Some characteristics of public library users in Japan

Shunsaku Tamura, Shuichi Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is indispensable for every public library to know its clientele, i. e., their characteristics and attitudes. This paper aims to outline the general characteristics of public library users in Japan. A user survey was made at the four public libraries in Tokyo Metropolitan District in June, 1980. Data were analysed and compared with other older surveys. The following three were found; (1) Although the characteristic of users are varied according to libraries, there seems, to exist some general characteristics of users who commonly use libraries, i. e., people whose ages range between tens to thirties, who are either students, or highly educated housewives, or white-collars and professionals. Of course, people with other characteristics also use libraries, but their proportion is relatively small. (2) The most obvious difference between public library users and general readers is the frequent use by housewives. And this suggests the fact that recent developments of Japanese public libraries are supported largely by housewives (or, mothers who make their children use libraries). (3) Differences in the characteristics of users among libraries are due mainly to their geographic location. Generally, housewives use libraries close to their houses more frequently, and white-collars close to their offices. It is suggested that the general characteristics of public library users in Japan are similar to those of what Berelson once described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalLibrary and Information Science
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Some characteristics of public library users in Japan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this