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ERIC Number: EJ845096
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0961-0006
The Nature and Role of Empathy in Public Librarianship
Birdi, Briony; Wilson, Kerry; Tso, Hin Man,
Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, v41 n2 p81-89 2009
This article presents two recent studies, an AHRC-funded exploration of the role of empathy in community librarianship (Study 1) and an investigation of the role of empathy in service to minority ethnic users (Study 2). Qualitative elements of each methodology are presented, namely a series of focus groups with frontline staff, interviews with senior managers and a research workshop (Study 1), and a case study investigation of a public library in the heart of a Chinese community (Study 2). Synthesizing the data of both studies, an analysis is conducted of the relationship between the cultural identities of library staff and their ability to empathize with the public. It is concluded that empathy plays a role in facilitating effective communication between staff and users, but that a distinction should be made between intuitive and cognitive empathy, in considering the potential of staff training to develop appropriate levels of emotional response to members of all communities. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Media Staff
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A