Date Approved

5-1-2001

Embargo Period

6-6-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in School and Public Librarianship

Department

Special Educational Services/Instruction

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Shontz, Marilyn L.

Subject(s)

Libraries and older people

Disciplines

Library and Information Science

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to observe and evaluate the effects of the implementation of several enhancements to library service designed to benefit senior citizens in particular. This segment of the population does not seem to be utilizing the full resources of the library. Patrons' attitudes before and after these enhancements were noted and compared.

A total of sixteen senior citizens participated in a series of five classes. Classes were conducted at three branches of the Gloucester County Library System. The classes provided instruction in library skills such as online catalog searching, use of the EBSCOhost periodical database, and basic Internet searching. Participants were familiarized with the new larger computer monitors acquired for their use, and the new collection of books - the Senior Collection. Titles for the latter were selected with senior citizens' interests in mind. Identical questionnaires were distributed at the beginning and end of the five class sessions to determine changes in participants' attitudes and perceptions of their library skills. Responses were tabulated and percentages noted.

It was found that seniors did benefit from specific enhancements. They preferred the larger monitors, and also had a preference for classes with their peers. Their library skills were improved after completing the series of classes. Skills were gained in online catalog searching, as well as Internet searching. Satisfaction with specific areas of the collection improved as a result of the classes. Participants also acquired the skill of searching EBSCOhost for magazine articles. The students' overall confidence in their ability to research a topic at the public library showed a marked increase.

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