Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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An Investigation into the Extent and Application of Bilingual Signage in New Zealand Public Libraries

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posted on 2021-11-11, 00:15 authored by Evans, Elizabeth Rosemary

Bilingual signage is important both for the assistance it renders patrons as they navigate through the library, and for the statement it makes about a library‟s commitment to biculturalism. Good signage enables library users to find their way around a library and locate the information they need. Many Māori report feeling uncertain and alienated in libraries, and bilingual signage has been identified as an important component in the process of making Māori feel welcome in libraries. This study aims to discover to what extent public libraries commit to biculturalism through their bilingual signage, and how bilingual signage is displayed to alleviate library anxiety among Māori users, and as well to determine to what degree the level of signage in public libraries can be related to the proportion of Māori in the local population. A mixed methods research design has been applied to investigate the quantitative and qualitative information collected in the first phase of the research (an online survey sent to 330 public libraries throughout New Zealand), followed by the second phase of qualitative in-depth data gathering in the form of personal visits to 12 Auckland public libraries to conduct a qualitative content analysis of their signage. The findings reveal that over 50% of New Zealand public libraries have some form of bilingual signage, but they also show that much bilingual signage is employed at the upper level of signage rather than the deeper levels applicable to wayfinding. Practices in bilingual signage that need to be addressed are identified. Suggestions are made for further research.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Information Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Information Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Masters Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Information Management


Shep, Sydney