Whilst much of our group’s research is based on the use and availabilities of resources in different languages in library settings across Sydney, not much has been said about how users may differ beyond language usage. That is, for example, ‘how do different age groups apply the English language within one setting and how does this differ from older or younger users?’
With the example of Epping Branch Library, this concept is more immediately apparent as the majority of users appear to be either high school or tertiary students. Unfortunately, as the most recent 2016 census data for Epping is as of yet unavailable, it is difficult to develop a useful comparison for the changes in student populations in Epping throughout recent years. What may help however, is by identifying the educational institutions surrounding the library.
Within a three kilometre radius from the library, there are nine primary and high schools, not to mention numerous pre-schools and institutions that provide services to youth groups. A little further away, there is also Macquarie University, which may account for a portion of the student users.
Epping Branch Library does appear to cater to the needs of these students as one of its most prominent features is its extensive collection of high school textbooks and ‘HSC Materials’, as well as the relatively large children’s reading area.
This is also reflected in the various tutoring services advertised on the library’s community notice board.
Whilst many younger or presumably student users worked quietly in the ‘silent zone’ where individual cubical like desks were arranged, some were observed to be discussing their work on Skype. This particular patron used youth lingo, such as “lol” instead of laughing, “defs” instead of ‘definitely’ and so forth.
Several instances of this was seen throughout the observation period in both individual and group work areas.