What is it about?

The purpose of this paper is to describe how recent immigrants and refugees to Canada (“newcomers”) use the facilities of a large, urban public library. As the library previously surveyed its general user populations using a similar questionnaire, the responses by newcomers are compared to those from other library users.

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Why is it important?

Researchers worked closely with library management to develop questions based on decision usefulness. An earlier in-house study allowed comparisons to be made between branch use by newcomers and general library users. Canadian studies into government policy, along with immigrant and refugee studies, provide context for the survey results.


The study was initiated at the request of professional librarian managers who required a better understanding of unique needs of new Canadians. The study stimulated a personal interest in the lived experiences of people who arrived in Canada, including that of my wife. Furthermore, I became ware that that regular library statistics do not effectively capture the use of public library facilities by recent immigrants, refugees, and visitors.

Faculty Member John D Shepherd
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Settling in: how newcomers use a public library, Library Management, November 2018, Emerald,
DOI: 10.1108/lm-01-2018-0001.
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