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Why Kuwaiti Youth are Reluctant About Using Public Libraries Proposal

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Updated: Jul 2nd, 2019


The Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Kuwait accurately notes that the reading culture has declined in Kuwait. In past centuries, Middle Easterners dominated the world owing to their knowledge –seeking culture. However, this is no longer true; few Kuwaitis have cultivated a reading culture, let alone young people. Several issues could have led to this situation, and one of them is the underuse of public libraries. This paper will concentrate on the reasons behind young people’s reluctance to use public libraries in Kuwait.

Background and statement of the problem

Public libraries play an important role in furnishing a nation with knowledge and information. If citizens do not use these invaluable resources, then the consequences will be felt across all industries. Not only will such a culture impede development, but it can also affect the social and political climate in the country. Citizens from countries with poor reading cultures tend to engage in unconstructive and immature discussions; they are less likely to vote wisely and may even start civil conflicts.

It is definitely in their best interest to expand their knowledge base by using public libraries. Young people should be given particular attention because they will eventually become leaders or persons of authority. Besides, it is easier to influence or teach young people to love reading than it is to do the same for an older generation. Once the reasons behind young people’s reluctance to use public libraries are found, then stakeholders can address those concerns and move towards the creation of a reading culture.

In Kuwait, various reports indicate that the general public has a poor reading culture. Furthermore, few of them use public libraries in order to expand their knowledge base. The situation is particularly alarming because of censorship laws that exist in the country. The Kuwait Times reports that local bookstores and other public forums provide Kuwaitis with minimal options. The kinds of books found are narrow in focus and they rarely offer new perspectives on life (Al-Qatari, 2010).

This could be part of the reason why young people are not flocking to public libraries. Alternatively, different categories of readers require different types of genres. For instance, very young readers may prefer comic books or well-illustrated narratives.

On the other hand, college or university attendants may look for mentally-stimulating material, yet these may be hard to find in public libraries. Sometimes, logistical issues may impede the youth from using these facilities. They may have difficulties in accessing the libraries, or may find minimal assistance when they get inside them.

In other instances, young people may avoid public libraries owing to external factors that have little to do with them. The mass media has a large role to play in this regard. Few outlets nurture the country’s reading culture by promoting and interviewing authors. Additionally, state-sponsored book fairs are few and far-between. Alternatively, the education level in several learning institutions could also contribute to this fact.

Some students may prefer to use their school libraries for research. On the other hand, others may not have been taught about the importance of using these facilities or may lack knowledge about their existence.

Some may even suffer from reading deficiencies, so it may prevent them from using the libraries. Since all these issues exist in Kuwait, it is imperative to determine which ones directly affect the use of public libraries so as to provide a solution to the problem. Once an explanation of a problem has been found, then it is quite easy to solve it.

Research questions and objectives

The main research question will be “Why are young people reluctant about using public libraries in Kuwait?”. This research question can be paraphrased as a research objective, that is, “To assess the reasons behind young people’s reluctance to use public libraries in Kuwait”. The main research objective will be divided into the following specific objectives:

  1. To asses whether proximity of public libraries causes reluctance to use the facilities among Kuwaiti youth.
  2. To investigate the relationship between limited book collections in Kuwaiti public libraries and students’ reluctance to use them
  3. To assess whether ignorance about existence of public libraries causes young people’s reluctance to use them
  4. To determine if perceived self-incompetence about the use of public libraries in Kuwait prevents young people from going there.
  5. To examine whether the use of the internet as a source of information makes students unwilling to use public libraries.
  6. To determine the extent to which young people substitute public libraries with university or school libraries.
  7. To assess whether poor reading abilities lead to young people’s reluctance to use public libraries in Kuwait.
  8. To analyze the relationship between poor public library assistance/ services and reluctance to use public libraries among young people in Kuwait.

Study design

This will be a correlational study. It will seek to determine the degree of correlation between a dependent variable and an independent one. The dependent variable in all the specific research objectives is reluctance to use public libraries among young people in Kuwait.

The independent variables in the specific research questions are: proximity of public libraries, low diversity of book collections, ignorance about existence of public libraries, perceived self-incompetence about the use of public libraries, preference for school libraries or university libraries, preference for the internet and poor library assistance or services. The aim will be to establish whether there is a relationship between these parameters.

No manipulation of the variables will be done, as in an experiment. Only information will be obtained from participants about the existence of these relationships. After the correlations are established, then only the independent variables that show a positive relationship with the dependent variable (reluctance to use Kuwaiti public libraries by young people) will be considered.

These independent variables will be identified as the main reasons behind young people’s reluctance to use public libraries in Kuwait. In other words, the paper will be a quantitative research. Responses will be quantified and analyzed in order to determine the strength of the relationship.

Literature review

Most studies on reluctance of young people to use public libraries have been carried out in western countries. Few of them look at this problem in Middle Eastern nations, let alone Kuwait. Therefore, this paper will attempt to bridge that gap by looking at the contextual and geographical issues that may be causing this low use of public libraries among young people.

Since most of the papers on this topic have been carried out in western states, then most of them make a series of assumptions about the social and political context of the situation. For instance, few of them have cases of book-censorship; therefore, diversity of book genres is never a challenge in their public libraries. Alternatively, their public libraries may be better-stocked than their school libraries so few of them may prefer the latter over the former. This is the reason why it is necessary to look at the topic in the local context of Kuwait.

When one analyses the researches that have been carried in this area, most of them focus on one aspect of library use such as information seeking. A paper written by Lee et al. (2004) wanted to find out why students are reluctant to ask questions in libraries, and it found that they are afraid of exposing their inadequacies.

Another one carried out by Dee and Stanley (2005) wanted to assess the patterns of library use among nursing students. It was found that most of them preferred print resources and common internet websites due to their lack of database-related computer skills. These two studies are useful in understanding patterns of library use but one of them is overly inclined towards electronic sources (Dee and Stanley, 2005).

The other one already assumes that students use public libraries and only concerns itself with patterns of use inside the public libraries (Lee et al., 2004). This research will bridge the gap by analyzing why young people do not go to public libraries in the first place. One particular research that was done in Kuwait concerning public library use only focused on the use information technology in those libraries and did not address why users may not visit them in the first place (Al-Qallaf and Al-Azmi 2002).

This research, however, provides information about some of the possible reasons behind reluctance such as poor services in the libraries. The lack of IT in public libraries in Kuwait indicates that the services are still wanting in Kuwait. A report made by Al-Qatari (2010) indicated that censorship was one of the reasons why people had a poor reading culture in Kuwait. The source provides a social explanation for the poor use of public services, but this research will attempt to look for other personal reasons behind this pattern of use.

Other papers have focused on how to attract reluctant readers in general. Some of them include Crawford (2004), Krashen (2005) and Haugaard (1973). These researches suggest the use of comic books as possible solutions to the problem of having a poor reading culture. The above papers can be inferred to this research by using their suggestions. One can deduce that poor book choice or the limited collections in public libraries is the problem being addressed in the latter studies.

That reason will be utilized as an independent variable in the proceeding research. Other analyses have found that poverty is an important determinant of book accessibility and hence reading (Feitelson and Goldstein, 1986 and Duke 2000). One can deduce from these analyses that ill-equipped libraries or accessibility of public libraries is another determinant of underuse in public libraries. The above findings will guide the research project under discussion.

Study population and sampling.

The study population will consist of young people in Kuwait between the ages of 18 and 30. These young people will be located in shopping malls, restaurants and eateries, cyber cafes and other entertainment centers. The other source will be universities from all over the country. Since this is a relatively large number, then it will be necessary to narrow down the number of participants through the use of sampling techniques.

It will be quite difficult to know the total number of young people that visit eateries, restaurants and other entertainment centers. Therefore, participants will be selected using haphazard sampling. No statistical method will be used, so only the most convenient people will be used. Here, willing subjects will be asked to get involved in the research, and the research will be administered. 30 participants people will be randomly collected from this segment of the population.

However, young people from universities will be selected through stratified sampling (Horn, 2009). In this process, the number of persons between the ages of 18 and 30 will be obtained from each of the universities, then their names will be arranged in alphabetical order. The total population size in each university will be divided by the desired sample size: In this case it will be 30. Thereafter, the ratio will represent the nth element; this may be 100 or 40. If n is 100, then every 100th person will be contacted for the research.

Data collection

This research will use structured questionnaires. The method was selected because it will ensure uniform responses as no subjective selection of responses will be necessary (Babbie, 2005).

The questionnaires will be personally administered so as to increase response rates and also to clarify possible misunderstandings about the questions. The questions used in the research will be complemented using the Likert scale. Each question will possess five items: Agree, Disagree, Strongly agree, strongly disagree and neutral (do not agree or disagree).

Data analysis

All the nine specific objectives will have corresponding questions in the questionnaire form. The responses will be analyzed through their central tendencies. In other words, their modes will be found through percentiles. They will be represented on bar charts so as to nullify or confirm the hypotheses inherent in all the research objectives.

Ethical considerations

The use of Likert scales always creates biases in central tendencies, where subjects refrain from extreme responses. Alternatively, others may give responses that make them appear more rational. In order to avoid these challenges in questionnaire responses, it will be necessary to combine both negative and positive statements in the form (Burns and Burns, 2008).

Issues about getting equal representation from the group in the social settings will be a problem. To deal with inefficiency, all the thirty subjects will be selected from 30 different locations and all of them will come from different towns in Kuwait that have public libraries.

Not all the subjects will understand the questions in the same way, they may act like they understand and select an answer when they do not fully grasp what the questions mean. To reduce this problem, respondents will be approached when alone so as to minimize the tendency to impress other individuals. Besides that, the researcher will observe their body language so as to assess whether they understand things.


This research aims at determining the reasons behind young people’s reluctance to use public libraries in Kuwait. It will solve the problem of having a poor reading culture by offering. For data collection, personally administered structured questionnaires will be used so as to ensure uniformity, higher response rates and question clarification for participants.


Al-Qatari, H. (2010). Of sense and censorship. . Web.

Al-Qallaf, C. and Al-Azmi, H. (2002). Information technology in Public Libraries in Kuwait. The International Information and Library Review 34(4), 289-308.

Babbie, E. (2005). The basics of social research. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Burns, A. & Burns, R. (2008). Basic marketing research. NJ: Pearson Education.

Crawford, P. (2004). Using graphic novels to attract reluctant readers. Library media connection, 26-25.

Dee, C. & Stanley, M. (2004). Information-seeking behavior of nursing students and clinical nurses: implications for health sciences librarians. Medical Library Association 93(2), 213-22.

Duke, N. (2000). For the rich and it’s richer: Print experiences and environments offered to children in very low and high socioeconomic status first grade classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 37(2), 447-478.

Horn, C. (2009). Educational research questions and study design. Academic psychiatry 33, 261-267.

Feitelson, D. & Goldstein. Z. (1986). Patterns of book ownership and reading top young children in Israeli school-oriented and non school oriented families. Reading Teacher 39, 924-930.

Haugaard, K. (1973). Comic books: A conduit culture? Reading Teacher 27, 54-55.

Krashen, S. (2005). The decline of reasing in America, poverty and access to books, and the use of comics in encouraging reading. Web.

Lee, J., Hayden, A. & MacMillan, D. (2004). I wouldn’t have asked for help if I had to of to the Library. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship 2, 12-36.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Why Kuwaiti Youth are Reluctant About Using Public Libraries'. 2 July.

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