First week of my in dept research class, we had to go out and observe how people behave in libraries. The assignment seems simple but it actually required a lot of patient and good observation skill. You will be amaze how many people react in the exactly same in a certain situation. Sometime they did it without realization. Below are some of my recording and some insights I got from my observation:
10.30 am: The library just suddenly gets quiet. A moment ago I can feel the loud ambient noise but not now. There are significantly less people walking in-out the library. Wonder why?? (Assumption: it must be because classes start at this time. People are probably hurry to their class. A library is not only a place where people just come and study, it is also pathway where people use to go to their destination)
First floor elevator: the elevator is open by itself?! 12 times already. I only see a few people use the elevator on this floor. But the elevator open by itself many more time than people using it.
Art exhibition: one person glance at it but no one touches or even take a look at it. I am curious to know why because it is so obvious and also in the center of the open space.
Alarm: only goes off once. People are looking at it but no one does anything.
People: There were a lot of people walking in and out of the library. Many people walk with head phone and ear phone. Some of them walk with friends and some of them walk by themselves. Quite normal at this point.
11.06: I am now on the First floor Suzzallo library, midway from the main entrance and Allen library South wing. On my right, there are many computers where student can use. On my left, there are countless books and bookshelves. All computers occupied but there was no one looking at any books on these shelves. Am I in a library or computer lab? lol.
Wait, I just saw this one really old guy was reading a book without any computer equipment.
11.25 am: I am following people from the entrance of Suzzallo to see where the big crowd would go. Surprisingly, many people went straight to the other exit of the library and I am back at the same spot I was before (the entrance South wing of Allen library). It is loud and many people are walking relatively fast. I am wondering if it will suddenly get quiet again at a half hour…
11.28 am: alarm went off but no one does anything.
11.31 am: The ambient noise suddenly gets very quiet. There now much less people walking in and out the library at this exact time.
Conclusion from observation
Maybe all people want is some place to sit down and study. Thousands of books are sitting on bookshelves; however, I rarely see anyone actually looking at them. Books are apparently obsolete and most people use computer device in library. Library now is really not as much of a place where people usually come and find or see new books. It is more like an open space where people can come comfortably do their work. They can sit down and rest. Allen/Suzzallo library in particular, does not seem to have much of a group work activities that I observe. I mainly see individual working by themselves.
Research Observation #2 (observing the same place for a second time)
1.45 PM: I am sitting at the same spot as I did last Friday (near the South wing exit side of the library) to observe people’s general behavior in library. Not many people are walking around the library at this point. The library seems quiet.
The same art exhibition which sits in the middle of the big empty space in front of me is still here and no one is looking at it. People walk right pass it like nothing is there ….
The elevator which locates directly in front of me still accidently opens by itself like it did the last time I was here.
2.59 PM: I am now in the Harry Potter Library. This place is still very quiet. I see no one is talking to each other. Everyone is working on their own thing. Many of them have either a cup of coffee or water bottle next to them. I saw on person is comfortably sleeping.
Nothing else really change or different from the last time I observe.
3.36 PM: There were many people who come to this library just for visiting. They use their cell phone capture image in the library.
Conclusion from observation
I wasn’t notice much different from what I observe last time. Two new observations I didn’t realize before is that people like to have their water bottle with them when they are working in the library. Secondly, not only people who wants to study are here at the library. There are also those who visit the library because it is so pretty : D