Significant attention has recently been focused on establishing the value of public library services, and in most cases, these efforts have explored their topic using currency-based measures. This paper describes a classroom project that introduces an alternate perspective related to the topic of tolerance as conceptualized by the U.S. Southern Poverty Law Center and UNESCO’s Declaration on Principles on Tolerance. The issue that interested the students was the information needs of people who might be considered different or distinct within some communities, and for this project they focused on children with an interest in LGBT materials, using two related research questions: 1) the characteristics of public libraries that appear to be most and least likely to collect materials of interest to these children, and 2) whether collection is more likely to be correlated with library or community characteristics? Although most of the students had little experience with research or statistical analysis, the topic was sufficiently interesting to sustain their attention through the development and statistical analysis of data elements that combined library collection, U.S. Census, and U.S. Public Library Survey data. Student feedback indicated that the students found the work challenging, that they felt that they had a better understanding of the requirements of original research, and that, although the results were disheartening, they would be more likely to pursue a research project in the future based on this experience.
Published in The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Annual Conference, 2013.
Copyright © 2013 by Jennifer Weil Arns and Karen Miller. This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Weil Arns, J., & Miller, K. (2013). Dear repose and absent solace: A classroom exploration of U.S. Public Library LGBT collecting behavior. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Annual Conference. http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/215/