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An exploratory case study of library anxiety
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An exploratory case study of library anxiety

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  • 1. An Exploratory Case Study of Library Anxiety and Basic Skills Students in a California Community College By Scott W. Lee, MSLS, EdD
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
  • 6. 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
  • 7. 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
  • 8. 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)
  • 9. 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
  • 10. Findings - Qualitative Three Areas of Inquiry  Awareness of Academic Libraries  Use of Academic Libraries  Value Placed on Academic Libraries
  • 11. 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.
  • 12. 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.
  • 13. 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.
  • 14. 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.
  • 15. 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.
  • 16. Recommendations #2: Community college libraries should develop better connections with the developmental education staff on campus.
  • 17. Recommendations #3: Community college libraries should engage classroom instructors to inform them of the value that libraries can offer to students.
  • 18. Recommendations #4: Community college libraries should find a balance between serving the technology needs of students and fulfilling an educational role at the college.