In 1986, Constance A. Mellon, a North Carolina library sciences professor published her theory of library anxiety. After two years of qualitative research, involving over 6000 students, she published a research paper entitled, ‘Library Anxiety, a grounded theory and its development’, in the journal ‘College and Research Libraries’.
Mellon aimed her research to tabulate a very interesting and common library behavior. She tried to find out the reason why people, doing their academic research in libraries, are sometimes scared to access the full use of a library. For this detailed qualitative research she used the technique of ‘journal writing’ or ‘talking on paper’. The students, who felt inhibited in the library, were asked to freely relate their feelings on a piece of paper and these confessions were later analyzed and tabulated.
Mellon’s findings helped to surface several reasons behind this intimidated information-behavior. She found out that students often felt ‘inferiority complex’ in presence of others. Most thought that the other guy was smarter than him or her, so they felt it wise not to reveal their ‘stupidity’. Other reasons included a fear while facing the vastness of knowledge in a library, and a fear of not being able to be patient enough in a library.
This study was further forwarded by researcher Carol C. Kuhlthau who postulated that feelings and interactions between students also affected their library behavior. Sharon L. Bostick, in 1992, devised a measurement scale to calculate the different extents of library anxiety. She emphasized on the role of library staff in dismissing the library anxiety from the students’ mind.
Sharon formulated a test where a student has to give answers to 43 questions regarding library behavior. The questions in this test were devised based on a scale called the Likert scale. The 43 questions have five alternative answers to choose form.
The traditional 5 points of a Likert scale are: