How Junior High School Students Spend Time in a Japanese School Library during Their Lunch Breaks: A Focus on the Role of Bookshelves


  • Chizuko Arai



school library, library as place, bookshelves, junior high school student, field research


The purpose of this study was to investigate, through fieldwork, a school library as a gathering place for Japanese middle school students. We predicted that students would browse alone, silently. The research used cases studies based on a micro-ethnography method taken from observation data. Data were analyzed from three points of view, informal, public, and gathering, which was referred to as “the third place.” Oldenburg (1989), on which the study was based, focused on the role of bookshelves. We determine that bookshelves provide students with the public place open to all. Second, we suggest that bookshelves serve students as an informal place to spend time alone. Finally, while some students enjoy conversations with friends while among the shelves, others avoid interaction by using the shelves as barriers. Therefore, the bookshelves are not always a gathering place for a students.






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