Healing library anxiety: How comparing libraries to hospitals can improve service to multicultural populations

BUCK, Valerie M. and HOUZÉ, Annick (2014) Healing library anxiety: How comparing libraries to hospitals can improve service to multicultural populations. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 221 - Library Services to Multicultural Populations. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/854
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Language: English (Original)
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Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/854/1/221-buck-en.pdf

Abstract

Healing library anxiety: How comparing libraries to hospitals can improve service to multicultural populations

In order to find new approaches to better serve multicultural populations in libraries, this paper analyzes studies about services and environments in the healthcare industry for how they serve multicultural populations and, specifically, how they reduce stress for health-seeking users. Healthcare research shows that stress can impede healing. Likewise, information behavior research shows that library anxiety can significantly impede information-seeking behavior. Multicultural users have a high risk of experiencing library anxiety because of the multiple causes of stress that they encounter. Healthcare research shows that creating environments that reduce stress and enhance well-being for patients improves the healing process. Likewise, libraries who create environments that reduce stress and enhance well-being can provide for better and more successful information-seeking experiences for multicultural users. The three recommendations of this paper to library planners are to 1) train staff and plan physical space according to the “attitude-centered” approach of cultural competencies (a.k.a. cultural responsiveness); 2) train staff and plan physical space to improve the perception of multicultural users’ sense of personal control, and 3) enhance physical surroundings so that they aesthetically please, create safety, and stimulate the brain.

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