Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Rebecca Muir

Proposed Title

Moving forward in library service provision for people with an invisible disability

Research

Over four million people in Australia reported having a disability in 2015. Disability has been described as the “all-inclusive minority”, occurring at any stage of the lifespan. A review of the literature indicates that disability incorporates biological, psychological, and social elements. However, when a disability is invisible, or not immediately apparent to an outsider, an individual may need to self-identify to access services, or may never be identified at all. Further, in Australia there is a very limited literature which features the voices and input of people with an invisible disability. There are also no official or widely used guidelines on library services for people with a disability, which means that each library may provide different levels of services or resources.

The study will address a literature gap on the experiences of people with an invisible disability as current, or prospective, library service users. An interpretive paradigm is proposed, utilising an exploratory mixed method design with qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey. Participants will include people with an invisible disability and public library staff. Participants will be recruited from rural, regional, urban, and remote Victoria. The two principal research questions for the proposed study are: What are the information, access, services, and resource needs of people with an invisible disability in relation to public libraries in Victoria? How do public library staff define, understand, experience, and extend library service provision with people with invisible disabilities?

Why I chose CSU

I completed my Masters of Information Studies at CSU and, when the time came to do my Doctorate, CSU was the obvious choice! I moved into the library sector just over eight and half years ago after working with the federal government in rehabilitation, counselling, and employment services with people with multiple presenting issues including disability. I wanted to combine my interest in disability services, public libraries, and service provision in a supportive and engaged environment – and I wanted the opportunity to learn more from the experienced staff at CSU.

Membership

  • Policy Working Group – Library and Information Services for people with a disability
  • ALIA member

Publications

  • Muir, R. (2018, April). There and back again: Building a map in the research process. Presentation at ALIA RAIS, Melbourne, VIC
  • Muir, R. (2017). ‘But what to change?’: Moving forward in library service provision with people with an invisible disability. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 66(2), 176-7
  • Muir, R. (2016). Rethinking information service provision with people with a disability. Paper presented at The Future is Now Mini-Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • Johanesen, D., McGowan, P., Muir, R. (2016). Reimagining information services. Paper presented at Redefining Library Services in the Digital Age, Public Libraries Victoria Network, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • Hogarth, J., Junker, T., Johanesen, D., McGowan, P., Muir, R., (2015). Reimagining information services: A new framework for delivery. Retrieved from: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/1f8737_87f46062ea3243579e85fa9a0c1a96cc.pdf
  • Muir, R., Seymour, E. (2013). Library’s special and rare collections. Poster presented at Teaching Matters – Opening UTAS to the World, Hobart, TAS, Australia