Silent and Independent: Student Use of Academic Library Study Space

Katharine Hall, Dubravka Kapa:

In the fall of 2012, Concordia University Libraries started planning for renovations which would result in the increase of study spaces in one of its two libraries and the reduction at the other. In order to maximize the functionality of the reduced study space footprint, a survey and focus groups were used to better understand the specific space needs of the library’s campus community. The study revealed differences in the use of the library among the respondents from different programs of study. Respondents enrolled in science programs visit the library more often but seek assistance less than the respondents in social sciences programs. The survey comments and focus groups pointed to students’ dissatisfaction with the quality of study spaces the library offers, either for individual or group study. Library users wanted larger table space, comfortable furniture, and more desktop computers. The overall ambience of study spaces proved to be rather important and a large point of dissatisfaction. The findings from the study have provided valuable information on how to prioritize targeted improvements and which aspects of the library’s space and services to highlight when promoting library services to different departments.