Bio-networking among librarians, parents, and children in a modern children’s library: a phenomenological study

Bernadette M. Guirguis, Negmeldin Alsheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aimed to understand how parents and librarians describe their lived experiences in a modern children’s library that aims to create a triad bond through the organization of multiliteracy events and activities. Design/methodology/approach: The study used a phenomenological case study approach using two semistructured interviews, the first with parents (n = 5) and the second with library staff (n = 5), to record their lived experiences in creating and attending literacy events and activities. Findings: The findings indicated multiplicities of transformative and heterotypic spaces that juxtapose different yet compatible and vicarious experiences for librarians, parents and their children. The virtual and interactive features of the library fuel children’s curiosity and creativity and afford them authentic materials through a creative blend of local heritage and technology-mediated multimodal literacies. Moreover, the librarians engage in constant program evaluation and upgrades. The library environment creates a vibrant bio-network for disseminating literacy through creativity and ingenuity and affords an affinity space for community socialization. Research limitations/implications: This study has some limitations and delimitations. The data for this study were collected during the pandemic, which affected the sample size. Moreover, the children’s views were not considered, which could broaden our understanding of the phenomena. Furthermore, the study relied on interviews as the sole source of data; other sources, such as archival data and documents, could enrich the data and increase the study’s rigor. Finally, the study is confined to only one site. Practical implications: The study found that a “living library” philosophy with an enthusiastic and attentive staff that caters to patrons’ interests draws parents and children to visit. Additionally, unexpected fun activities that occur when sufficient children are present keep them engaged and motivated to stay and learn more. The study suggests that librarians, architects, school leaders, policymakers and educators should consider how to conceptualize, design and experience a modern library space that prioritizes literacy activities and incorporates technology to inspire children’s innovations. The findings can be applied to both public and academic libraries. Originality/value: The findings from this study could provide researchers, teachers, administrators, librarians and artificial intelligence with a viable orientation to envision new ways of reconceptualizing public and school libraries to create affinity spaces for the literate community, especially in a non-western context such as the United Arab Emirates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-109
Number of pages18
JournalInformation and Learning Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 12 2023


  • A modern library
  • Affinity space
  • Bio-networking
  • Children
  • Librarians
  • Multiliteracies
  • Multimodality
  • Parents
  • The UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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