Objectives: Where do library patrons physically go when they visit the library? Do patrons in a Health Sciences library study in groups or by themselves? Do these patrons prefer tables, carrels, or partitions? How does this compare to the behavior of non-professional students?
Methods: A quantitative, observational, study was conducted to determine the number of students physically located in predetermined zones of the library including group, quiet, silent, computer, and study room zones. The study was conducted at an academic health sciences and main campus library. Data gathered included the number of patrons in each of the pre-determined areas, whether each of the students studied alone or in groups, and which of the multiple types of furniture each of the students occupied in the silent study space. Tally counts were taken over the course of one week, on the hour, while the library was open.
Results: Our results demonstrated that the majority of our Health Sciences Library patrons were located in the silent study area over the course of the week evaluated. The majority of these patrons and the Main Campus patrons were found to be studying alone. Compared to our Main campus library patrons, our Health Sciences patrons studied alone 16% more and preferred the Silent study area to the moderate volume (Quiet) Area. In the Silent study area at the Health Sciences Library the furniture preference of our Health Sciences patrons was partition seating. For both campuses extended hours have resulted in a 9% increase in the number of patrons using the library.
Conclusions: The purpose of this study was to address which areas of the library students gravitate towards as a result of a recent increase in hours both libraries are open. A 9% increase in patron volume was observed for both libraries. The silent area was preferred by Health Sciences Library patrons. The moderate volume area was preferred by Main campus patrons. Secondary outcomes examined what furniture and study habits (i.e. studying alone at a single table vs studying in groups) patrons engaged in. Overall patrons preferred studying alone. At the Health Sciences Library patrons preferred partition seating. This data can be used to inform staffing during hours of operation, furniture selection, and space distribution.