“Does music in libraries speak volumes?” : An experimental study on the influence of background music in a public library on the experience and behavior of library visitors

Heide, S. van der (2014) “Does music in libraries speak volumes?” : An experimental study on the influence of background music in a public library on the experience and behavior of library visitors.

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Abstract:Goal - With today’s insights, it is known that music can have a positive influence on the experience and behavior of consumers. However, up to the present day, no music is played in libraries. It is therefore interesting and reasonable to conduct research on the influence of music in a public library. Furthermore, a rather small number of studies have investigated the moderating effects of individual differences. It appears to be that the motivational orientation of consumers is of great importance regarding the effect of music. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of background music on the experience and behavior of library visitors and explore the moderating effect of motivational orientation. It was expected that background music positively influences the experience and behavior of library visitors. Additionally, it was expected that task-oriented and recreational motivational orientations moderate the effect of background music. Method - Two studies have been conducted. By means of standardized, open-ended interviews, the pre-study aimed to gain insight in library visitors’ motivational orientation, their need for, and preferred genre of, background music in the library. During the main study, a hard copy questionnaire was used to determine the influence of background music on the experience and behavior of library visitors. This was measured by means of emotional state, approach behavior, evaluation of library environment, evaluation of library service quality, satisfaction with library, grade for overall library satisfaction, and perceived crowdedness. Results - The pre-study shows that there exist two types of motivational orientations: task-oriented and recreational. Results indicate that the opinions on the need for music in the library were about equally divided. Additionally, classical music was considered to be most suitable by library visitors. Classical music was therefore used as background music in the main study. The main study showed that background music did not result in a significant increase in positive emotional state, approach behavior, evaluation of library environment, evaluation of library service quality, satisfaction with library, grade for overall library satisfaction, and perceived crowdedness. Contrary to what was expected, music negatively influenced approach behavior and grade for overall library satisfaction. Task-oriented motivational orientation was only effective as a moderator for music in triggering library visitors’ perceived crowdedness. That is, only for people who had a high task-oriented motivational orientation background music had a negative effect on perceived crowdedness. Recreational motivational orientation was only effective as a moderator for music in triggering library visitors’ grade for overall library satisfaction. That is, only for people who had a low recreational motivational orientation background music had a negative effect on grade for overall library satisfaction. Conclusion - It can be concluded that background music and motivational orientation can be important factors for influencing the experience and behavior of library visitors. It is up to future research to explore more precisely the influence of music in libraries and, ultimately, truly identify the power of background music to positively influence the experience and behavior of library visitors.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/65794
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