Goals of this research project

Mobile technologies and social media are increasingly being used to access information and services, but there are still questions about how libraries can reach out and interact with their diverse populations. This project investigated information seeking behavior of Midwestern Latinos, including their use of social media, to help libraries understand how best to assist Latino patrons.

Who Should Use These Personas?

These personas are designed to assist librarians and information professionals in the Midwest ot reach the Latino population. Other people interested in reaching out to the Midwestern Latino population may be interested in these personas, and people in other areas can use these personas as a starting point for developing profiles of their own client groups. The personas focus on information behaviors and resource use, which provide a basis for collection development and decisions about services.

What Is a Persona?

Personas are essentially research-based profiles of users. The concept of the persona was originally used to inform the creation of technology interfaces. In this case, however, we invite librarians and information professionals to use these personas as a way of "getting to know" their Latino neighbors in an effort to help them provide the highest quality library products and services.

Midwestern Latino Personae

Click on the button to learn more about each.

BertoBerto Gonzales has been working hard all his life. A 57-year-old plant manager, he’s proud of his career advancement and is glad to be able to afford a nice house for himself and his wife – one that’s big enough to put up his five adult children and his grandchildren when they come for a visit. Berto is fluent in English and uses it at work and in town, but prefers Spanish and speaks it with his close friends and family.
More about Berto

SaritaSarita Garcia is currently a senior in college, well on her way to earning her bachelor’s degree in social work. Sarita’s goal is to work with other Latinas in need of support and advice, and this goal has only become keener since the 2016 elections. She’s aware that the terminal social work degree is the Master’s degree, so she’s planning on another two years in college after this. As the first person in her family to attend college, Sarita’s parents are proud of her, but also somewhat troubled by her seeming rejection of family norms – she lives on campus, and only visits on holiday breaks, and she hasn’t brought a serious boyfriend home yet! Sarita herself is anxious because her parents don’t understand the college experience, and she’s aware she’s been at a disadvantage compared to some of her peers whose parents did go to college. However, this experience also allowed her to find a support network for first generation college students, and if any of her brothers or sisters decide to go to college, she hopes she can be a resource for them.
More about Sarita

LuisLuis Loera is a 15-year-old high school sophomore. His parents immigrated from Mexico, but he and his siblings have only known the United States as home. He is fluent in both English and Spanish; he speaks Spanish with his family and English with his peers. His family is binational between Mexico and the U.S., and he has relatives in California and Texas. He uses social media to connect with his high school friends; he sometimes also uses WhatsApp to participate in his extended family’s discussions.
More about Luis

MariselaMarisela Gomez, a 43-year-old homemaker, came to the Midwest sixteen years ago with her husband and two small children. She is Spanish-monolingual, though her children are English-Spanish bilingual. She prides herself on caring for her family and providing support for their needs. Her siblings live in the United States; her parents, aunts and uncles, and various cousins live in Mexico.
More about Marisela

JuanJuan Medina came to the United States with his parents from Nicaragua at a young age, and he currently has temporary immigration status under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, for however long that status may last. Because of this uncertainty, he can’t really make plans and takes each day as it comes. Juan is enrolled in his last year of high school, and he works nights and weekends at a restaurant, washing dishes and doing clean-up. He uses most of his salary from this position to help support his family, but he spends a little on games too. Juan’s conversational English is fine, but his academic English is not as good, and his teachers often say he isn’t trying hard enough. His mom and dad both work long hours. Juan would like to go to community college but he is uncertain if his legal status might change in the future and wonders how that might affect him; he’s also concerned about costs involved for college. Right now, he wants to graduate high school and find a better paying job to support the family. When he is not in school, working, or playing games, he spends time watching soccer with other friends from the neighborhood.
More about Juan

MartaMarta Dominguez Mesa is a 62-year-old woman who came to the U.S. "sin papeles" (without papers, e.g., undocumented), about 15 years ago. Both she and her husband work in agromaquilas (agricultural factories), doing work such as animal slaughter and cleaning. She has many concerns about health and keeping both herself and her husband fit.
More about Marta

Ideas for Implementation

Personas are a great tool for thinking about users when designing products and solutions that meet their needs. There are a number of potential ways the information in these personas can be implemented in individual libraries. Click here to see what we've imagined as far as possible implementations.


Research Products

Here are the research products we have developed during the course of this project.


Adkins, D., Moulaison Sandy, H., & Bonney, E. N. (2019). Creating personas on which to build services for Latinx users: A proof of concept. Public Library Quarterly, 38(1), 50-71. doi:10.1080/01616846.2018.1528573

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2018). Engaging linguistically diverse populations: Gatekeepers in rural parts of the US Midwest. International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion, 2(1). Retrieved from https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/ijidi/article/view/32210
       --Winner of the 2018 IJIDI Outstanding Paper Award in the category of Research Papers

Adkins, D., Moulaison Sandy, H., & Derpic, J. (2017). Information sources of Latin American immigrants in the rural Midwest in the Trump era. Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, 87(3), 243–256. doi:10.1086/692301

Conference Proceedings

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2017). Information seeking among Latinos in the Midwestern United States. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 54(1), 483–486. doi:10.1002/pra2.2017.14505401052


Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2018, November 9). Reaching out to non-English-speaking Latina immigrants where they are: Considerations and a strategy. Conference on Inclusion and Diversity in Library and Information Science (CIDLIS). College Park, Maryland, USA.

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2018, October 11). Using personas to reach your underserved populations. 2018 Missouri Library Association (MLA) Conference, October 2018, Columbia, Missouri, USA.

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2018, March 24). Using personae to simplify your multicultural outreach strategies. Public Library Association (PLA) 2018 Conference, March 20-24, 2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2017, October 30). Information seeking among Latinos in the Midwestern United States. 80th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), October 27-November 1, 2017, Crystal City, Virginia, USA.

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2017, September 13). Engaging linguistically diverse populations. Diversity by Design: An International Symposium, September 13-14, 2017, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, https://www.idiversitybydesign.com

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (accepted: 2017, September 9). Using personae to connect with Latino patrons via social media. REFORMA National Conference VI, September 7-9, 2017, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA. [conference canceled due to hurricane]

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2017, June). The role of social media for rural Midwestern Latinos. Sixteenth Annual Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) Conference. Todos Juntos: Collaboration and Unity in Uncertain Times, June 14-16, 2017, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Adkins, D., & Moulaison Sandy, H. (2017, January 19). Latino use of social media and mobile technologies for information-seeking. January 2017, ALISE Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.