Directed Fieldwork: Adult User Study

In a previous post – a preview of Winter Quarter, I mentioned LIS 590 — Directed Fieldwork (DFW). Essentially, it was an “internship” at the King County Library System — Bellevue Regional Library. I received credit for the DFW, learned PRACTICAL information related to libraries and spent time IN a public library instead of a classroom.

My role was researcher. I observed, interviewed and collected data about the adult patrons, services and programs at the library. The final result was a written PEST analysis report and a couple of executive summaries that will be used in the library’s bigger project — as they complete a User Needs Assessment for adult programming at the library.


I plan on writing a couple posts about the details of this project. I learned so much and hope to find a successful way to share it through the blog. Some of the most useful pieces of information I found were ways to frame survey and interview questions and the resources or types of resources to use in order to complete the PEST analysis. (Oh – and I’ll define the PEST analysis right now: Political, Economical, Social and Technological analysis of the external factors that affect a specific population. By gaining or creating a bigger perspective or profile of the specific user population, it is possible to find successful ways to design/impact/reach the population.)

So, here’s a piece of advice I have for students and/or people interested in LIS – if you’ve got the opportunity to do a DFW, volunteering position, internship, apprenticeship, practicum, cooperative education, etc., strongly consider it! If not for the practical experience, for any of these other reasons (and more!)

  1. You have the freedom to do something NOT offered as a course!
  2. You could get the “in” when there’s a job-opening.
  3. Meeting “real” librarians (or information professionals) will give you a new insight into the library as an organization.

2 Responses to Directed Fieldwork: Adult User Study

  1. […] at the King County Library System’s Bellevue Regional Library. Here’s my recent blog post about it. This was essentially a 20 hr/week, for-credit internship. I first heard about the […]

  2. […] I had the opportunity to volunteer for an event for the same organization where I completed my Directed Fieldwork this past […]

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