Sep 302014

Two research studies are featured in the new publicity posters (links below) available for use from the VAL project that describe impact on students and (a) their use of library resources correlated to student retention and academic success, and (b) assessment of library instruction impact on academic success.

The article cited in two of the posters [Soria, Krista, Jan Fransen, and Shane Nackerud. “Library Use and Undergraduate Student Outcomes: New Evidence for Students’ Retention and Academic Success.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 13.2 (2013): 147-64] finds a statistically significant improvement in GPA among first year undergraduate students who use the library.

The second study from the University of Wyoming, referenced in VAL-Poster-3, [Bowles-Terry, Melissa. "Library Instruction and Academic Success: A Mixed-Methods Assessment of a Library Instruction Program," Evidence Based Library and Information Practice 7. 1 (2012): 82-95] supports a tiered plan for instruction, teaching incrementally advanced research skills. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, the authors describe student perceptions of library instruction programs as well as GPA of graduating students who had library instruction in their first year and upper-level library instruction. Analysis of data from their study shows a positive correlation between upper-level instruction and a higher GPA at graduation.

We often hear that the library is central to the campus, and we believe that our work is essential/important to the academic mission of the institution.  At the same time our funding agencies are pressing for more evidence of accountability and commitments to improvements and increasingly, quantitative measures of our impact on the output of the college or university.

The above articles and a growing body of literature these studies review are beginning to give real evidence of that impact.  Students’ use of libraries, from using library resources measured in the Minnesota study to quantifying that instruction in information research tailored to the level of need does improve student success.

The images linked below can be used to share with your campus and your users the message that libraries do make that difference.  You can use them as posters or in posts to social media to spread the word.

VAL-Poster-v1-2014.jpg – JPG File, 595.3 KB
By: Andrea Heisel

VAL-Poster-2-v1-2014.jpg – JPG File, 93.89 KB
By: Andrea Heisel

VAL-Poster-3-v1-2014.jpg – JPG File, 172.52 KB
By: Andrea Heisel


The United States Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education recently announced a new Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) competition First in the World (FITW). The program will provide multi-year grants to institutions of higher education to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes, make college more affordable for students and families, and develop an evidence base of effective practices. The grant announcement explains that innovations can take many forms, such as those that improve teaching and learning by redesigning courses and student supports or by leveraging technological developments.

The FITW competition aims to increase postsecondary access, affordability and completion for underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students at institutions across the country. Applications are due June 30, and FIPSE is holding pre-application webinars May 28 and June 4 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. EDT. See the First in the World website and the official Federal Register Notice for more details.

While ACRL is not eligible to apply, academic librarians could work with their own institutions and consortia to seek FITW funding. With $75 million dollars available, this could be a powerful mechanism for you to implement innovative strategies and effective practices which improve student outcomes. Use FITW as a catalyst to transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations on your campus. Leverage this as an opportunity to demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.

Think of ACRL when you develop your proposal. We can serve as a contractor to support your project in the following ways:

You may think of other ways ACRL could support you through our existing programs and services. Or perhaps you would benefit from having ACRL involved in a new way, as a full partner to offer more substantial support. To pursue any of these options as you develop your FITW proposals, be in touch with Kara Malenfant, ACRL’s senior strategist for special initiatives at or 800-545-2433 ext 2510.


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.

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