ERIC Number: ED464654
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-May
Reference Count: N/A
Knowledgeability of Copyright Law among Librarians and Library Paraprofessionals Employed in Adult Services at a Large Public Library System.
Lavelle, Bridget M.
Since public libraries contain copyrighted works in the form of print, electronic or audiovisual sources, librarians and library paraprofessionals need to possess sufficient knowledge of United States copyright law to meet the information needs of patrons successfully and legally. A literature review revealed that minimal works address this topic. This study examined levels of knowledge of copyright law among librarians and library paraprofessionals employed in adult services. An anonymous questionnaire was used to survey a small sample of librarians and paraprofessionals employed at one public library system in the United States to learn their knowledge of copyright law during reference transactions. The questionnaire illustrated five scenarios of reference transactions that librarians and paraprofessionals might encounter with library patrons. Based on individual knowledge of The Copyright Act of 1976 and how specific sections pertain to libraries, participants selected answers by marking lines where library employees responded appropriately or inappropriately in each scenario. Of the 23 persons surveyed, 13 persons--7 librarians and 6 library paraprofessionals--chose to participate, for a 57% response rate. The librarians received professional library training by the attainment of degrees as Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) or Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.), and also held degrees as Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.). The paraprofessionals held degrees as B.A. or B.S., but none held M.L.S. or M.L.I.S. degrees. This study anticipated that librarians would exhibit higher knowledge levels of copyright law than paraprofessionals. The librarians chose the preferred answers based upon The Copyright Act of 1976 in 4 of the 5 scenarios. The paraprofessionals chose the preferred answers in three of the five scenarios and tied in two of the five scenarios. Although this small survey did not meet anticipated participation levels, the study provides a framework on which to base further research. If the results of this study indicate a trend among responses of librarians and library paraprofessionals, then library employees may not be sufficiently knowledgeable about copyright law pertaining to reference transactions in adult services at public libraries in the United States. The questionnaire is appended. (Contains 76 references.) (Author/AEF)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Copyright Law 1976