An investigation of the perceived information needs, information-seeking behaviors, and the use of community public libraries among first-generation adult Korean immigrants living in the Dallas, Texas, area
The overall purpose of the study is to explore informational needs, information-seeking behaviors, and the use of community public libraries among first-generation adult Korean immigrants living in the Dallas, Texas, area. The subjects for the study consisted of thirty-six first-generation adult Korean immigrants living in the Dallas, Texas, area. Among the total thirty-six interviewees, half (9 males and 9 females) were randomly collected from the Dallas Korean resident directory. The remaining interviewees (9 males and 9 females) were collected with the help of three gatekeepers of Korean ethnic populations living in the Dallas, Texas, area. Data for the study were collected by means of a flexibly-structured, open-ended, face-to-face interview. The data were analyzed using both content analysis and the ethnographic summary approach according to the constant comparison method. The informational needs expressed by the respondents were classified into the following twelve topic areas: children's education, educational opportunities for career development, survival information, family relation matters, mainstream community information, business-related concerns, general legal aid, health insurance, housing information, basic computer skills, tax assistance, and English literacy improvement. The immigrants relied heavily on informal interpersonal Korean social networks as their primary informational source. Community public libraries were perceived as irrelevant and inconsequential places for their daily informational need situations. The immigrants simply did not realize the libraries existed for them, nor did they acknowledge any benefits of or necessity for a library for their lives. Although the adult Korean immigrants made limited use of public libraries for themselves, they were devoted users of the library for their children's school-related concerns, and most of the immigrants' library uses were almost entirely limited to their children's educational purposes. The importance of learning English was a constantly recurring theme during the interview process. The language barrier caused the immigrants to seek information from their own ethnic resources because their English proficiency affected their abilities to go beyond the same ethnic information environment. Also, the language barrier exacerbated the degree of the immigrants' social isolation and alienation from mainstream society.