Establishing a participatory library model: A Grounded Theory study

Nguyen, Linh Cuong (2015) Establishing a participatory library model: A Grounded Theory study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(4), pp. 475-487.

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The purpose of this research is to explore the idea of the participatory library in higher education settings. This research aims to address the question, what is a participatory university library?


Grounded theory approach was adopted. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with two diverse groups of participants including ten library staff members and six library users. Data collection and analysis were carried out simultaneously and complied with Straussian grounded theory principles and techniques.


Three core categories representing the participatory library were found including “community”, “empowerment”, and “experience”. Each category was thoroughly delineated via sub-categories, properties, and dimensions that all together create a foundation for the participatory library. A participatory library model was also developed together with an explanation of model building blocks that provide a deeper understanding of the participatory library phenomenon.

Research limitations

The research focuses on a specific library system, i.e., academic libraries. Therefore, the research results may not be very applicable to public, special, and school library contexts.


This is the first empirical study developing a participatory library model. It provides librarians, library managers, researchers, library students, and the library community with a holistic picture of the contemporary library.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 83834
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: participatory library, academic library, emerging technologies, grounded theory, social media, library users, library model
DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2015.03.018
ISSN: 1879-1999
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution; Non-Commercial; No-Derivatives 4.0 International. DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2015.03.018
Deposited On: 03 May 2015 22:41
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2016 14:12

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