Perceptions and awareness of special collections in Irish academic libraries
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MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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Scant research has been conducted examining special collections from the perspective of library staff. This dissertation seeks to fill this gap in knowledge by examining levels of awareness and perceptions of special collections from the perspective of library staff in Ireland. The dissertation also examined the extent to which these perceptions aligned with how special collections staff perceive themselves and the extent of collaboration occurring between special collections staff and other library staff. Primary data in this dissertation was gathered through a self-completed web questionnaire, which was distributed to library staff from seven university libraries in Ireland. Out of the population of 457, a total of 98 responses was obtained. Results from the questionnaires suggest high levels of awareness and the existence of positive perceptions in library staff. A high level of alignment in perceptions was found between special collections staff and other library staff. In addition, collaborative efforts between special collections staff and other library staff span a range of departments and appear to be occurring on a regular basis. Finally, results suggest a possible association is present between high levels of awareness and collaboration. The dissertation contributed to better understandings of how visible special collections are to library staff and how special collections are perceived by library staff. Results suggest there exists integration of special collections to the larger academic library environment in Ireland. Author keywords: