In researching information behavior theory, a significant gap has been revealed: How can information behavior theory comprehensively identify the information behaviors and needs of information communities without the foundational understanding of information, communication, and community, and their intersection? It is asserted in this paper that information behavior theory must clearly define information, communication and community, and how these terms intersect, to comprehensively identify information communities’ information behaviors and needs. To test this thesis, a qualitative study on the tourist information community has been conducted. Seen through the lens of the novel central-peripheral information behavior (CPIB) theory, the tourist information community’s central information behaviors are acquisitional (encountering, seeking, browsing, and searching) and emotional (reacting and sensing). The community’s peripheral information behaviors are collaborating, sharing, and creating. Key information access needs are Internet and mobile technology. Prominent information use needs include mobile applications (e.g., Tripit), social media sites (e.g., Pinterest, and blog sites), Travel 2.0 websites (e.g., TripAdvisor), and e-commerce sites (e.g., Expedia). The paper’s key findings about tourist information behaviors and needs can guide libraries in tailoring services to the tourist information community or hybrid (online and offline) information community member. Libraries have an opportunity to better serve the tourist information community by providing a trustworthy virtual space for members to get together through non-commercial travel cafes. Libraries are also uniquely positioned to help travelers become more culturally competent. In physical spaces of libraries, tourists can be attracted by offering strategically placed and spacious mobile device charging stations.

About Author

I have a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Mass Communication with Minors in Psychology and Philosophy. I completed my undergraduate work at Carleton University in 2009. Since moving to British Columbia in 2011, I have worked for the Government of British Columbia.

Currently, I work full-time as a writer at the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. As part of my job, I maintain a corporate messaging library containing hundreds of documents. I am also an author and have published two children’s picture books, Bubba’s Balloon and Ollie the Orca. In the future, I would like to work as a special librarian in a government library or as a public librarian in my community. I started San Jose State University’s MLIS program in fall 2019 so I could work towards the qualifications needed for my career endeavors.