Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Meredith A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Nathan R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James E. Andrews, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy R. Borum, Psy.D.


bibliotherapy, health ecologies, libraries, rhetoric, rhetoric of health and medicine


This dissertation seeks to develop a new method for the evaluation and assessment of therapeutic libraries in a health ecology. To do so, I employ a modified version of Lloyd Bitzer’s rhetorical situation as a methodological tool for the investigation of health ecologies by applying an ecological analysis to an alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment center in Tampa, Florida. By modifying Bitzer’s rhetorical situation schema and expanding the concept of health ecologies, I develop several innovations useful for tracing the impact of actants and rhetorical events specific to health and medicine. A major focus of this dissertation is a shift away from talking about ecologies of health and medicine to articulating the many features that make the health ecology an additional, but not distinct, object of study in a way that is useful for evaluating the effect of rhetorical interventions, especially where consideration of the rhetorical situation can be used to classify books for the DACCO library's health ecology.measuring the effect of rhetorical interventions. In order to study health ecologies, I focus on two research questions: 1) Extending the work of Walkup & Cannon (2018), how is a health ecology different from other ecological models, specifically in an AOD treatment facility context? 2) How can we operationalize health ecologies in order to use them to study a responsive librarianship text-based therapy scheme? The results of this study provide an example of using a health ecology to help classify books by developing a new methodology for the evaluation of library services in small health information centers that operate as part of a larger health ecology. As such, I evaluate more than the flow of rhetoric. I also measure the effect of rhetorical interventions in health ecologies, including the actions of the audience/rhetor after the interventions have been introduced.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons