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Immigrant Information Practices & Social Inclusion: Envisioning a Role for LSP. Danielle Allard Faculty of Information, University of Toronto [email protected] Presented at the Library Settlement Partnerships Launch October 29 th , 2008 . Introduction. Purpose:

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Immigrant information practices social inclusion envisioning a role for lsp l.jpg

Immigrant Information Practices & Social Inclusion: Envisioning a Role for LSP

Danielle Allard

Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

[email protected]

Presented at the Library Settlement Partnerships Launch

October 29th, 2008

Introduction l.jpg
Introduction Envisioning a Role for LSP

  • Purpose:

    • introduce key paradigms and common language to LSP project stakeholders

    • introduce important research in LIS field

  • Agenda:

    • introduce concepts of “information practices” and “social inclusion”

    • initiate discussion about how these concepts might impact LSP service provision, partnerships, and goals

Defining information practices l.jpg
Defining Information Practices Envisioning a Role for LSP

  • Information practices = an umbrella term that captures the complex ways that individuals actively or indirectly look for information to help them make sense of their lives

    • Includes:

      • information needs

      • information pathways and sources

      • information barriers

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Immigrant’s Information Practices I Envisioning a Role for LSP

  • Little is known about the information practices of immigrants because they are a heterogeneous group at different stages of the immigration process.

  • New immigrants are at greater risk of lacking access to information sources because they may be unfamiliar with Canadian information environment.

  • Newcomers need to establish new patterns of information seeking and new information sources in a ‘culturally alien information environment’ (Mehra & Papajohn, 2007).

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Immigrant’s Information Practices II Envisioning a Role for LSP

  • Social networks are significant information sources for ‘vulnerable’ populations, but many new immigrants do not have social networks when they arrive in Canada.

  • New immigrants are at risk of becoming ‘information poor’.

  • Information poverty = lacking necessary resources such as adequate social networks and information finding skills that enable everyday information seeking (Chatman, 1996)

Are new immigrants information poor l.jpg

Yes Envisioning a Role for LSP

They may have small local networks

They may not participate in local civic life

They may be unfamiliar with Canadian information environment

They may live in poverty


They may have large transnational networks

Their transnational network ties may be well off, well educated, and “well connected”

They may use international information sources

They may be well educated

Poverty may be temporary

Are New Immigrants Information Poor?

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Literature Review: Summary of Information Practices of Immigrants I

  • Immigrants tend to prefer to seek information from other human sources, particularly other immigrants (Fisher et al, 2004; Silvio, 2006).

  • Trust may play a large role in selecting information sources (Fisher et al, 2004; Sligo & Jameson, 2000).

  • Language may play a large role in selecting information sources (Liu & Redford, 1997).

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Literature Review: Summary of Information Practices of Immigrants II

  • Information practices may build local and transnational social networks (Chien, 2005; Salaff & Greve, 2003).

  • Information practices may foster civic engagement (Dechief, 2006).

  • Immigrants use the internet for the purposes of maintaining, and exploring aspects of their ethno-cultural identity (Aizlewood & Doody, 2002).

    • International sources such as websites may create feelings of closeness with home (Sampredo, 1998).

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Defining Social Inclusion I Immigrants II

  • Roots in French and UK social policy

  • Social inclusion initially described the need for integration of the socially excluded in order to increase social cohesion.

  • Today it describes the inclusion of marginalized persons into a society based on the terms by which they choose to be included (Laidlaw Foundation).

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Defining Social Inclusion II Immigrants II

  • Many immigrants are at risk of being socially excluded; as newcomers to Canada, their social and economic situations are precarious.

  • Social inclusion is a multifaceted process requiring individuals to be included into society and their communities on various fronts (economic, cultural, social, political, etc.)

  • It requires the active and deliberate dismantling of barriers and creation of opportunities to foster inclusion.

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Information and Social Inclusion Immigrants II

  • Lack of information or lack of meaningful access to information is a fundamental facet of social inclusion: those without proper access to information risk being socially excluded.

  • Information provision is a key component of social inclusion (Caidi & Allard, 2005).

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Public Libraries and Social Inclusion Immigrants II

  • Public libraries should become socially inclusive spaces, in terms of their policies, infrastructure and service provision

    • E.g.: hours of service, language of service, programming, mandate

  • BUT….public libraries also contribute to the overall inclusion of immigrants into their Canadian neighbourhoods and communities.

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Social Inclusion and LSP Program I Immigrants II

  • LSP can contribute to social inclusion for immigrants through out the settlement process, through:

    • information provision (settlement, citizenship, leisure, employment)

    • Community building and civic engagement

    • Fostering literacies (ESL, digital, cultural)

    • Incorporating newcomers into traditional library activities

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Social inclusion and LSP program II Immigrants II

  • Challenge for libraries is to strike a balance between addressing the specific needs of immigrants with their mandate to serve the general population

  • Libraries have a history of providing services to marginalized groups.

  • With the help of settlement agencies, they can adapt their previous experience to providing services to immigrant communities.

  • LSP creates the opportunity for personalized, culturally specific information provision to a wide number of immigrants at various stages in the immigration process.

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In Lieu of a Conclusion Immigrants II

  • Information providers must take into consideration the complex location of immigrant lives - including the resources they have, barriers they face, and their understandings of the world.

  • A social inclusion approach will draw on the strengths within immigrants’ lives to facilitate their inclusion into a world shaped and articulated by immigrants and “native born” alike.

  • But what does social inclusion mean, in a real and concrete sense, for LSP?

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Thank you Immigrants II

Further comments and questions can be directed to:

Danielle Allard

Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

[email protected]

Dr. Nadia Caidi

Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

[email protected]

Susan MacDonald

Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

[email protected]

References i l.jpg
References I Immigrants II

Aizlewood, A. and Doody, M. (2002). Seeking Community on the Internet: Ethnocultural Use of Information Communication Technology. Hull, Québec: Department of Heritage Canada.

Caidi, N., & Allard, D. (2005). Social inclusion of newcomers to Canada: An information problem? Library & Information Science Research, 27(3), 302-324.

Caidi, N., Allard, D., & Dechief, D. (2008). Information practices of immigrants to Canada: A review of the literature. Unpublished Report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Metropolis

Caidi, N., Allard, D., & Quirke, L. Metoyer-Duran, C. (forthcoming). Immigrants and their Information Practices. In Annual Review of Information Science & Technology (ARIST)

Chatman, E. A. (1996). The impoverished life world of outsiders. Journal of the

American Society for Information Science, 47, 193-206.

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References II Immigrants II

Chien, E. (2005). Informing and Involving Newcomers Online: Users’ Perspectives of Settlement.Org. Thesis (MISt.) University of Toronto.

Dechief, D. (2006). Recent Immigrants as an "Alternate Civic Core:" Providing Internet Services, Gaining "Canadian Experiences. Thesis (M.A.) Concordia University.

Fisher, K., Marcoux, E., Miller, L.S., Sanchez, A., & Ramirez, E. (2004). Information behaviour of migrant farm workers and their families in the Pacific Northwest. Information Research, 10(1).

George, U., Fong, E., Da, W.W. & Chang, R. (2004). Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Region Settlement Directorate response to: Recommendations for the delivery of services to Mandarin speaking newcomers from Mainland China. Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement – Toronto.

Liu, M. & Redford, R. (1997). Information-seeking behavior of multicultural students: A case study at San Jose State University. College & Research Libraries, July, 348-354.

Mehra, B. and Papajohn, D. (2007). ““Glocal” Patterns of Communication-Information Convergences in Internet Use: Cross Cultural Behaviour of International Teaching Assistants in a Culturally Alien Information Environment,” International Information & Library Review, 39, 12-30

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References III Immigrants II

Mwarigha, M.S. (2002). Towards a framework for local responsibility: Taking action to end the current limbo in immigrant settlement - Toronto. Toronto: Maytree Foundation.

Salaff, J. and Greve, A. (2003). “Social Networks and Entrepreneurship.” Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 28(1), 1 –22.

Sampredo, V. (1998). Grounding the displaced: Local media reception in a transnational context. Journal of Communication, x, 125-143.

Savolainen, R. (1995). Everyday life information seeking: Approaching information seeking in the context of “way of life”. Library & Information Science Research, 17, 259-294.

Silvio, D.H. (2006). The information needs and information seeking behaviour of immigrant southern Sudanese youth in the city of London, Ontario: an exploratory study. Library Review, 55(4), 259-266.

Sligo, F. & Jameson, A. (2000). The knowledge – behaviour gap in use of health information: Cervical screen for Pacific immigrants living in New Zealand. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology. 51(9), 858-869.