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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS079085)

Allowing Food and Drinks in Japanese Libraries: A Survey of Policies and Implementation
No.79, p.85-107
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Purpose: While more libraries in the United States are starting to allow food and drinks as a result of the rise of the “library as place” theme, the changing policies on food and drinks in Japanese libraries have not been studied. Therefore, we investigated Japanese libraries' food and drink policies and their effect on library materials, as well as user reactions, librarians' opinions of the policies, and changes in library usage after the introduction of the policies.

Methods: In 2015, we sent questionnaires to 1,000 libraries (500 public and 500 university), of which 356 public and 329 university libraries responded. We also investigated library usage (gate counts, loans, and reference transactions) both before and after the introduction of policies that allow food and drinks, and found that the numbers consistently increased after the policies were put in place.

Results: The results show that 56.2% of public and 62.3% of university libraries allow food and drinks. Only 4.0% of public and 14.6% of university libraries reported that these policies resulted in noticeable stains on library materials. The gate count for all public libraries, including those that did not allow food and drinks, increased by an average of 8.6%, while that for public libraries allowing food and drinks increased by 65.7%. Public libraries that allowed food and drinks saw a median 56.5% increase in the number of library loans. Therefore, allowing food and drinks may have positive effects on library usage.

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