How public library users perceive the information professional: is the image transforming?
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This study aims to investigate public library users’ perceptions of information professionals. Specifically, it focuses on exploring users’ perceptions regarding librarians’ status, work duties, performed work and educational background.Design/methodology/approach The method of questionnaire was used to enquire on the users’ perceptions of six different public libraries in the wide area of Attica, Greece. Between November 2014 and February 2015, 320 questionnaires were distributed, and, in total, 291 users participated in the study with response rate 90.9 per cent.Findings This research revealed that public library users have a positive image of the librarians’ status, duties and work performed. Users acknowledge that it is important for librarians to obtain a bachelor’s degree in library and information science (LIS) education and specialized LIS knowledge, as well as general, pedagogical and new technologies knowledge to perform their tasks. Overall, “serving of people” predominates as a task and a series of collection-oriented tasks.Research limitations/implications Perceptions of non-users of public libraries and public librarians themselves were not examined in this study. In addition, some user groups based on level of education (e.g. doctoral degree) had a low level of participation.Originality/value It is one of the few studies that examined public library users’ perceptions of information professionals.
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