Community information needs of the urban population in Israel

Shifra Baruchson-Arbib, Snunith Shoham, Eti Yaari, Varda Shemesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The community information needs of the urban Israeli population were studied using a telephone survey of 304 residents of a medium-sized city in central Israel and interviews with community officials in the city's social system. The purpose of the study was to identify the information needs of the urban community and its preferences, in order to establish the first formal public library's information centre in Israel. Approximately 60% of the problems cited by the subjects are concentrated in five categories: neighbourhood matters; studies; transportation; government matters; and entertainment, leisure and recreation. In most of the categories the percentage of local topics exceeds the percentage of general topics (i.e. topics not necessarily related to the community where the subjects live). Of all the problems (1,067) raised by the subjects, the percentage consulting dedicated information sources was 41.2%, and the percentage consulting general information sources was 29.6%. The findings of the survey show that the subjects clearly prefer information channels that offer personal contact (e.g. by telephone or face-to-face meeting with professionals). In contrast to the findings of many other studies, informal personal contacts (e.g. family members, friends) was ranked last place. In the interviews, community officials admitted that they receive numerous requests for information or assistance in solving problems on a wide range of topics that are not in their sphere of activity. The analysis of the data from both methods indicated a lack of sufficient and accessible information sources and underscored the importance of public libraries as major community information centres. Following the results of this study, the first official community information centre in Israel is currently being established by the librarians at the public library in the city where the data were collected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


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