, technological infrastructure, and various forms of service and training offerings that use these technologies. The difference in public offerings is not only due to problems of technology, but also limited funding for staff, aging and small buildings, and a lack of state and regional support to allow these libraries to achieve economies of scale. As libraries nationwide shift to focus more on public programming and digital offerings, these factors will be barriers to rural outlets keeping up with modern trends in the field.

This study uses Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Digital Inclusion Survey data to analyze trends among rural public libraries. The authors returned to the original data sets from these studies to find nuance between types of rural outlets, primarily dividing this information based on libraries’ distances from more densely populated areas. These statistical data are supplemented through qualitative interviews with professionals in the rural library field. Key findings include:

  • Rural public libraries have made major strides in improving broadband quality and increasing related service offerings since the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s.

  • Rural libraries still lag behind those in more populated areas in terms of technical infrastructure and training offerings, and this becomes more acute among those located farther from population centers.

  • As the public library field places a greater emphasis on public programs, rural libraries’ small and aging buildings will likely be a barrier to them keeping up with their peers.

  • The lack of regional consortia and strong state libraries in some parts of the country limits rural libraries’ abilities to achieve economies of scale and negatively impacts the range of services they can offer their patrons.

Rural public libraries have made major strides in improving broadband quality and increasing related service offerings since the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s.

Rural libraries still lag behind those in more populated areas in terms of technical infrastructure and training offerings, and this becomes more acute among those located farther from population centers.

As the public library field places a greater emphasis on public programs, rural libraries’ small and aging buildings will likely be a barrier to them keeping up with their peers.

The lack of regional consortia and strong state libraries in some parts of the country limits rural libraries’ abilities to achieve economies of scale and negatively impacts the range of services they can offer their patrons.

Rural libraries have often been combined together in statistical analyses of their service offerings. This chapter shows nuance between these outlets, demonstrating that libraries that are distant and remote from population centers face more difficulties than those on the fringes of cities and suburbs. Likewise, while much of the advocacy surrounding rural libraries has focused on the need for improved broadband and technological infrastructure, this study moves on to study how building infrastructure, low staff funding, and a lack of mechanisms for collaboration will hinder libraries’ abilities to keep up with modern changes in the field.

Details

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2003

Rose Bini Okiy

Nigeria is a developing country where the majority of the population live in rural areas. The majority of these rural dwellers are either non‐literate or semi‐literate…

2886

Abstract

Nigeria is a developing country where the majority of the population live in rural areas. The majority of these rural dwellers are either non‐literate or semi‐literate. The need to involve them in the national development process cannot be overemphasized. This can be achieved through the identification of the information needs of rural dwellers and the provision of innovative rural public library services to improve their level of literacy and education and to enhance their ability to use practical information relevant to their daily lives.

Details

Library Review, vol. 52 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Bharat Mehra, Vandana Singh, Natasha Hollenbach and Robert P. Partee

This chapter discusses the application of community informatics (CI) principles in the rural Southern and Central Appalachian (SCA) region to further the teaching of…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter discusses the application of community informatics (CI) principles in the rural Southern and Central Appalachian (SCA) region to further the teaching of information and communication technologies (ICT) literacy concepts in courses that formed part of two externally funded grants, “Information Technology Rural Librarian Master’s Scholarship Program Part I” (ITRL) and “Part II” (ITRL2), awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to the School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Tennessee (UT).

Design/Methodology/Approach

The chapter documents ICT use in ITRL and ITRL2 to extend librarian technology literacy training, allowing these public information providers to become change agents in the twenty-first century. It discusses aspects of CI that influenced these two projects and shaped the training of future rural library leaders embedded in traditionally underrepresented areas to further social justice and progressive changes in the region’s rural communities.

Findings

The chapter demonstrates the role that CI principles played in the context of ITRL and ITRL2 from project inception to the graduation of the rural librarians with examples of tangible IT services/products that the students developed in their courses that were directly applicable and tailored to their SCA contexts.

Originality/Value

ITRL and ITRL2 provided a unique opportunity to apply a CI approach to train information librarians as agents of change in the SCA regions to further economic and cultural development via technology and management competencies. These change agents will continue to play a significant role in community building and community development efforts in the future.

Abstract

Details

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2004

Kerry Benstead, Rachel Spacey and Anne Goulding

This research paper explores alternatives to the mobile library service in providing a public library service to rural communities in England and the impacts of best…

3245

Abstract

This research paper explores alternatives to the mobile library service in providing a public library service to rural communities in England and the impacts of best value, public library standards and social inclusion policy on provision. A questionnaire survey was completed by librarians in public library authorities in England with rural hinterlands. The data derived were supplemented by follow‐up case studies. It was found that achieving social inclusion objectives and the results of best value reviews were the greatest motivating factors for much of the development of alternative library service delivery in rural areas, and that village halls were the most popular place for co‐location of library services. ICT was felt to have impacted positively on rural library service delivery and its use was demonstrated in co‐location facilities and learning centres. However, some authorities fail to consult users and non‐users in rural locations. This paper provides public library practitioners and researchers with a picture of public library service provision to rural area communities and shows the impact of Government‐driven policy. It appears that there is varying appreciation by public library authorities of rural communities’ distinct nature.

Details

New Library World, vol. 105 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 November 2017

Jennifer L. Jenkins

This chapter presents a historical analysis of how rural and small libraries have traditionally used nontheatrical film, including a discussion of how bookmobiles…

Abstract

This chapter presents a historical analysis of how rural and small libraries have traditionally used nontheatrical film, including a discussion of how bookmobiles presented these materials to persons in broader service areas. After establishing the entertainment and educational benefits patrons historically received from the screening of these materials, the author transitions to discuss how recently established regional film archives and other organizations have made significant strides in recent years in preserving motion pictures that document local and regional culture. The chapter concludes with an analysis of how rural and small libraries can work with regional motion picture archives to design screenings and other programs that fulfill traditional roles of entertaining and educating patrons while also reaffirming local cultural identity.

Summative research and archival sources provide the foundations for the discussion of the role and purpose of film in rural and small libraries. Specific libraries and collections serve as case studies.

  • Small-gauge motion pictures were popular with rural library and bookmobile patrons during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century, bringing entertainment and information to persons who normally had limited options in these areas due to geographic barriers.

  • Regional film archives and nontheatrical film advocacy organizations have emerged during recent decades, collecting previously overlooked materials that can help reaffirm local and regional culture.

  • Several regional film archives have already collaborated with rural and small libraries as well as other local institutions, providing a roadmap for libraries that wish to expand their cultural-heritage-oriented ­programming.

Small-gauge motion pictures were popular with rural library and bookmobile patrons during the first three-quarters of the twentieth century, bringing entertainment and information to persons who normally had limited options in these areas due to geographic barriers.

Regional film archives and nontheatrical film advocacy organizations have emerged during recent decades, collecting previously overlooked materials that can help reaffirm local and regional culture.

Several regional film archives have already collaborated with rural and small libraries as well as other local institutions, providing a roadmap for libraries that wish to expand their cultural-heritage-oriented ­programming.

Numerous scholars have published studies on regional and local nontheatrical film in recent decades, but relatively little has been written to connect these films with their value to rural public libraries and their constituents. By beginning with a historical analysis of how films have traditionally been of value to these audiences, the author is able to transition to presenting ideas on how nontheatrical works can continue to be of value in rural contexts. This has practical applications for rural libraries and other rural cultural organizations throughout the United States.

Details

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1990

Arthur Midwinter

The links between expenditure and service provision on rural publiclibraries in Scotland are analysed, and patterns of provision betweenauthorities noted. Conclusions are…

Abstract

The links between expenditure and service provision on rural public libraries in Scotland are analysed, and patterns of provision between authorities noted. Conclusions are drawn concerning the adequacy of provision in these areas, the effects of the new community charge and patterns of public library provision.

Details

Library Review, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Saturday U. Omeluzor, Gloria O. Oyovwe-Tinuoye and Uche Emeka-Ukwu

This study aimed to assess the rural libraries and information services for rural development in Delta State, Nigeria.

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to assess the rural libraries and information services for rural development in Delta State, Nigeria.

Design methodology/approach

The study adopted both descriptive and exploratory research designs. Questionnaire, observation and structured interview guide were the major instruments for data collection. Total enumeration was used to gather data from respondents in 16 functional rural libraries in Delta State.

Findings

The study revealed the challenges that surround the rural people in accessing information in rural libraries. It showed that only 16 rural libraries were established and functional in 16 communities within the 25 local government areas. Findings also showed that the rural libraries were not able to fulfil their roles. It was evident that the information needs of the rural people which made them to access the library were not adequately met because of some hindrances such as inadequate up-to-date information materials, lack of awareness, illiteracy, language barrier, inadequate skilled personnel and inadequate infrastructure and facilities.

Practical implications

The important finding in this study is that rural libraries are the most relevant institution to disseminate information about government policies, inculcating reading habits and developing skill and knowledge of people. Therefore, underdevelopment of rural libraries and inadequate information sources and facilities will hinder access to information and development of the people who need them.

Originality value

This research is the first of its kind to assess rural libraries and information services for the development of rural people in the 16 rural libraries in Delta State of Nigeria.

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