Library Anxiety Impedes College Students’ Library Use, but May Be Alleviated Through Improved Bibliographic Instruction


  • Barbara Wildemuth University of North Carolina



library anxiety


A Review of:
Jiao, Q. G., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Lichtenstein, A. A. (1996). Library anxiety: Characteristics of ‘at-risk’ college students. Library & Information Science Research, 18(2), 151-163.


Objective – To identify the characteristics of college students that are related to their experiences of library anxiety.

Design – Survey, analyzed with multiple regression.

Setting – Two universities, one in the mid-south and one in the northeastern United States.

Subjects – 493 students from those two universities.

Methods – The students responded to two questionnaires: the Library Anxiety Scale developed by Bostick (1992), and a Demographic Information Form that included questions about students’ gender, age, native language, academic standing and study habits, library instruction received, and library use. Spearman’s rank correlation was used to identify those demographic characteristics that were correlated with library anxiety. Multiple regression analysis was used to develop a model for predicting library anxiety.

Main Results – The study found that age, sex, native language, grade point average, employment status, frequency of library visits, and reasons for using the library contributed significantly to predicting library anxiety. Library anxiety was highest among young male students who did not speak English as their native language, had high levels of academic achievement, were employed while in school, and infrequently visited the library. While the overall regression model was statistically significant and explained 21% of the variability in library anxiety, the individual correlations with library anxiety were generally weak (the strongest was a -0.21 correlation with frequency of library visits).

Conclusion – The authors conclude that many students experience library anxiety, and recommend that libraries make every effort to be welcoming. In addition, they recommend that library instruction should be introduced at the high school level and, in college, incorporated into the classes that require library research. In this setting, library anxiety should be addressed during the instruction, and classroom teachers should plan to assist students in the early stages of their research.


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Author Biography

Barbara Wildemuth, University of North Carolina

Professor Emeritus School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC USA




How to Cite

Wildemuth, B. (2017). Library Anxiety Impedes College Students’ Library Use, but May Be Alleviated Through Improved Bibliographic Instruction. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 12(4), 275–280.



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