May 19, 2022

New Report From Ithaka S+R: “Community College Libraries and Academic Support for Student Success”

The following report was written by:

  • Melissa Blankstein
    Ithaka S+R
  • Christine Wolff-Eisenberg
    Ithaka S+R
  • Braddlee
    Dean of Learning and Technology Resources and Professor for the Annandale Campus, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

From the Report:

The Community College Libraries and Academic Support for Student Success (CCLASSS) project examines student success from the perspective of students themselves, what challenges they face in achieving it, and what services can be developed to effectively support them in their attainment of that success. In fall 2018, we surveyed 10,844 students across seven community colleges to assess the value of and demand for proposed services designed to address students’ expressed goals, challenges, and needs.

Key Insights

  • Student needs are academic needs. Students often struggle with balancing their personal, professional, and academic responsibilities, including affording their most basic needs in conjunction with course expenses. While many of their most significant challenges take place outside of the classroom, these difficulties nonetheless can have a substantial impact on their academic success.
  • Students view college both as a means to an end and as having intrinsic value in and of itself. They highly value both their attainment of knowledge and the advancement of their career as a result of their community college experiences.
  • Not all students struggle equally or desire the same support services. Students who have been historically underserved or disadvantaged – such as students of color, first generation college students, those with marginalized gender identities, and those who are low-income, among others – often report encountering greater challenges throughout their college experience and would value potential new services more than their peers.
  • The library, academic advising office, and tutoring or writing center are highly valued as service providers in addressing unmet needs. When given a list of possible institutional providers for new services, students frequently named the library as the most promising source of support.
  • Students would highly value services to address both their curricular and non-curricular information needs. Students would greatly value in-person services to address challenges related to finding information for navigating college and for completing coursework.
  • Student parents want more support with childcare. Parents and guardians, especially women, would highly value childcare services at their college, such as regular or emergency care, and would frequently use these services to ameliorate difficulties with balancing family, household, work, and school responsibilities.
  • Students need greater access to technology. Students are particularly interested in long-term access to Wi-Fi hotspots, printers, laptops, and multimedia editing tools, and would use these devices either at home or on-site for academic, professional, and personal purposes.

Direct to Full Text Report  ||| Direct to PDF Version (40 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.