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Library usage and demographic characteristics of undergraduate students in a UK university

Graham Stone (Department of Computing and Library Services, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Ellen Collins (Research Information Network, London, UK)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 12 April 2013




This paper builds upon existing research into library usage by exploring whether demographic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity and country of origin have an effect upon undergraduate library usage at the University of Huddersfield.


The study uses demographic and library usage data for a graduating year of full‐time undergraduate students at the University of Huddersfield, and uses statistical tests to explore the significance of the relationship between demographics and usage.


The study finds that there is a statistically significant relationship between demographic characteristics and library usage on some, though not all, dimensions. But in many cases the effect size is small.

Research limitations/implications

The study uses data from a single UK university, and the findings may not therefore be generalizable. Furthermore, the study is able to identify statistical relationships but is not able to fully explain why they exist.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that library services may need to be shaped differently for different demographic groups of students. Working with students in their own institution, librarians may be able to discover more about why these differences exist.


This paper shows a relationship between usage and demographic characteristics among undergraduate students, allowing librarians to consider how better to shape their services to meet student needs.



Stone, G. and Collins, E. (2013), "Library usage and demographic characteristics of undergraduate students in a UK university", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 25-35.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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