Mission Statement

As service-driven community centers, public libraries play an important role in addressing social problems, including domestic violence. We want to help you enhance library support for our community's most vulnerable members.


Lynn Westbrook is Associate Professor at the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin.

Her research focuses on the information worlds of domestic violence survivors, the nature and quality of digital reference transactions, and the role of mental models in reference work. Lynn has published on intimate partner violence information issues, digital reference communication, mental model theory, interdisciplinary information seeking in Women's Studies, information literacy, and information needs analysis.

The IPV grant brings these various research interests together with one holistic inquiry: how to create the cognitive and affective infrastructure to increase the efficacy of formal and informal community agencies working with people in crisis. Her work will lead towards a community centered digital library design, guidelines for e-government engagement, and evaluation methods for public libraries to accept responsibility for the information needs of citizens in crisis situations.

Lynn's teaching uses a praxis-based approach to management, information retrieval, reference, collection management, instruction, research methods, and information use analysis. She teaches Introduction to Information Studies, Collection Management and Managing Information Organizations. Her service includes research mentoring and working with students on domestic violence projects.


Articles by Lynn Westbrook

Research by additional scholars below. For more research by Dr. Westbrook, visit her research page.

  • Westbrook, L. (2009). Information Myths and Intimate Partner Violence: Sources, Contexts, and Consequences. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. 60(4), 826-836.
    • Triangulating data from in-depth interviews and community bulletin board postings, this study incorporates insights from survivors, police, and shelter staff to begin mapping the information landscape through which survivors move.
  • Westbrook, L. (2009). Crisis Information Concerns: Information Needs of Domestic Violence Survivors. Information Processing and Management. 45(1), 98-114.
    • This 10-city study uses in-depth interviews with 19 intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors, 14 shelter staff, 10 shelter directors, and 14 police officers to identify information needs in IPV survivors' efforts to escape from or cope with IPV.
  • Daveport, D., Richey, J. & Westbrook, L. (2008). E-government access to social service information: state web resources for domestic violence survivors. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 59(6), 903-915.
    • This study provides the first nationwide analysis of e-government support for domestic violence (DV) survivors.
  • Westbrook, L. (2008). E-Government support for people in crisis: An evaluation of police department web site support for domestic violence survivors using 'person-in-situation' information need analysis. Library & Information Science Research. 30(1), 22-38.
    • This examination of 172 police department websites in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas reveals major gaps in provision of essential information.
  • Westbrook, L. (2008). Understanding crisis information needs in context: The case of intimate partner violence survivors. The Library Quarterly. 78(3), 237-261.
    • Public libraries have a pivotal role to play as the only public institution specifically structured to support community information access. In order to provide effective service, however, librarians must understand the information complexities of the IPV context.
  • Westbrook, L. (2007). Digital information support for domestic violence victims. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 58(3), 420-432.
    • Email reference responses to requests for shelter contact information were examined. Of the 124 libraries in this study of the nation's largest cities, 84% failed to provide some part of the requested information or acknowledge that it was not available.
  • Westbrook, L. (2007). Surviving domestic violence: Seeking support in cyber-space. Proceedings of the Information Resources Management Association International Conference. Ed. Mehdi Khosrow-Pour. 1294-1296.

Research from Other Scholars

  • Anderson, M., Gillig, P., Sitaker, M., McCloskey, K., Malloy, K., & Grigsby, N. (2003). Why doesn't she just leave? A descriptive study of victim reported impediments to her safety. Journal of Family Violence, 18, 151-155.

  • Centers for Disease Control. (2003). Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/IPV_cost.html.
  • Dunne, J. (2002). Information seeking and use by battered women: A "person-in-progressive-situations" approach. Library & Information Science Research, 24, 343-355.
  • Harris, R., & Dewdney, P. (1994). Barriers to information: How formal help systems fail battered women. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  • Harris, R., Stickney, J., Grasley, C., Hutchinson, G., Greaves, L., & Boyd, T. (2001). Searching for help and information: Abused women speak out. Library & Information Science Research, 23, 123-141.
  • Leone, J., Johnson, M., & Cohan, C. (2007). Victim help seeking: differenes between intimate terrorism and situation couple violence. Family Relations. 56, 427-49.
  • Lipsky, S., Caetano, R., Field, C., & Larkin, G. (2006). The role of intimate partner violence, race, and ethnicity in help-seeking behaviors. Ethnicity and Health. 11(1), 81-100.
  • Macy, R., Lurius, P. Kernic, M., & Holt, V. (2005). Battered women's profiles associate with service help-seeking efforts: illuminating opportunities for intervewntion. Social Work Research. 29(3), 137-150.
  • McPherson, M. D., Delva, J., & Cranford, J.A. (2007, May). A Longitudinal Investigation of Intimate Partner Violence Among Mothers With Mental Illness. Psychiatric Services. 58(5), 675-680.
  • Peckover, S. (2003). "I could have just done with a little more help": An analysis of women's help-seeking from health visitors in the context of domestic violence. Health and Social Care in the Community, 11, 275-282.
  • Reeves, C. (2007). The effects and costs of intimate partner violence for work organization. Journal of Interpersonal Violnce. 22(3), 327-344.
  • Wold, M., Ly, U., Hobart, M., & Kernic, M. (2003). Barriers to seeking police help for intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Violence. 18(2): 121-129.

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