Sense of belonging among visually impaired students in a university library in Malaysia / Nahid Bayat Bodaghi

Bodaghi, Nahid Bayat (2014) Sense of belonging among visually impaired students in a university library in Malaysia / Nahid Bayat Bodaghi. PhD thesis, University of Malaya.

Download (310Kb) | Preview
    PDF (Full Text)
    Download (4064Kb) | Preview


      A sense of belonging is essential in inducing individuals with disabilities to either voluntarily or involuntarily exclude or include themselves from the library community. Previous studies about the visually impaired in libraries were library focused, either benchmarking services offered against available standards and practices or surveying the types of services or facilities made available by libraries to their disabled users. Very few studies examined the issues from the visually impaired own perspectives. This study examines the beliefs, experiences and perceptions of belonging among the visually impaired students in the context of an academic library in Malaysia. This study applied the social model of disability and uses the qualitative approach to derive themes and sub-themes relating to feelings of belonging based on visually impaired students’ interpretations of their daily life experiences in using the library facilities and services. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The participants were eighteen visually impaired students who had registered as members of the university library and who had consented to be involved in the study. The contact period was 7 months. Trustworthiness was established through prolonged engagement, member checking, peer review, external expert audit and the researcher’s own reflexivity. Two main themes intrinsic and extrinsic conditions emerged. Intrinsic conditions refer to participants’ feelings towards library policies, library staff and their peers. Their sense of belonging was triggered when they felt respected and comforted by library policies that gave them longer borrowing periods, the availability of liaison staff who met them periodically, who asked for their feedback about issues that can improve the library services for them. Participants felt included and safe with library staff who showed awareness and empathy about their disability and therefore more open to help them. Participants felt happy and belong when peers and staff communicated with them thereby expanding their social interaction skills and networks. Extrinsic conditions refer to the participants’ feelings about the library facilities, services and design layout. The visually impaired students felt comfortable, proud, accepted and valued when their special needs for carrel rooms, laboratories and toilets were provided. Participants felt that they have a feeling of belonging when the library provided special lifts for them to move between floors, the use of appropriate assistive technologies to access the OPAC and the Internet. Participants appreciated the library services such as managing their volunteer readers, support of special librarians, and special information skill session, and regarded these as an indication of being respected, supported and iv accepted and these influence their sense of belonging and being included into the library community. Participants also voiced their concerns about the barriers they experience in the library and made suggestions for improvements. This study highlights the conditions that could foster sense of belonging to a library and the findings would be useful for library management to take note to formulate better disabled-friendly policies, and plan better library services and facilities for their visually impaired users.

      Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
      Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.) – Faculty of Computer Science And Information Technology, University of Malaya, 2014.
      Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
      Divisions: Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology
      Depositing User: Mrs Nur Aqilah Paing
      Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2015 10:02
      Last Modified: 10 Mar 2015 10:02

      Actions (For repository staff only : Login required)

      View Item