Week 4 – Information Perspective

My chosen research area surrounds intellectual freedom in the public library, and how that can conflict with homelessness. You need to be a member of the library in order to utilize all the services a library has to offer. To become a library member you must have a permanent address. If those without a permanent address are given the capabilities to become a member irrelevant of their circumstances, will they abuse their privileges? For example, if library services are extended to those without a permanent address, how do you hold an individual accountable in terms of borrowing library material? Will the general public feel reluctant to go to public libraries if homeless people are there as well?

According to the Canadian Library Association, “It is the responsibility of libraries to guarantee the right of free expression by making available all the library’s public facilities and services to all individuals and groups who need them.” A homeless person is just as much of a citizen to their community as someone who has a permanent address.

An information perspective definitely makes a difference in my chosen research area because it’s largely involved with intellectual freedom, and access to information for all. There is a huge issue of complete access to information is someone is denied access to a permanent library card. There are an abundance of information services a library provides, and in order to utilize these services, you must be a full library member. An example of a service, specifically applicable to homeless persons would be a resume workshop, or job skills workshop. These services could be extremely helpful to someone who does not have a job, but if you’re denied access to information by being denied membership, you cannot gain valuable knowledge from these informational workshops.

Victoria Grant


1 Comment

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One response to “Week 4 – Information Perspective

  1. vangorpb

    This research question definitely could yield some fascinating conclusions, and don’t be afraid to talk about a more subjective perspective as well. Information research encourages thinking about grand thoughts like the digital divide and the need for access to information, but is also very aware of the human element, and questions of social construction. You may find that the inclusion of an address on the form for a library card is just someone completing a document in the way they believe is “right” or perhaps it is a more active attempt to prevent homeless people from spending time in libraries due to a misinformed stigma about homelessness. Luckily, information studies provides you these avenues, as you can interrogate the decision making process behind adding a permanent address to the form.

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