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Lauren H. Mandel
University of Rhode Island
Journal of Librarianship and Information Science
Published Online Before Print (February 29, 2016)
Wayfinding is the study of how humans use a variety of informational media to orient themselves and navigate in a space, such as a library. This multi-method case study tested the applicability of a wayfinding framework developed in architecture to a public library environment. Research methods included unobtrusive observation of a random sample of users’ wayfinding in the facility and interviews with a convenience sample of users to discuss their wayfinding behavior. Patrons used various wayfinding behaviors in the facility, some corresponding to the framework, but other behaviors did not fit into the existing framework and not all aspects of the framework were observed or expressed. Additional research is necessary to investigate more fully the degree to which the framework validly describes how library users wayfind. Results have value for librarians, architects and interior designers, all of whom may apply findings toward their work designing facilities that are intuitive to navigate.
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