Through a new report issued by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), “Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success: Findings from Assessment in Action Team Projects,” the higher education community now has compelling assessment findings that tell a strong story about the multiple ways that academic libraries are contributing to student learning and success.
The report focuses on projects completed during the third and final year as part of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA) from April 2015 to June 2016. Teams from more than 50 campuses completed assessment projects and reported on them individually (fully searchable online), and this synthesis builds on past findings from an additional 150 projects completed during the first and second years of the AiA program as context.
Positive connections between the library and aspects of student learning and success in five areas are particularly noteworthy:
- Students benefit from library instruction in their initial coursework. Information literacy instruction provided to students during their initial coursework helps them perform better in their courses than students who do not.
- Library use increases student success. Students who used the library the library in some way (e.g., circulation, library instruction session attendance, online database access, study room use, interlibrary loan) achieved higher levels of academic success (e.g., GPA, course grades, retention) than students who did not use the library.
- Collaborative academic programs and services involving the library enhance student learning. Academic library partnerships with other campus units, such as the writing center, academic enrichment, and speech lab, yield positive benefits for students (e.g., higher grades, academic confidence, retention).
- Information literacy instruction strengthens general education outcomes. Library instruction improves students’ achievement of institutional core competencies and general education outcomes such as inquiry-based and problem-solving learning, including effective identification and use of information, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and civic engagement.
- Library research consultations boost student learning. One-on-one or small-group reference and research assistance with a librarian enhances academic success, as documented by such factors as student confidence, GPAs, and improved achievement on course assignments.
Direct to Full Text Report (28 pages; PDF)