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Science Fiction in Libraries

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Masters dissertation for MSc in Information and Library Studies January 2010 Abstract This study is concerned with the apparent dislike that science fiction fans have of their library and of the treatment of the science fiction genre in libraries. The initial review explores the background, history and definition of science fiction itself and explores the genre’s poor reputation in the media. The aim of the research is to survey how science fiction fans view their library’s collection, and how the libraries as institutions treat science fiction and in particularly Scottish science fiction. The discussion looks at the resulting data in terms of library users and non-users, geographical location, gender and age-group. A survey of fans reveals that fans do use their library and do like the science fiction collection. Fans would be attracted to library by specific science fiction events and generally agree with positive statements about libraries. A catalogue survey of 45 science fiction titles shows that libraries in general have a reasonable collection of both Scottish and classic science fiction. A mystery shopper survey shows that the majority of libraries have a separate science fiction selection, but that the collection is rarely promoted either in displays or actively in events. It also shows that most library staff encountered rely on the internet to answer questions on science fiction and admit to having little knowledge of the genre.
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  Science Fiction in Libraries by Carolyn J. Sleith This dissertation was submitted in part fulfillment of requirements for the degree of MSc. Information and Library StudiesDEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCESUNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDEJanuary 2010   Table of Contents 1 Introduction12 Literature Review62.1 The Value of Fiction in Libraries62.2 Defining Science Fiction72.3 Science Fiction in Libraries102.4 Science Fiction’s poor reputation122.5 Good science fiction152.6 The science fiction reader162.7 Science fiction as popular culture192.8 Scottish Science Fiction212.8.1 The Past212.8.2 The Present262.8.3 The Future333 Methodology353.1 Stage 1 Survey of the Fans363.2 Stage 2 Survey of the Libraries’ science fiction collections393.3 Stage 3 Survey of how science fiction is promoted in libraries.513.4 Anticipated Constraints533.5 Ethical Considerations544 Results554.1 Questionnaire for Fans554.1.1 Demographics of Fans554.1.2 Reading Habits of Fans574.1.3 Positive Feelings604.1.4 Negative Feelings644.1.5 Potential Improvements684.2 Catalogue Survey704.2.1 Scottish Science Fiction Books704.2.2 Classic Science Fiction Books73  4.2.3 Series814.3 Library Survey824.3.1 How are science fiction collections promoted in libraries?824.3.2 Do librarians have a good knowledge of science fiction?855 Analysis and Discussion925.1 The Fans925.1.1 Users and Non-users925.1.2 Geographical Differences975.1.3 Male and Female995.1.4 Age Groups1045.2 The Libraries1105.2.1 How are science fiction collections promoted differently in libraries?1105.2.2 How does library staff knowledge of science fiction differ across the country?1116 Conclusion1146.1 General1146.2 Research Questions1157 Limitations of Methodology and Reflections1197.1 Limitations1197.2 Reflections1228 Recommendations and Future Research1238.1 Recommendations1238.2 Future Research1249 Bibliography12710 Appendices150Appendix A - Questionnaire for Fans150Appendix B - Mystery Shopper Scenario and Questionnaire.159Appendix C - Results of Catalogue Survey167  Appendix D – All Text Responses to “Is there anything else you like about the public library you use?”168Appendix E - All text responses to “Is there anything else you don't like about your public library?”170Appendix F - All Text Responses to “Is there anything that would make you go to the public library more often than you do now?”173Appendix G – Mystery Shopper Text Responses on Library Visits.177
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