The information needs and information-seeking behaviour of community library users in Msunduzi branch libraries, Pietermaritzburg.
The purpose of this study was to identify the information needs and information-seeking behaviour of community library users in Msunduzi branch libraries, Pietermaritzburg. Identifying the information needs and information-seeking behaviour of community library users in the Msunduzi branch libraries helped to determine whether the Msunduzi branch libraries met their needs or not. The study involved a quantitative investigation into the information needs and information-seeking behaviour of community library users in Msunduzi branch libraries, within the context of community information and community information services. The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional survey design. The instrument used for collecting data was the self-administered questionnaire. The instrument consisted largely of closed questions and a few open-ended questions. A sample of 200 registered members of Northdale, Woodlands, Eastwood and Sobantu Libraries was surveyed, with 196 respondents giving a response rate of 98%. The validity and reliability of the instrument were established by pre-testing the questionnaire with ten community library users at Georgetown Branch Library. The data was captured onto the computer via Microsoft Excel. The data was then tabulated, and then appropriate analysis was conducted on each question’s data. These were presented in the form of graphs. The community library user’s information needs and information-seeking behaviour was identified using Wilson’s second 1981 model of information behaviour which suited the group under study. The results of the study indicated that the demographic and socio-economic status of the four communities influenced the information needs and information-seeking behaviour of the users. It is evident that in all four communities the information needs of the users were basically related to personal existence, survival and development. In terms of information-seeking behaviour, it can also be concluded that the community library users often used the information providers and information sources which they knew best or those which where the most convenient. Barriers experienced by the respondents were insufficient and relevant materials in the libraries and the lack of internet access. Based on the findings, recommendations were made to address certain problems presented in the study.
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