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Take A Quiz to Measure Your Library Anxiety

This quiz is based on Sharon Bostick's Library Anxiety Scale, the most commonly used tool for measuring library anxiety. However, this is a very short, quick version, just four questions long. Taking this quiz may help you determine if you have some library anxiety.

Bostick, Sharon L. (1992). The development and validation of the library anxiety scaleProQuest Dissertations.

To take the quiz, read the statements below and mark the number that most closely matches your feelings about the statement. The numbers range from:

  • 1 = Strongly Disagree      
  • 2 = Disagree      
  • 3 = Undecided                         
  • 4 = Agree      
  • 5 = Strongly Agree

Question #1

I'm embarrassed that I don't know how to use the library.
1: 1 votes (20%)
2: 0 votes (0%)
3: 2 votes (40%)
4: 2 votes (40%)
5: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 5

Question #2

The librarians are unapproachable.
1: 1 votes (25%)
2: 0 votes (0%)
3: 2 votes (50%)
4: 1 votes (25%)
5: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 4

Question #3

I am unsure about how to begin my research.
1: 0 votes (0%)
2: 0 votes (0%)
3: 2 votes (66.67%)
4: 1 votes (33.33%)
5: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 3

Question #4

I get confused trying to navigate around the library's website.
1: 0 votes (0%)
2: 0 votes (0%)
3: 1 votes (33.33%)
4: 2 votes (66.67%)
5: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 3

Quiz Results

How did you do?
  • If you marked 4's and 5's as most of your answers, you may be dealing with the type of library anxiety that can seriously affect your research. If you feel that you are uncomfortable in the library, confused by the library, and very worried about how to start your research, please look at our suggestions on how to beat library anxiety.
  • If you marked mostly 3's and 4's as most of your answers, you may be dealing with enough library anxiety to make research more difficult than it has to be. If you feel uncomfortable in the libraries and find yourself putting off doing research because of it, our suggestions on how to beat library anxiety may be helpful.
  • If you marked 2's and 3's as most of your answers, you may be experiencing some mild library anxiety. It probably doesn't keep you up at night, but it may make your research projects harder than they have to be. Our suggestions on how to beat library anxiety may help.
  • If you marked 1's and 2's as most of your answers, you are probably very comfortable using the library. This should make it easier for you to get your research done! But if you find yourself worried by or uncomfortable with library research, our suggestions on how to beat library anxiety may help.

If you marked all 1's, well, chances are good that you're a librarian or your best friend is a librarian!

What to do if library anxiety affects you.

Starting research can be stressful enough without adding library anxiety to the mix. If you are unfamiliar with academic libraries or the kinds of books, article-locator tools, and services offered by them, it can be intimidating to even walk in the front door. If you are a student working on an assignment when you first start feeling anxious about using the library, chances are you are also already very busy with coursework, under pressure to make good grades, and still trying to maintain a social life.

Here are some tips that can help you cope with library anxiety so that you can make friends with the library, or at the very least, be able to get in, get out with what you need, and get on with your life.

  • Recognize that what you're feeling is common and that you aren't alone in feeling overwhelmed by the libraries. Sometimes being able to put a name to a problem really helps in dealing with it. If you know library anxiety is affecting your work, you can take steps to deal with it.
  • Ask a librarian or library employee for research help. It can be hard to ask for help. Many of us have grown up with strong impressions of the value of independence and self-reliance, and may feel like we should be able to figure out libraries all by ourselves. And sometimes librarians may look a bit intimidating behind the reference desk. But librarians are here to help you, and, even though it may be hard to believe if you are stressed out, librarians like helping you and want to see you succeed.
  • Ask your instructor for help. If you are really struggling or feeling paralyzed when you try to do your library research, let your instructor know. They may have some ideas of places to start and may be able to talk with you about ways to make your research easier.
  • Try to plan ahead. It's very, very easy to procrastinate when feeling library anxiety. Unfortunately, procrastinating only makes it worse. As deadlines approach and the amount of time you have to work with shrinks, chances are good your anxiety levels will go up, not down. So try to nip this cycle in the bud by getting into the library and asking for help early on.
  • Take deep breaths and work on focusing. When we are under stress, even fairly simple navigational tasks can become difficult. You are more likely to be able to find what you need if you slow down, look around, and read carefully. And, again, you can ask for help if you feel lost or panicked.

Please also check the list of local and national mental health and social services resources. The list is comprised of state-funded and non-profit groups, who aim to assist members of the community during times of need.