Exploring Barriers and Conditions for Attracting Non-users to Iranian Public Libraries

Non-users are those who do not go to the library for any reason. Identifying the reasons for not being present and the client's conditions for going to the library has always been a concern for public libraries. This paper seeks to provide insight into the reasons why non-users do not use the library as well as to identify the non-users' conditions to go to the library.


Results are built on a qualitative user study. Indeed, findings are gained based on Grounded Theory in 3 stages. Data are collected by semi-structured interviews in which 105 non-users form 11 provinces of Iran participated in. Analyzing was started with open encoding. In the next step the open codes are classified and the open codes that had a meaningful relationship are located in the certain categories. Categorizing is continued until recognizing the axis categories. Eventually, the central class was chosen and relationship of categories was described.


Analyzing interviews generated 64 open codes, 26 sub-categories, 12 categories, and 5 core categories. Among the core categories, the inefficient organization class was chosen as the central class. The findings indicate that the content, facilities, environments and services of library are ineffective. Non-users consider the library as an ineffective organization. They do not go to the library due to ineffectiveness. In addition, poor entity and anti-information environment are other reasons that the non-users pointed to. Nevertheless, they will come to the library if the scope of resources and services would expand and improve. They also expect that the standard structure of the environment and equipment to be observed and tangible in the soul of the library.


The subject of the study and the use of the qualitative method express the originality and value of this research. Identifying the reasons for not being present of non-users in the library as well as their conditions to go to the library is helpful in policy making and formulating realistic policies. Cases such as lending time, censorship, lending of friends, frustration, indifference, lack of need, financial problems, inability to study in a public place, reduce study efficiency, low literacy, maladministration, inefficiency of the librarian, cultural weakness of individuals, lack of reading culture are part of the concepts that filled the knowledge gaps related to the reasons of not to visit the library by Iranian non-users. Beyond absorbing non-users to the library, share of public libraries from populations won’t persuade policy makers to support more finances and supplement of them and this will mean a deficit for public library system.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Library and Information Science, Volume:23 Issue: 2, 2020
137 - 165
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