This research is to explore the services and dedicated spaces for young adults (abbrev. as YAs) in public libraries from the perspective of students in Taichung. The four purposes were:
1. To find uses of YAs in public libraries.
2. To identify factors affecting YAs'' uses in public libraries.
3. To explore the YAs’ demands on various services provided in the dedicated spaces.
4. To investigate the feelings of young people toward public libraries setting up the dedicated space, how the space impacts their behavior, as well as the requirements for this space.
In addition, gender and learning stages were employed as independent variables in this research.
In the study, YAs studying in junior and senior high schools in Taichung, were surveyed by questionnaires. From May 6 to 30 in 2013, a total of 898 questionnaires were sent and 701 were valid responses, gathered from 32 schools in 18 administrative regions of Taichung. According to the statistical analysis of the study, the following results were found:
1. In the utilization ratio, approximately 70.9% YAs went to public libraries in the past year. The frequency of the highest usage was at least once a month; on the average about one visit every three months.
2. The main purposes of using public libraries were borrowing books, self-study, and exam preparation. Coming for the social and entertainment, and performing school-related works, ranked as next high purposes.
3. The four main factors of not using public libraries were: the convenience of the network, transportation or distance, bookstores, busying with other things.
4. Factors enhancing YAs’ uses of public libraries mainly were library spaces, librarians, and collections.
5. The teens’ demands on various services provided in dedicated spaces were: (1) In the functional area, the majority of the YAs needed quiet reading area, internet area, study room, personal reading area, collection area, social area, and audio-visual area. (2) In terms of collections, YAs preferred general books, magazines, comic books, DVDs. (3) In respects of computer and network equipments, YAs needed wireless internet, computers, collection query system, and printers. (4) Regarding general equipments, YAs needed reading tables and chairs, music equipments, and sofa. (5) In terms of promotion activities, teenagers were fond of book fairs, film shows, and performance.
6. YAs’ attitudes and feelings towarded the dedicated spaces were as follows: their greatest demand was free and unrestrained in the area. The area impacting on their behavior, whether alone or jointly with others, both presented positive relevant. In the functionality of area, a dedicated space needed by YAs was a quiet place to read as well as a social area, but the quiet reading area would set apart from the social area. For the atmosphere, YAs preferred bright, lively design, and having a specific theme of the design. In addition, they expected their dedicated space could have music, and larger in size. In the aspect of seats, the YAs looked forward to the multi-style seating, mobile, as well as a variety of seat types.
7. YAs presented a strong willingness to participate in planning for the dedicated spaces.
8. In terms of gender differences, although a statistically significant level had been measured in some questions, but a consistent context could not be found. On the contrary, significant differences were found in the learning stages as independent variables.
Based on results of the study, the following suggestions were made:
1. Improvements should be made on spaces, librarians, and collections in public libraries to attract YAs into the library.
2. When planning for the dedicated spaces, attention to different needs at different learning stages should be made.
3. Dedicated youth spaces should be prevalent in public libraries.
4. Providing services and equipments for homework or research.
5. Encourage youth participation.
6. Encourage study and research on YAs’ services and dedicated spaces in public libraries.