Information seeking behaviours of prisoners

Group member: Dr Jane Garner

Project Description:

The project seeks to understand the information needs of incarcerated Australian adults. To date, no formal work has been done to understand the information needs of prisoners in the context of the Australian justice system. Such an understanding will enable our correctional institutions to provide appropriate legal, educational, and recreational information resources to inmates through their library services and tablet devices. This research will provide correctional institutions with the knowledge needed to build library collections that meet the actual needs of prisoners, and to identify the need for resource-sharing partnerships with external university or public libraries.

Corrections NSW are generously supporting this project by providing access to six NSW correctional facilities and their residents. 200 people living in these facilities will be surveyed to understand their information needs and practices, and 20 participants will take part in semi-structured interviews to allow more indepth exploration of these needs and practices. Corrections NSW have recently introduced tablet devices into some of their facilities and this project offers an opportunity to evaluate their effectiveness and the suitability of the resources to which they provide access.

Fieldwork for this project is underway and will be completed by June, 2022.