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Some students immediately feel at home in today's technology-saturated library, but many others have difficulty navigating the myriad of electronic sources in most academic libraries. It is estimated that as many as one-third of the college students in the United States suffer from technophobia and are anxious about using computers. In addition to coping with computer technology, many first-year college students are intimidated by the size and complexity of academic libraries (Mellon 1986). In short, just when students most need to become competent users of information technology, anxieties can cause them to avoid the library altogether (Warmkessel 1992).

Breaking the anxiety barrier enables students to move beyond technical concerns to grapple with the information itself. Teachers and librarians can facilitate this progression by designing sessions in which students learn to use CD-ROM or other computer databases. Using active learning methods, the students can increase their understanding of searching concepts and techniques for evaluating information (Tyckoson and Jacobson 1993).


Originally published as:

Teaching Anxious Students Skills for the Electronic Library

College Teaching 43.1 (1995): 28-31