There is a Significant Relationship Between Computer Attitudes and Library Anxiety Among African American Graduate Students

Gill Needham

Abstract


Objective – To investigate whether African American students’ computer attitudes predict levels of library anxiety.

Design – A user study in which two instruments were administered to a group of graduate students to measure computer attitudes and library anxiety.

Setting – The College of Education at an historically black college and university in the United States of America.

Subjects – Ninety-four, predominantly female, African American graduate students, ranging in age from 22-62 years old, and enrolled in either a statistics or a measurement course.

Methods – Two instruments, the Computer Attitude Scale (CAS) and the Library Anxiety Scale (LAS) were administered to all the study participants. The Computer Anxiety Scale contains forty Likert-type items that assess individuals’ attitudes toward computers and their use. It includes four scales which can be administered separately:

1. Anxiety or fear of computers
2. Confidence in the ability to use computers
3. Liking or enjoying working with computers
4. Computer usefulness

The LAS contains forty-three, 5-point, Likert-format items that assess levels of library anxiety experienced by college students. It also has five subscales as follows:

1. Barriers with staff
2. Affective barriers
3. Comfort with the library
4. Knowledge of the library
5. Mechanical barriers

Main results – There were twenty correlations between the library anxiety subscale scores and the computer attitude subscale scores. Four of these correlations were statistically significant. Liking or enjoying working with computers was statistically significantly linked to affective barriers, comfort with the library, and knowledge of the library. There was also a statistically significant association between an attitude of computer usefulness and knowledge of the library.

Conclusion – These findings suggest that in this group of students there is a medium to strong relationship between computer attitudes and library anxiety.

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