Library Anxiety: A Barrier to Effective Use of Information Resources

Library Anxiety: A Barrier to Effective Use of Information Resources

Anjaline C., Sheba Priskkillal C.
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1482-5.ch004
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Recent surveys on usage of library services reveal that nearly one third of the user population uses the library resources effectively to fulfill their information requirements. The remaining two thirds are either under-utilizing or using at minimal level. The reasons for non-usage of library resources include the anxiety towards the information system. Library anxiety is a kind of psychological fear experienced by the users while using information services or accessing the ICT-based information resources in a library. Library anxiety is characterized by negative emotions including tension, fear, feelings of uncertainty and helplessness, negative self-defeating thoughts, and mental disorganization that are experienced in the library setting. It is a kind of psychological barrier that hinders the effective usage of library-based information resources. It is more prevalent among the beginners than others. This chapter highlights anxiety, types of anxiety, different types of library users, causes of library anxiety, and the remedial measures to overcome library anxiety.
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Types Of Anxieties

There are mainly two types of anxieties, namely, trait anxiety and state anxiety. Trait anxiety is an individual's inherent tendency to view the world as threatening or dangerous (Battle, 2004). State anxiety refers to specific to a particular situation or stimulus that can vary in intensity depending on situation (Mech & Brooks, 1995). The specific situations such as taking an examination, facing an interview, visiting a strange place, first visit to a library, operating automated machines and so on. Scientific and educational environments may give students the experience of frustration, fear, stress and anxiety called ‘academic-related anxiety’ (Onwuegbuzie, Jiao & Bostick, 2004). Fear felt by the students in an academic set up are generally classified as state anxiety. Therefore, academic anxieties are state anxieties as they appear in relation to specific stimuli. Common academic anxieties include math anxiety, test anxiety, computer anxiety, information anxiety and library anxiety (Battle, 2004). Thus, library anxiety is a state-based anxiety (Onwuegbuzie, Jiao, & Bostick, 2004) in which students experience uncomfortable feelings or emotions while in a library setting (Jiao, Onwuegbuzie, & Lichtenstein, 1996).

Library anxiety is not uncommon for college students (Battle, 2004), who, when caught in a library-anxious moment, can feel tension, fear and a sense of helplessness (Jiao, et al., 1996; Onwuegbuzie, et al., 2004). It can occur at any point within the library use or search process (Kuhlthau, 1988) and can have a debilitating effect on a student’s ability to complete assignments or develop proper information literacy skills (Onwuegbuzie, et al., 2004). Students who suffer from library anxiety will go to great lengths to avoid using an academic library and are more likely to avoid or delay starting or completing assignments that involve the library (Onwuegbuzie, 1997). Research studies on the characteristics of library-anxious student’s show that new students are more likely to suffer from library anxiety than experienced college students with freshmen and sophomores showing higher rates than upper class men (Mech & Brooks, 1995).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Barrier: Barrier is a hindrance affecting the access to place or in achieving a goal or destination.

Anxiety: A mental state of uneasiness experienced while exposed to new environment or people.

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