Factors Affecting Students’ Use of a Select Academic Library in a Polytechnic Institution in Jamaica: A Mixed Methods Case Study Research
by Rushelle Clarke-Lindsay and Ruth Baker-Gardner
The polytechnic library has a unique place among the various academic libraries in Jamaica, and like many others has invested in a variety of resources to cater to the needs of its users. Despite the investment, there seems to be low usage by students and lecturers. As such, this study aimed to identify the factors that affect students’ use of a polytechnic library. The study was guided by the following objectives: to determine the frequency of use; to ascertain the factors that impact students use or nonuse; to ascertain the extent towhich lecturers’ instructional activities include and/or promote the use of the library’s resources by students; and to examine the challenges faced by students in using the library. The target population included staff and students of a polytechnic institution located in an urban centre in Jamaica. Using a mixed methods design, both questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data. The findings highlight factors such as socioeconomic indicators, user satisfaction, low reading levels of students, lecturers’ limited use of the library resources in the preparation and execution of class activities, and inadequate resources as deterrents to the use of the library by students. The study recommends the establishment of a library committee to oversee the development of a strategic plan for the library. This plan would include developing the collection, acquiring additional ICT resources, marketing the library services and a programme for the teaching of media and information literacy.