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Library Anxiety: Library anxiety overview

Library anxiety is a real phenomenon that can hurt your ability to complete your coursework and do library research. This guide talks about what library anxiety is and about some ways to overcome it.

Library anxiety: What is it?

Library anxiety is a real and prevalent problem for many college students. Very basically, library anxiety is a fear of both the library space, which can be seen as overwhelming and confusing and of the process of using the library to find materials.

Common signs and symptoms of library anxiety include the following:

  • Fear and uneasiness with the physical space of the library often related to how big the library is.

  • Fear of approaching a librarian or library worker to ask for help.

  • Fear that you are alone in not knowing how to use the library.

  • Feeling paralyzed when trying to start library research.

If you find yourself encountering any of these fears, it is important to understand that you are not alone and that you can overcome library anxiety, though it may take a little time and some help from your librarians, instructors, and friends.

Please also be aware that Harper College offers a variety of counseling services to students that may be useful if you are suffering from anxiety or stress.

Erica Carlson Nicol

The LibGuide is a modified version of Erica Carlson Nicol's guide (Washington State University). Used by permission.

Are you stressing out in the library?

Welcome to the Guide on Library Anxiety

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Jennifer Lau-Bond
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Something you don't need to worry about at Harper College library

We have nearly a hundred databases, thousands of books, and two floors to navigate. All this can be intimidating, but at least you don't have to worry about cranky librarian ghosts.