An Exploratory Case Study of Library Anxiety and Basic Skills Students in a California Community College By Scott W. Lee, MSLS, EdD
What is Library Anxiety (LA) Similarto Other Academic Anxieties (Math Anxiety, Text Anxiety, Computer Anxiety) Fear, trepidation, intimidation of any or all things library related. Term first coined by Constance Mellon in 1986 based on analysis of student journals.
Mellon’s Findings Main Sources of Fear Building Layout Research Process Students Do Not Seek Help Embarrassed by lack of knowledge and assumed everyone else had it.I found previous research (1972, 1982) that showed same.
Basic Skills California Community College (CCC) term for Developmental Education (DE) DEStudent: College Student Below College Level in Math, Reading, and/or Writing 40% in US, 70%-80% in CCC’s Most states focus DE in Community Colleges Also called: Remedial, At-Risk, High-Risk
My Study Conducted at Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Largest CC in US (240K Students) Spread Over 800 Square Miles I drove 2800 miles to collect my data. Mixed Methods: Quantitative (Survey) followed by Qualitative (Interviews) Data Collected: March – May 2010
Quantitative The Library Anxiety Scale (LAS) The LAS was developed by Sharon Bostick in 1991 to measure Library Anxiety Used in Over 30 Studies Before Administered to 191 Students at 8 of the 9 Colleges of LACCD Only Used Students at Highest Level of Basic Skills English Before Transfer Level
Qualitative Interviewed 13 Quantitative Participants In Person, One-to-One Five Colleges – Harbor (3), Mission (2), City (3), Trade-Tech (1), Pierce (4) Paid Each Participant $10 and Raffle Entry for One of Three iPods
Findings - Quantitative Analysis was Descriptive (Univariate & Bivariate) LAS Scores for LACCD: Total LAS Range is 43 - 215 Mean: 102 Highest: 174, Lowest: 43 Study Means of Past LA Research (98, 96, 129)
Findings - Quantitative Means Gender: No Difference (M:102, F:101) Ethnicity: Asians Scored Highest (106), African-Americans Scored Lowest (94) Age: No Trend Employment: More Hours = More LA Library Experience: More Recent Experience = Less LA
Findings - Qualitative Three Areas of Inquiry Awareness of Academic Libraries Use of Academic Libraries Value Placed on Academic Libraries
Findings - Qualitative Awareness No Connection Between LA and Awareness Awareness Primarily Affected by Classroom Faculty Students who were guided to library by classroom or other faculty were more aware. Most received little to no guidance. Most students reported few, if any, research-based assignments. Most reported no BI experiences.
Findings - Qualitative Use Increase in LA equaled decrease in use. Students used library computers more than any other service or resource. Students made significant use of the library building as a place to study. Students used public libraries and academic libraries interchangeably.
Findings - Qualitative Value Student valuations of academic libraries not connected to LA. Most students viewed the library as a necessity for a successful college student. Some disagreed and felt the Internet could replace a library. I found conflict between student valuations of the library and their use of them with students placing a high value on libraries while they were not using them much.
Findings - Qualitative Value (cont.) Students primarily viewed the library as a: Tool (to accomplish tasks) Convenience (for access to the building and computers) House of Knowledge Student perspectives on librarians: All had a positive view. Referred to librarians as“teachers”and“Guru’s”. Valued for expertise in campus-specific knowledge.
Recommendations #1: Community college libraries should recognized the existence of library anxiety in development education students and consider it for all services to that population.
Recommendations #2: Community college libraries should develop better connections with the developmental education staff on campus.
Recommendations #3: Community college libraries should engage classroom instructors to inform them of the value that libraries can offer to students.
Recommendations #4: Community college libraries should find a balance between serving the technology needs of students and fulfilling an educational role at the college.
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