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Digital Literacy and Social Inclusion in Public Libraries: A Review of Research
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT. UiT The Arctic University of Norway. (ALMPUB-trg)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5572-8566
University of North Carolina at Greensboro. (ALMPUB-trg)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7613-066X
UiT The Arctic University of Norway. (ALMPUB-trg)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5936-6563
UiT The Arctic University of Norway. (ALMPUB-trg)
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Sustainable development
According to the author(s), the content of this publication falls within the area of sustainable development.
Abstract [en]

The practices through which people manage and enrich their everyday lives rely increasingly on their ability to make use of digital and informational resources. In policy texts, physical and intellectual access to digital information has been framed as a problem of social inclusion to which the public library may be part of the solution (Thompson et al., 2014). In library research, there is some evidence that public libraries contribute positively in strengthening social capital and participation in society among its patrons (Johnson, 2010; Vårheim, 2014; Vårheim, Steinmo & Ide, 2008).

The present study investigates how the work done by public libraries to support digital and information literacy and, thus, potentially digital and social inclusion, is portrayed in the literature.

The literature review was based on publications from 2010-2017 collected through structured searches in the databases Web of Science, Scopus, and LISA. The publications were coded through qualitative content analysis (Altheide & Schneider, 2013) starting in the following analytical questions:

  • which public library services or activities are described;
  • which groups of patrons are intended beneficiaries;
  • which methods and theoretical approaches were used;
  • what were the main findings of the study;
  • which aspects of digital and information literacies are emphasized; which kinds of knowledge, perceptions and attitudes are these literacies intended to support?

Many of the publications describe community projects in which public libraries play a leading role. Several studies address concepts such as digital inclusion and social capital, although few studies actually engage with them theoretically. The types of activities, outcomes, literacies, and beneficiaries vary greatly, but much work is focused on supporting literacies for active citizenship and employability.

This literature review is a building block in constructing a theoretical framework and a research design for empirical studies of the development of digital and information literacy activities in public libraries and the possible implications for physical and digital community participation.

References

Altheide, D. L., & Schneider, C. J. (2013). Qualitative media analysis (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

Johnson, C. A. (2010). Do public libraries contribute to social capital? A preliminary investigation into the relationship. Library & Information Science Research, 32(2), 147–155.

Thompson, K. M. et al. (2014). Digital literacy and digital inclusion: Information policy and the public library. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Vårheim, A., Steinmo, S., & Ide, E. (2008). Do libraries matter? Public libraries and the creation of social capital. Journal of Documentation, 64(6), 877–892.

Vårheim, A. (2014). Trust in libraries and trust in most people: Social capital creation in the public library. The Library Quarterly, 84(3), 258–277.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
public libraries, social participation, social capital, digital literacy, digital resources
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15496OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-15496DiVA, id: diva2:1271846
Conference
ECIL: European Conference on Information Literacy, Oulu, Finland, September 24-27, 2018
Available from: 2018-12-18 Created: 2018-12-18 Last updated: 2019-01-10Bibliographically approved

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Francke, Helena

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