DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Outcome 5: Reference and User Services


"Retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize information resources to fulfill an information needs assessment; evaluate the usefulness of these resources to the user."


The gap between the number of people who think the library is important and the number of people who have actually used the library is huge. Comparing a Pew Research study conducted in 2013 and an American Library Association survey done in 2012 showed that, while 95% of people think libraries are important to society, only 52% have actually used their library in the past six months (Roskill, 2014). So why does this divide exist? Poor user experience is one of the reasons, and the ever increasing digital divide is also a contributing factor. 


As the need for information grows, so will the need for individuals who can repackage the information retrieved into "bite-sized chunks" of useable information. One of the ways that librarians can do that is to understand how users experience the Internet and information retrieval as a whole. 


Libraries have been curating information for ages, yet we ourselves are not bridging the digital divide as efficiently as we should. To expect our digitally illiterate patrons to utilize our resources, we must simplify their user experience by providing easy access to the resources we promote to them. Libraries—especially public libraries—must step into the roles of content creator, provider, and curator. They must also understand that even with the majority of public libraries providing public internet access (IPAC, 2013) digital literacy cannot occur without access to digital resources and proper training. By creating user experiences that allow patrons to expand their digital literacy skills, librarians can begin to train the members of their community to become productive members of an increasingly technologically advanced society.



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.