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Barriers to information seeking in school libraries: conflicts in perceptions and practice

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Author(s): Eric M. Meyers | Lisa P Nathan | Matthew L. Saxton

Journal: Information Research: an international electronic journal
ISSN 1368-1613

Volume: 12;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 295;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Information seeking in school libraries

ABSTRACT
Introduction. This paper investigates barriers to adolescent information seeking in high school libraries within the framework of Kuhlthau's model of intermediation. Method. In-depth interviews and corroborating observations were conducted at six high schools in the Pacific Northwest over a sixteen-month period. Analysis. The data suggest inconsistencies between teacher-librarians' self-perceptions of their role and their daily interactions with students. Harris and Dewdney's principles of information seeking are employed as an analytic framework to provide a structure for categorizing and examining these inconsistencies. Results. The identified barriers to student information seeking include a lack of collaboration, students' lack of autonomy, limited access to resources, devaluation of interpersonal sharing for academic purposes, lack of affective support, and failure to validate students' previous experience in seeking information. Conclusion. : These findings suggest future direction for pre- and in-service education of teacher-librarians to prepare them to recognize how the unique barriers within school contexts can constrain both their mediational behaviour and students' information seeking opportunities.
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