Spiritual needs and modern librarianship : a survey of practising librarians in a Western context

Nangia, Pranay and Ruthven, Ian (2022) Spiritual needs and modern librarianship : a survey of practising librarians in a Western context. In: CoLIS11 Conceptions of Library and Information Science, 2022-05-29 - 2022-06-01. (In Press)

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Abstract

Introduction. This study aimed to highlight the perceptions of spiritual needs in modern librarianship through a survey administered amongst practising librarians primarily in the USA and UK. In addition, this study contributes to the conceptualisation of the spiritual in library settings and discussions on service provision within Western libraries. Methods. We used a mixed-methods approach which collected quantitative and qualitative data through one survey. Analysis. We analysed the responses through descriptive statistics and thematic coding. Results. Librarians connected spiritual needs with humanness, emotions, wellbeing, religion and culture. Spiritual needs associated with love/belonging/respect and positivity/gratitude/hope/peace were perceived more often than those associated with resolution/death and the divine. The need to perform religious/ spiritual rituals and participate in religious/spiritual services was regarded as the least important to consider in modern librarianship. Conclusions. The findings 1) Support prior research that conceptualises modern libraries as spaces for contemplation and spirituality; 2) Provide an account of how librarians understand the concept of spiritual needs; 3) Indicate librarians’ perceptions of the prevalence of spiritual needs amongst library patrons; 4) Highlight the perceived importance of considering spiritual needs in modern libraries.

ORCID iDs

Nangia, Pranay and Ruthven, Ian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6669-5376;