• An ethnography of student behavior in secluded and open spaces: Preliminary findings and implications for library space planning

      Bulick, Natalie; Frey, Susan
      From: Bulick, N. & Frey, S. (2019). An ethnography of student behavior in secluded and open spaces: Preliminary findings and implications for library space planning. In A. Katsirikou (Ed.), Book of abstracts: 11th Qualitative and quantitation methods in libraries QQML 2019 international conference (pp. 189-190). Maryville, Florence, Italy: International Society for the Advancement of Science and Technology. file:///C:/Users/sfrey/Desktop/Book-of-Abstracts_Final_AfterConf_v1.pdf The design of physical space in academic libraries has become an increasingly important focus of concern in serving the diverse needs of contemporary student populations. Responding to trends that shift the focus of library space away from collections-centered to more user-centered design, many are exploring ways of creating a better library user experience. To achieve this aim, valuable research has been conducted by directly asking students to articulate their wants and needs via surveys, and in some cases, interviews. However, little research has been devoted to the systematic field observation of how students’ use library spaces. Even less of this research has synthesized data findings with robust theoretical frameworks. This poster details the preliminary findings of an ethnographic study at a four-year, public university. Researchers designed a protocol to observe students in freely available secluded and non-secluded library spaces to examine behavior, communication, and social interaction within the context of proxemics theory. The anthropological study of proxemics is useful in evaluating how people behave within immediate organizations of space, and has been successfully applied to the design of public and semi-public spaces. Attendees will learn of study findings, and how these data can be applied to practical applications such as furniture composition and layout, lighting, and general space planning. Also addressed are details of the next phase of this study. Keywords: Space/Buildings; Organizational Change; Proxemics