Do They Think We’re the Frenemy? Examining Student Anxiety and Service Perception in To-day’s Academic Libraries


  • Doris Van Kampen-Breit Saint Leo University
  • Rachel Cooke Florida Gulf Coast University



Library Anxiety, UMLAS


This study utilized the Undergraduate Multidimensional Library Anxiety Scale (UMLAS) to survey students at two universities in the Southern United States during the 2012-2013 academic year, in order to determine how they felt about the Information Search Process (ISP), their re-search skills, and their attitude towards the library employees and library facilities. It was de-termined that, despite the availability of a broad collection of online library resources at two Universities in the South, a slim majority of students indicated they still prefer to use the library in person. Although most students reported feeling comfortable using a computer, they were less comfortable using a computer at home to access the library online than one might expect. In fact, many students appear to still struggle with basic research skills, such as locating e-books online and locating full text articles, as well as with technical competencies such as downloading articles to an e-reader. Many students also indicated they were not able to find the things they wanted at the library. These same students felt library staff were friendly and helpful but, at the same time, many appeared to believe library employees were too busy to help them and indicated a reluctance to use telephone reference and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) assistance. In addition, alt-hough most students indicated that they visit the library for scholastic pursuits, very few re-sponded that they were visiting the library in order specifically to get help from a librarian. The similarity in results from the two institutions suggests this data may imply a trend for academic libraries nationwide requiring further investigation.

Author Biographies

Doris Van Kampen-Breit, Saint Leo University

Doris Van Kampen-Breit, Professor Faculty Development Librarian Daniel A Cannon Memorial Library

Rachel Cooke, Florida Gulf Coast University

Associate Librarian, Library Services






Peer Reviewed