Graduate students in public health predict their actual usage of different library services and resources quite accurately

John P. Bourgeois, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans



Public health students need to use different resources to those used by other health science students.


To compare how users expect to interact with library resources and services with how they reported actual interactions and expected future usage, to inform library planning.


During first semester orientation, a paper questionnaire was administered to graduate students (n = 25), followed by an end of semester questionnaire in a mandatory public health course. Differences (orientation vs. actual and actual vs. predicted future) were analysed using chi-square tests.


Most graduate students utilized library resources as frequently as they anticipated at the semester's start. Regarding which library resources they would use, respondents' predictions during orientation were accurate. Respondent confidence in their abilities to use the library resources rose by the semester's end, and the group's expectations of using electronic books in the future semester increased significantly.


Graduate students had realistic expectations when predicting their library resource usage and difficulties and most expected to value the quiet space as much as they did.


Such tracking of group expectations, experience and predicted usage helps library managers’ plan where support is required.