Perceiving usefulness: The perception of users on school libraries and librarians in Hong Kong

Po Ying Sidney CHENG

Research output: Other contribution


This study examines and determines the relationships among the users’ perceptions, their library usage and the level of services provided by school libraries within the Hong Kong school sector. It was conducted according to a theoretical framework based on Bandura’s process of reciprocal determinism. It also explores the perceptions of school libraries and teacher-librarians by their users in Hong Kong aided schools, and aims to fill the gap in empirical studies on related topics within the region.
This study employs a mixed methodology. Teaching staff and students in two aided primary schools and two aided secondary schools were selected and invited to participate in this research. A questionnaire survey was conducted in the initial quantitative phase of the research to obtain background information on all participants’ perceptions of librarians in general in comparison with ten other common occupations in Hong Kong, their agreements to the roles and functions of school libraries and teacher-librarians, and their usage of their school libraries. Selected participants were further invited to the second qualitative phase of the research in which they were interviewed about their views on libraries and librarians in general, their own school libraries, and the relationship between students’ library usage and students’ academic performance.
While the study is confined to the school setting, the findings suggest that librarians in Hong Kong are facing an image problem, as librarians overall had a lower image among other occupations as perceived by the participants. Within the school library sector, connections were found between the students’ usage of their school libraries and their perceptions of the roles and functions of school libraries and teacher-librarians. Influence of the principals’ and teacher-librarians’ perceptions on the levels of school library services were also detected particularly in the two secondary schools. Results further suggested that there were certain relationships between the levels of service offered and the usage of the school libraries. In addition, it was found that the participants generally agreed to the roles and functions of school libraries and teacher-librarians, but not strongly, especially not on their influence on the students’ academic performance. The participants were also found to recognize the roles and functions of the school libraries more than those of the teacher-librarians.
Based on the findings of this study, recommendations have been made to the school library sector on tackling the problems of recognition of their roles and functions, and on enhancing their level of services for their school community. This research also brings up the issue of an image problem among the wider library profession in Hong Kong. Recommendations have therefore been made on alerting the library profession about this issue, and on the possible actions for better understanding and addressing the problem. Directions for future studies in this area have also been suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Hong Kong
secondary school
primary school


Cheng, P. Y. (2012). Perceiving usefulness: The perception of users on school libraries and librarians in Hong Kong. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Charles Sturt University, Australia.


  • Theses and Dissertations