Week 12 Q: Bearing No ResemblancePosted: December 12, 2013
I cannot really answer the question of how my research question has evolved over the weeks, because my research question has once completely changed. I began this class with two questions, one on e-readers and one about medieval cathedrals. My question was then replaced with a research question investigating sexual assault. All of these questions involved looking at information and how information is processed, and hold a special place in my heart. The problem was my questions on e-readers was way to broad and not unique enough to warrant a research project. My question on medieval cathedrals was too abstract, and would require research and expertise beyond what I have at my disposal. Lastly, my question on sexual assault, though I believe incredibly important, I was unable to really grasp how to go about doing that research, and unfortunately, did not have the time, stamina or attention to figure it out.
So I have modified my question to turn to something close to my heart, and relates to the reason I entered into this program, libraries and their importance to a community. One of the most important foundations of a library is their ability to serve and provide their community and patrons with access to information. Libraries often face the threatening shadow of irrelevance in a changing and increasingly digital world, however, this apocalyptic threat to libraries has been going on for over thirty years, and William Baker asks in 1979 “Will public libraries be obsolete in the 1980s?” While libraries have been facing this question for years, the solutions have only ever been discussed by scholars, or through very small, and rather dated, studies of specific library patrons. There are virtually no studies done on what users think about library’s in this new digital age, and this is a huge issue, considering libraries’ very existence is dependent on the public. My research project now seeks to resolve this gap in the discussion of the future of libraries. (Of course, if anyone knows of some studies, or literature on patron ideas of what the future of their library should look like, or ideas about what theoretical framework would be good for this sort of research, let me know! 🙂 )
My new research project bears very little resemblance to my other research questions, but I feel it is a project that is both feasible and important to future library and information scholarship. The results of my study, if it were ever actually completed, would be useful to library directors and librarians when implementing new programs or activities in their library. Without consulting the patrons, it is not possible to understand whether or not a library is accomplishing their task of supplying access to information to the community they serve.
Baker, W. J. (1979). Will public libraries be obsolete in the 1980s? Canadian Library Journal, 36(5) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/57153566?accountid=14771