Keep the Books on the Shelves: Library Space as Intrinsic Facilitator of the Reading Experience

Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 46 (2020)

7 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2020

Date Written: December 20, 2019

Abstract

Library literature frequently reports projects to remove print collections and replace them with other amenities for patrons. This project challenges the untested assumption that the physical library itself serves no useful function to users unless they are actively consulting books from the shelves. The alternative hypothesis is that readers benefit from the mere act of studying while in a book-rich environment.

To test this possibility, ten subjects completed SAT-style reading comprehension tests in both a traditional library environment, and a renovated chapel that strongly resembles library space except for lacking books. Results provide a reasonable basis to support an expectation that readers perform better on reading comprehension tasks performed in book-rich environments.

Suggested Citation

Donovan, James M., Keep the Books on the Shelves: Library Space as Intrinsic Facilitator of the Reading Experience (December 20, 2019). Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 46 (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3507752

James M. Donovan (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky ( email )

J. David Rosenberg College of Law
620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

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