Library literature frequently reports projects to remove print collections and replace them with other amenities for patrons. This project challenges the untested assumption that the physical library itself serves no useful function to users unless they are actively consulting books from the shelves. The alternative hypothesis is that readers benefit from the mere act of studying while in a book-rich environment.

To test this possibility, ten subjects completed SAT-style reading comprehension tests in both a traditional library environment, and a renovated chapel that strongly resembles library space except for lacking books. Results provide a reasonable basis to support an expectation that readers perform better on reading comprehension tasks performed in book-rich environments.

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Notes/Citation Information

James M. Donovan, Keep the Books on the Shelves: Library Space as Intrinsic Facilitator of the Reading Experience, 46(2) J. Acad. Libr. 102104 (2020).



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