The Informationally Underserved

Bradley, Rebecca


Lang Froggatt, D. (2015). The informationally underserved: not always diverse, but always a social justice advocacy model. School Libraries Worldwide, 21(1), 54-72. doi: 10.14265.21.1.004

Based on the earlier work by Elfreda Chatman regarding information poverty, this study by Froggatt (2015) claims that many students, in particular Latino and African Americans males, are members of the “informationally underserved.” Interviews with the 9th grade student participants in the study found that their elementary and middle schools offered limited free reading books, intermittent access to technology, and insufficient information literacy instruction. As a result, Froggatt concludes that little or no access to active school library programs with qualified LIS professionals may be a significant factor in causing these students to have lower levels of inquisitiveness, critical thinking, and academic success. 

This study highlights a recurring problem plaguing American schools, especially in poor urban areas. If so many of our students drop out before graduating from high school and many more during their first year of college, we as LIS professionals must question whether our day-to-day actions are perpetuating a system of failure or are contributing to greater social justice for these students. As stated in the article, the theory of the Informationally Underserved “illustrates how LIS research can integrate social justice meta-theory with professional practices in order to strive to solve issue surrounding equitable access to information.”