The Information Worlds of Stay at Home Mothers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 5.4 million women were stay-at-mothers (SAHMs) in 2003. With such a large number of women assuming full-time care for their children, it is remarkable that we know so little about the role information plays in their everyday lives. Despite the complex roles that SAHMs play as primary caregivers, educators, health care providers, finance managers, chauffeurs, maids, shoppers, entertainers and, of course, information givers, scant research has examined their needs for everyday information and how they go about seeking, not seeking and using information. Moreover, SAHMs are presumed to be information poor: while the varied roles as SAHMs should predictably generate a vast array of tasks which, in turn, should require information about a broad range of topics from an equally broad range of sources, their state of "jobless-ness" and isolation from mainstream contacts should impede their ability to seeking information effectively.