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Library Anxiety is a thing!

The information on this page is based on the Christ's College Library Library Anxiety website

Washington State University Libraries provides some ideas for background reading on the theory of library anxiety.


Dealing with Library Anxiety

1. Test yourself :

  • Do you feel uncomfortable asking a member of staff for assistance?

  • Are you uncomfortable with the size or layout of the library?

  • Do you feel nervous if you can't find something in the library? 

  • Have you had a previous bad experience in a library? 

If your answer to any of these questions is "yes", then you may have library anxiety. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this. 

2. Tips on how to deal with Library Anxiety 

  • Recognize that what you're feeling is common and that you aren't alone

Many people feel overwhelmed by libraries, often because they worry about being in unfamiliar places.

  • Ask a member of library staff for help

You can send us an email ( ) or give us a call (01223 336329) to arrange an in-person individual meeting, phone or video call with a member of library staff. We can help you get accustomed to the library's space, procedures and resources. We also welcome any non-medical helpers to join in the meeting.

You might also find it useful to look at our other Assistive resources web pages.

  • Ask others for help

If you are really struggling or feeling "paralyzed" when you try to do your library research, consider talking to your tutor or mentor about it. Some of your fellow students or colleagues might also be able to help. Remember that the University Counselling Service is available to all students and staff to help you if you are struggling with anxiety for example.

  • Get comfortable with the space

When coming into the library, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the space. A library space is not just for studying and storing books, but can become a comfortable and safe space for you to relax and to study. Some people like to hide away in a corner, some like to sit by a window, some like to be in the comfy seating area or snuggle down in a bean bag. Take a moment to pick the right space for you! 

  • Look at our library space before visiting

There are pictures of various spaces in the department and library linked to from our Library space web page so you can easily familiarize yourself with the space before coming to the library.


We hope this helps you feel comfortable using the library. Your tips for coping with library anxiety are very welcome!