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Library Quarterly Article Wins ALA's Shera Award Kevin Stacey 02 Apr 2009 21:25 UTC

The American Library Association has awarded the 2009 Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research to Lynn Westbrook for her article, "Understanding Crisis Information Needs in Context: The Case on Intimate Partner Violence Survivor."

The article, published in the July 2008 issue of The Library Quarterly, examines the role public libraries can play in addressing the information needs of survivors of intimate partner violence.

Read the full article here:

"Although generally underutilized, public libraries have a pivotal role to play as the only public institution specifically structured to support community information access," Dr. Westbrook writes. "In order to provide effective service, however, librarians must understand the information complexities of the [intimate partner violence] context."

Drawing on information gathered from survivors themselves as well as law enforcement and social service professionals, Dr. Westbrook's work is aimed at helping librarians understand the situations in which victims may find themselves, and information needs that accompany each situation.

For example, people who come to the library shortly after an intimate partner incident will often be in need of concrete legal information. They might need to know "how to navigate the criminal justice system as well as its attendant connections to a limited range of social services." Others, however, may have already separated from their abuser and are now looking for information on employment and housing.

"The context in which personal crises play out is kaleidoscopic in nature," she writes. "For the survivor.each click of the kaleidoscope produces a new, complex, and fragmented world. Tracking, integrating, and managing the information required to function effectively in all of those different worlds demands well-developed information skills."

Dr. Westbrook is an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas, Austin.

The Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research, chosen by the ALA's Library Research Round Table (LRRT), is given to the author(s) of a research article published in English during the calendar year and nominated by any member of LRRT or by editors of research journals in the field of library and information studies.

This is the fifth time research published in LQ has won an LRRT award.

LRRT was founded in 1968 to contribute toward the extension and improvement of library research by providing public program opportunities for describing and evaluating library research projects and for disseminating their findings.

Kevin Stacey
University of Chicago Press
Journals Division
P: 773-834-0386
F: 773-702-0172