Centre for Social Informatics PhD student Rachel Salzano is looking forward to travelling to Oslo at the end of May to present a paper accepted for Conceptions of Library and Information Science CoLIS 2022.
Co-authored with her supervision team (myself, Dr Gemma Webster and Dr David Brazier) Rachel’s paper is concerned with the findings from an element of the empirical work that she has undertaken for her doctoral study: an analysis of documents gathered from Scottish local authorities on strategies to support the integration of newcomer populations who have entered the country as a result of forced migration. The specific focus of this piece of research is the perceived role of Scottish public libraries in such efforts.
The main findings discussed in the paper ‘Is the public library included? An analysis of local government documentation on the integration of forced migrants in Scotland’ are that: (1) Scottish local authority documentation mainly records existing provision for the integration of forced migrants, rather than advocates policy or guidance; (2) the main areas of focus are housing, education, and health, with close attention to the legal context; (3) public libraries feature only occasionally in the documentation – primarily as services that support orientation and/or provide leisure facilities. It is concluded from this analysis that the potential of public library services to contribute to the meeting of information needs, or supporting literacy and learning, of forced migrants in Scotland, is not recognised. This is important in the light of evidence from the wider literature that highlights the value that public libraries can bring to work to support the integration of forced migrants.