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This summary report presents highlights of a study of reader spaces in the Coates Library at Trinity University. In February 2014, a brief study of the uses of the reader spaces of the Coates Library was performed, based on methods detailed in Chapter 9, “Designing Academic Libraries with the People Who Work in Them,” by Nancy Fried Foster, in Studying Students: A Second Look, 2013 ACRL. This study also built on findings from a fall 2013 ethnographic study of library users investigating student study habits, behaviors, and terminology. We sought to record the locations, activities, motives, and preferences of seated users throughout the building during a typical week of student activity. The results indicate that ample work surfaces, electrical outlets, and on-demand social contact are important to student library activities. Respondents to our surveys indicated that the library was an important “third space” on campus (being neither dorm nor classroom) which allowed them an environment free from the distractions of their living space, but which also provided them with the opportunity for social contact with other students engaged likewise in the general activity of “studying.”


Summary version, April, 2014