Plinius

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PL 51/10: Student behavior in academic libraries

Filed under: statistics — plinius @ 11:49 am

Every spring some of our 2nd year library students carry out systematic observations of user behavior in a number of academic (and other) libraries.

Below I summarize the results from fourteen such traffic studies (as we call them). The users were observed at regular intervals through the day, usually for one full week.

All data were collected in May, except for the survey at Oslo University College main library in March 2009. This particular investigation was exceptionally large and thorough.

It was carried out by three Erasmus students and is very fully documented on the web. See also their brief presentation: A simple way to know a library in depth

Student behavior

The high levels of data use and group work are evident. The classical student who sits reading by herself accounts for less than one fifth of all time spent at the library. The low level of contact with staff – in terms of actual time spent – is also noticeable.

I note that the relative amount of individual reading is highest at the humanities and social sciences libraries at the two old  universities:

  • 43 percent at the Oslo University Humanities and social sciences library
  • 36 percent at the NTNU Humanities and social sciences library

Stavanger was only granted university status in 2004 – and its students still behave more like “university college” – that is polytechnical students.

Parameters

  • 66%    69% … 78% …………   71% – Modern activities  (data or group):  
  • 47%    50% … 54% …………   54% – Data activities (observed with active screens):   
  • 34%    43% … 49% …………   42% – Group activities :   
  • 11%    17% … 24% ………….   19% – Reads or writes alone:   
  • 8%    10% …. 12% …………..   11% – Without media:   
  • 6%    8%  … 10% …………….   8% – Stand or walk    
  •  1%    1% … 1% ……………….    2% – Browsing:   
  •  0.5% …  0.75% … 1.1% ….   1.1% – Contact with staff  

The four values represent

  • the lower quartile
  • the median (bold)
  • the upper quartile
  • the mean (bold)

Without media is defined as:

  • Walks or stands alone.
  • Walks or stands in company.
  • Sits alone without reading, writing or active computer
  • Sits in a group without media.

Individual work at library computers is just part of the story. Computers often involve portables – and group work

  • 39% … 55% … 72% …………  57% – Use of own computers (portables/laptops) use – as share of all computer use:   
  • 32% …  45% … 55% ……….   44% – Working with computers in groups – as share of all computer use:  
  • 21%….. 34% … 49% …………. 34% – Library PC alone – as share of all computer use:

Resources

The libraries studied

  1. Akershus University College, May 2010
  2. Bodø University College, 2008
  3. Buskerud University College at Hønefoss, 2008
  4. Hedmark University College at Hamar, 2008
  5. Molde University College, 2010
  6. Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Trondheim. Humanities and social sciences library (Dragvoll), 2008
  7. Oslo School of Management. (Markedshøyskolen i Oslo. Campus Kristiania). Private. May 2008
  8. Oslo University College (4)
    1. Main library (P48), 2008
    1. Main library (P48), March 2009
    2. Engineering and social sciences library (P35),  2008
    3. Engineering and social sciences library (P35),  2009
  9. Sør-Trøndelag University College, 2008
  10. University of Oslo. Humanities and social sciences library (Humsam), 2010
  11. University of Stavanger, 2010

1 Comment »

  1. […] PL 51/10: Student behavior in academic libraries […]

    Pingback by P 115/10 « Plinius — Wednesday, July 28, 2010 @ 1:07 pm


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