Seating Behaviour of Students before and after the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from Occupancy Monitoring with PIR Sensors at the UCL Bartlett Library

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Tunahan G., Altamirano H.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol.19, no.20, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 20
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijerph192013255
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: COVID-19, library, occupancy sensors, seat preference, seating behaviour, students
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: No


© 2022 by the authors.Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in China, social and physical distancing has been promoted worldwide as an effective community mitigation strategy. However, our understanding remains limited regarding how students would resume their activities and use of libraries when the restrictions to manage the spread of coronavirus were lifted. Understanding students’ seating behaviour in libraries is required to guarantee that the libraries meet the needs and preferences of students and promote students’ health and well-being and satisfaction with the library. This paper aims to explore the changes in the use of study spaces before and after the pandemic. Occupancy data from the UCL Bartlett Library collected at 10-min intervals from motion sensors located underneath desks was used to assess the occupancy within the library and which was then compared to characteristics of the space. This study revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted students’ use of the library as well as how much time they spent there. While seats with a good combination of daylight, outdoor view and privacy were in most demand before the pandemic, distance from other students seems to be the priority after the pandemic. Students’ seating preferences appear to be also influenced by the position of desk dividers after COVID-19. Future research should focus on assessing and proposing new seating arrangements and developing strategies to promote students’ satisfaction with libraries in response to changes in students’ seating behaviours.