Well, I'm down to one assignment left!! I finished up my last Research Methods assignment on Sunday.
My last assignment is to "create an international NGO that addresses an important social issue of our time." I'm pretty excited about this assignment especially since I see it as a way to really bring together much of what I've learned in both Library classes and Development classes.
My original thought was to create some library organization in some country overseas, but I was a bit discouraged about coming up with some new innovative idea, what with how many innovate ideas are already out there. I mean, could I really, in a couple weeks time, come up with something more creative than libraries on camel-back or boat libraries or stuff like that?
So I've gone to the other side of my interest and am looking more locally. After some research in my Research Methods class I found out that there hasn't been a whole lot of research done on the information needs of the Spanish-speaking population in the US. If this hasn't been done for one of the largest minority populations here - just imagine all the others!
Let me back up and say more broadly that Information Behavior is the idea of how people look for information, what information they need, what they do with it, how they store it or retrieve it, how they share it, etc. The Information Needs of a 20-something versus an 80-something are quite different. It's the same with people living in cities versus in the country; or think about what information you need to get your job done versus what information the CEO of your company needs.
Information Needs are important for libraries to know so they can develop their collections and services in appropriate ways. If you're in a community that really wants to know about gardening and bee-keeping, you'll have a good selection of materials about that.
The problem with not knowing Information Needs is that you can't necessarily develop a really useful collection. That's why Collection Development often starts with assessing who is in your community.
Anyway, the organization I dreamed up is a sort of research/consulting thing where researchers help libraries find out who is in their community and what their needs are so they can develop collections and programs appropriately.
And right now I'm procrastinating, so...back to work...