Imagining the internet : learning and access to information in Singapore's public libraries
Kay, Adrian Heng Heok
Date of Issue2010
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Purpose – This study aims to investigate the discourses surrounding the provision of internet access in Singapore through the public library system and to consider what the government, librarians and members of the public consider are the legitimate uses of the internet in Singapore's public libraries, how these compare with what the librarians see as their role in facilitating access and to what extent the internet as an educational tool features in public libraries according to users. Design/methodology/approach – A discourse analysis of public documents and semi-structured interviews with ten senior librarians, managers, and 40 members of the public were conducted. Observation was also conducted of library users and of their usage at the computer terminals in the library. Findings – Findings from the study throw up very different definitions of what constitutes learning through the internet within the context of a public library. This reinforces conclusions from previous studies that what is termed learning through the internet is variously constructed, and understood in multiple ways. This defies what is often presented of the internet as a technical quick fix of policy makers to help its population leap frog into the future. Research limitations/implications – While the study provided a glimpse into the discourse surrounding the internet in one country, similar work should be carried in more Asian countries to provide a more comprehensive survey of the region and compare this with findings conducted in an Occidental setting. Originality/value – The study provides an Asian perspective that complements findings on the various discourses that had surrounded internet technology in the USA and Europe. It also calls for a new spirit of awareness on the part of librarians to the views of library users with regard to internet access.
DRNTU::Library and information science::Libraries::Public libraries
Journal of documentation
© 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Journal of Documentation, Emerald Group Publishing Limited. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi/org/10.1108/00220411011052911].