A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Report Documents Academic Library Contributions to Student Success

February 11, 2015

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, recently released Academic Library Contributions to Student Success: Documented Practices from the Field.

The report summarizes the findings to date of the three-year "Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success" project, sponsored by ACRL in partnership with the Association of Institutional Research and the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities, and with funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

The findings from the assessment of the first-year campus teams point to important relationships between the library and student learning and success. Findings thus far are:

  1. Library instruction builds students' confidence with the research process.
  2. Library instruction contributes to retention and persistence, particularly for students in first-year experience courses and programs.
  3. Students who receive library instruction as part of their courses achieve higher grades and demonstrate better information literacy competencies than students who do not.
  4. A library's research and study space fosters social and academic community among students.
  5. Library instructional games engage students, enhance information literacy skills and increase positive attitudes toward the library and its staff.
  6. The library's use of social media promotes awareness of the library and builds academic community among students.
  7. Multiple library instruction sessions or activities in connection with a course are more effective than single sessions.
  8. Collaborative instructional activities and services between the library and other campus units (e.g., writing center, study skills and tutoring services) promote student learning and success.

When the project concludes in 2016, more than 200 higher education institutions, including the UC Merced Library, will have participated in developing assessment methods and tools. 

The UC Merced team is participating in the second year (2014-15) Assessment in Action cohort and has implemented an action learning project to evaluate student learning in relation to information literacy in select Writing 10 sections.

The UC Merced team includes Sara Davidson Squibb and Susan Mikkelsen of the UC Merced Library, Laura Martin in Academic Affairs, and Matt Moberly and Ann Zanzucchi of the Merritt Writing Program.

A more detailed discussion of the first-year Assessment in Action recommendations and strategies are available in the full report online