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Title:The Ranges of Life Interests and Reading Interests Among Adult Users of Public Libraries in Communities of Various Sizes
Author(s):Lucas, Linda Sue
Department / Program:Library Science
Discipline:Library Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Library Science
Abstract:This study was designed to consider whether there is a direct correlation regardless of the size of the community between the range of life interests and the range of reading interests among public library users in communities where public libraries are of good quality.
Six public libraries in Illinois were selected for study: two in communities having more than 50,000 population according to the U.S. Census of Population 1970; two in communities having populations of 10,000 to 49,999; and two in communities having populations of less than 10,000. One library in each size group was located in a community in the metropolitan Chicago area; the second library in each size group was located in a community outside the metropolitan Chicago area. Questionnaires designed to measure the range of life interests and the range of reading interests were administered at random in-site to adult library users through the use of a time probability sampling technique. Respondents were asked questions concerning the life interests about which they read and about specific books which they borrowed on the day they answered the questionnaires. One hundred questionnaires were analyzed at each library.
An examination of the demographic characteristics of the sample showed that respondents at all six libraries were generally younger and more highly educated than the general population of those communities. Furthermore, a higher proportion of respondents were in professional or technical occupations than was the case in the general population. In half of the libraries more males than females responded to the questionnaire.
The range of life interests and reading interests were compared using frequencies of responses to items selected for inclusion on indices of life interests and reading interests. Indices of life interests and reading interests were compared using X('2) and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. Statistical values were significant at the (alpha) = .1 level.
The frequency with which respondents indicated that they read about the life interests in which they had expressed interest was studied in order to determine the degree to which life interests might influence reading interests. The relationship between expressing a life interest and reading about that interest was studied using X('2) and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. Statistical values were significant at the (alpha) = .1 level. Because of the low number of books borrowed in each subject, statistical tests were inconclusive in establishing a relationship between reading interests and book borrowing.
Results provide evidence that there is a direct relationship between the range of life interests and the range of reading interests among adult public library users regardless of the size of the community in which the library is located and that people tend to read about their life interests. Level of education completed by respondents was found to be an important indicator. In communities where respondents had completed higher levels of education the correlation between the indices tended to be weaker and the range of reading interests broader than in other communities. Factors of sex, occupation, and life style were also found to be influential.
Results of this study indicate that public libraries in communities of all sizes must provide access to materials in the full range of subjects. Planning for collection building can be made more effective through an examination of the life interests and life styles of residents of the community in which the library is located.
Issue Date:1980
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:213 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/66361
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8026551
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-13
Date Deposited:1980


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