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Library Impact on Undergraduate Student Learning Featured in Research Library Issues

image by Jenny Leijonhufvud, Cornell University

How do academic and research libraries contribute to student learning in support of the university’s educational mission? The latest issue of Research Library Issues (RLI) highlights two case studies that explore various approaches to assessing the library’s effect on student learning outcomes and experiences.

In the first article, a team from the University of Minnesota presents the findings of their recent study of first-year students’ use of academic library resources and their learning outcomes. By examining student-reported feedback about library use (checking out books, using electronic resources, engaging in reference services, etc.) and about high-level learning outcomes (critical thinking and analytical skills, writing skills, and reading comprehension), the authors argue that the use of library resources does play a role in students’ development of learning outcomes.

In the accompanying article, Cornell University Library staff describe their analysis of a variety of data sources to assess students’ experiences, not just their skills, with a focus on library instruction. This study examined faculty perceptions of students’ information literacy skills and use of library instruction as well as students’ opinions about the usefulness of library instructional offerings. Coupling these survey results with information gleaned from student focus groups, the library decided to conduct a pilot project with Cornell’s College of Engineering. The pilot produced short, instructional videos to help students develop specific library skills on an as-needed basis.

The complete table of contents with links to the articles follows:

Research Library Issues no. 290 (2017) is freely available from ARL Digital Publications.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.