Uncategorized22 Oct 2009 12:49 pm
In 1986, after an intensive two-year qualitative research study, Constance Mellon published “Library anxiety: A grounded theory and its development.” In this work, Mellon coined the term “Library anxiety” which described the feeling of fear and discomfort that Undergraduate students felt when they encountered an academic library. The students generally described the following four reasons for their anxiety:
• intimidated by the size of the library,
• lacked knowledge about where everything was located,
• lacked knowledge about how to begin the research process and
• lacked knowledge about what to do.
Moreover, Mellon’s studied demonstrated that “library anxiety” was often so intense that it frequently led to procrastination and undermined students’ ability to function proficiently in a library setting. Many of the students overestimated the library skills of other students and reported feeling a sense of ‘inferiority’ in the library. In response to this study, schools have developed a number of classes for new undergraduates geared towards demystifying the library, in an effort to nip anxiety in the bud before it leads to procrastination and other self-sabotaging behaviors. Recently, a number of studies on library anxiety have focused on adult learners, who are particularly susceptible to library anxiety because many of them came of age in a largely pre-computer era, and find themselves overwhelmed by the technological changes that are part and parcel of contemporary institutions of higher learning. Thus, a number of programs are being developed to improve their computer literacy before they succumb to frustration.
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