The Emotional Basis of Library Anxiety

Erin L. McAfee


In 1986, Constance Mellon found that 75 to 85 percent of underg raduate students experienced library anxiety as well as sham e about their anxiety. Fifteen y ears earlier, Helen Block Lewis began her groundbreaking research in shame theory. This paper explores the affective components of library anxiet y using the pioneering research of Constance Mellon, Helen Block Lewis and others. Two issues are discussed: 1) how unacknowledg ed, recursive shame or “shame about shame” creates painf ul, emotional states such as library anxiety; and 2) how to recognize and neutraliz e unacknowledged shame in library service interactions.

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Copyright Erin L. McAfee

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