Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

Library usage and demographic characteristics of undergraduate students in a UK university

Stone, Graham and Collins, Ellen (2013) Library usage and demographic characteristics of undergraduate students in a UK university. Performance Measurement and Metrics, 14 (1). pp. 25-35. ISSN 1467-8047

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (139kB) | Preview


Purpose of this paper: This paper builds upon existing research into library usage by exploring whether demographic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity and country of origin have an effect upon undergraduate library usage at the University of Huddersfield.

Design/methodology/approach: The study uses demographic and library usage data for a graduating year of full-time undergraduate students at the University of Huddersfield, and uses statistical tests to explore the significance of the relationship between demographics and usage.

Findings: The study finds that there is a statistically significant relationship between demographic characteristics and library usage on some, though not all, dimensions. But in many cases the effect size is small.

Research limitations and implications: The study uses data from a single UK university, and the findings may not therefore be generalizable. Furthermore, the study is able to identify statistical relationships but is not able to fully explain why they exist.

Practical implications: The findings suggest that library services may need to be shaped differently for different demographic groups of students. Working with students in their own institution, librarians may be able to discover more about why these differences exist.

What is original/value of paper? This paper shows a relationship between usage and demographic characteristics among undergraduate students, allowing librarians to consider how better to shape their services to meet student needs.

▼ Jump to Download Statistics
Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors would like to thank Dave Pattern at the University of Huddersfield for his help with extracting the initial data and Dr Ian Rowlands at the University of Leicester for his support with the project methodology.
Uncontrolled Keywords: library, usage, data, impact, demographics, undergraduate
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
Schools: Computing and Library Services
Computing and Library Services > Centre for Innovation in Information Services
Related URLs:

Auckland, M. (2012), “Re-skilling for research: An investigation into the role and skills of subject and liaison librarians required to effectively support the evolving information needs of researchers,” RLUK Report, available at: (accessed 29 December 2012).

Bohme, S. and Spiller, D. (1999) Perspectives of Public Library Use 2: A Compendium of Survey Information, Library & Information Statistics Unit (LISU), Loughborough University.

Cohen, J. (1988), Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioural Sciences, 2nd Edition, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.

Cohen, J. (1992), “A power primer”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 112 No.1, pp.155-159.

Cox, B. and Jantti, M.H. (2012), “Capturing business intelligence required for targeted marketing, demonstrating value, and driving process improvement”, Library and information science research, Vol.34 No.4, pp.308-316.

Debono, B. (2002), "Assessing the social impact of public libraries: what the literature is saying", Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, Vol.15 No.2, pp.80-95.

Farmer, L.S.J. (2006), “Library media program implementation and student achievement”, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, Vol.38 No.1, pp.21-32.

Field, A.P. (2009), Discovering statistics using SPSS: and sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. 3rd Edition, Sage, London.

Fortson, B. L., Scotti, J. R., Chen, Y., Malone, J., Del Ben, K. S. (2007), “Internet use, abuse, and dependence among students at a Southeastern regional university”, Journal of American College Health, Vol.56 No.2, pp.137–144.

Green, D. (2012), “Supporting the academic success of Hispanic students”, Duke, L.M. and Asher, A.D., College libraries and student culture: what we now know, American Library Association, Chicago, IL, pp.87-108.

Jisc (2011), “JISC Activity Data”, available at (accessed 29 December 2012).

Jones, S. Johnson-Yale, C., Millermaier, S. and Pérez, F.S. (2009), “U.S. college students' Internet use: Race, gender and digital divides”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol.14 No.2, pp. 244–264.

Koontz, C.M., Jue, D.K. and Lance, K.C. (2005), “Neighborhood-based in-library use performance measures for public libraries: A nationwide study of majority–minority and majority white/low income markets using personal digital data collectons”, Library and Information Science Research, Vol.27 No.1, pp.28-50.

Linley, R. and Usherwood, B. (1998) New Measures for the New Library: A Social Audit of Public Libraries, Centre for the Public Library in the Information Society. Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield.

Metoyer, C.A. (2000), “Guest editorial: missing links in reaching culturally diverse students in academic libraries”, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol.26 No.3, pp.157-158.

Oakleaf, M. (2010), The value of academic libraries, Association of College & Research Libraries, Chicago, IL, available at: (accessed 29 December 2012).

Odell P.M., Korgen K.O., Schumacher P. and Delucchi M. (2000), “Internet use among female and male college students”. CyberPsychology Behavior, Vol.3 No.5, pp.855–862.

Ontario Library Association, School libraries and student achievement in Ontario, Ontario Library Association, Ontario, available online at: (accessed 29 December 2012).

Pattern, D. (2012), “Library Impact Data Project”, paper presented at Internet Librarian International 2012, 30-31 Oct 2012, Olympia Conference Centre, London, UK, available at: (accessed 29 December 2012).

Poll, R. (2012), "Can we quantify the library's influence? Creating an ISO standard for impact assessment”, Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp.121 – 130.

Poll, R. and Payne, P. (2006), "Impact measures for libraries and information services”, Library Hi Tech, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp.547 – 562.

Prensky, M. (2001), “Digital natives, digital immigrants”, On the Horizon, Vol.9 No.5, pp.1-6.

Robinson, C.M. and Reid, P. (2007), "Do academic enquiry services scare students?" Reference Services Review, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp.405 – 424.

Sin, S-C.J and Kim, K-S (2008), “Use and non-use of public libraries in the information age: A logistic regression analysis of household characteristics and library services variables”, Library & Information Science Research, Vol.30 No.3, pp.207-215.

Stone, G., Pattern, D. and Ramsden, B. (2012) “Library Impact Data Project: hit, miss or maybe?” in Hall, I., Thornton, S. and Town, S., Proceedings of the 9th Northumbria international conference on performance measurement in libraries and information services. University of York, York, pp. 385-390.

Stone, G., and Ramsden, B. (2012), “Library Impact Data Project: looking for the link between library usage and student attainment”, College and Research Libraries, preprint, available at: (accessed 29 December 2012).

Suaiden, E.J. (2003), "The social impact of public libraries", Library Review, Vol. 52 No. 8, pp.379 – 387.

Weiser, E.B. (2000), Gender differences in Internet use patterns and Internet application preferences: a two-sample comparison. CyberPsychology Behavior, Vol.3, No.2 pp.167–177.

White, D.S. and Le Cornu, A. (2011), “Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement”, First Monday, Vol.16 No.9, available at: (accessed 31 December 2012).

Whitmire, E. (2003), “Cultural diversity and undergraduates’ academic library use”, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol.29 No.3, pp.148-161.

Depositing User: Graham Stone
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2013 09:59
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2015 19:10


Downloads per month over past year

Repository Staff Only: item control page

View Item View Item

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©