An exciting C&RL Forum event is just around the corner. This forum will be an excellent opportunity to look closely at two recent studies that center in many ways on value and some of the learning outcomes often associated with student library experiences. 

C&RL Forum on Library Usage and Student Success
Live Wednesday, October 28, 2015 (Length: 60 minutes)
9am Pacific | 10am Mountain | 11am Central | 12pm Eastern

One of the most difficult issues librarians face is how to prove our value to the university. Join us for an author panel discussion of two College & Research Libraries articles which explore the ties between student library usage and success: “The Impact of Library Resource Utilization on Undergraduate Students’ Academic Performance” by Felly Chiteng Kot and Jennifer L. Jones and “Investigating the Relationship of Library Usage to Student Outcomes” by John K. Stemmer and David M. Mahan (preprint). The authors will share the findings of their studies.

The first study (Chiteng Kot and Jones) addressed the issue of self-selection bias by using propensity score matching to construct treatment and comparison groups with similar background characteristics. After controlling for a variety of factors, this study found that students in the treatment group (who used library resources at any level specified) had a higher first-term GPA compared to their counterparts in the comparison group (who did not use library resources at the corresponding levels). For the purposes of this study, library use included workstation logins, study room reservations, and research clinic attendance.

The second study analyzed data from non-anonymous user surveys on why and how often students used the library in conjunction with institutional data to conduct a regression analysis that identified multiple correlations between student outcomes and the library. Stemmer and Mahan found that the library factors associated with student outcomes change over the course of the four year undergraduate experience. Underclass students using the library as a place to study are more likely to have positive outcomes, whereas upper-class students see positive outcomes when using the library as an information resource.

Hashtag: #acrlsuccess


John K. Stemmer, PhD: John is the Director of Library Services at Bellarmine University.


Felly Chiteng Kot: Felly is the Institutional Research Analyst for the Office of the Provost at Nazarbayev University.

Jennifer L. Jones: Jennifer is the Assessment and User Experience Librarian in the University Library at Georgia State University.

David M. Mahan, PhD: David is the Assistant Provost and Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Manhattan College.

Register to receive reminders and information or view the forum live on YouTube.


“Thinking like an Educator” and Demonstrating Value Like a Service Provider

 Library Impact on Students, Student Experience/Engagement, Student Learning Outcomes  Comments Off on “Thinking like an Educator” and Demonstrating Value Like a Service Provider
Sep 302013

Leveraging Emerging Learning Technologies to Promote Library Instruction”
By Beth Strickland, Laurie Alexander, Amanda Peters, and Catherine Morse
June 3, 2013, Educause Review:

As we think about the value added by library services and instruction, the article “Leveraging Emerging Learning Technologies to Promote Library Instruction” highlights key elements of a successful library program — collaboration, assessment, revision, and repeat. Two of the Value Reports’ essential questions resounded as I read the work of these University of Michigan librarians:

1. How does the library contribute to the student experience?
2. How does the library contribute to student learning?

Determined to move beyond the traditional one-shot workshop and supported by the assistant dean of undergraduate education, these librarians collaborated with faculty to develop a for-credit research course. As they assessed their work, they realized there were key components they could enhance using learning technologies. Again, they collaborated with an instructional technologist and created a blended learning approach to the material. This work demonstrates their extension beyond the traditional role of library information literacy instruction and work in curriculum development:

In the area of student learning, academic libraries are in the middle of a paradigm shift. In the past, academic libraries functioned primarily as information repositories; now they are becoming learning enterprises (Bennett 2009, 194). This shift requires academic librarians to embed library services and resources in the teaching and learning activities of their institutions (Lewis 2007). In the new paradigm, librarians focus on information skills, not information access (Bundy 2004, 3); they think like educators, not service providers (Bennett 2009, 194). VAL Report p.37

The online component allowed them to monitor progress immediately instead of waiting for a bibliography or final project to review. This generated discussion among the course librarian faculty member and students in a way that was not as evident in the face-to face version of the class. While we think about how to develop similar classes in our own institutions, these University of Michigan librarians have given us a great model to help others conceive and convince constituents of the benefits inherent in assessing and reviewing workshop and curriculum design.

Information Literacy Assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

 Student Experience/Engagement  Comments Off on Information Literacy Assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
Aug 142012

A session at ALA in Anaheim entitled, “Feasible, Scalable, and Measurable; information literacy assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement” focused on presenting a draft module for the NSSE survey in 2013 to include more focused questions on information literacy.  The presenters, Polly Boruff-Jones (Drury University) , Carrie Donovan (Indiana University), and Kevin Fosnacht (NSSE) have made their slides available here –

This project builds on work that was done creating test questions that were incorporated in the 2008 version of the survey.  These were not permanent, so the new module is developing specific new questions to collect data on a regular basis.  While the presentation focused on discussing the draft questions and soliciting feedback, the presentation also included a demonstration of the NSSE Report Builder, a publicly accessible site that allows users to construct reports based on variables selected from the NSSE.

The NSSE website has a page (  with tools and services that includes links to the Report Builder, Custom Analyses, and Data Analysis Resources.  The same page allows users to search for participating institutions, so for users who aren’t familiar with the NSSE and want to see which institutions participate can check this list.    Please keep in mind that many institutions do not complete this survey every year, so while there is a complete list of 2012 participating institutions, check the separate list of participating institutions with a display of years in which the survey was completed for each institution.

A couple of articles that may help readers get a better understanding of how to use NSSE are available from ACRL publications:

An example of one institution using the data for benchmark comparisons, is Franklin & Marshall.  Readers can see the benchmark comparisons for information literacy using the Level of Academic Challenge data.

So, you may have access to similar data for your institution and can use it to prepare your own analyses.  If your institution participates in the NSSE survey, have you reviewed the results?  Have you created similar benchmarks with your institutional data from the NSSE?  Please share how you are using NSSE data.







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