Guest post by Scott Garrison, Dean,Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education
Ferris State University
Two articles to be published in the April, 2013 issue of portal: Libraries and the Academy describe two separate but related studies conducted as part of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Libraries’ Library Data and Student Success project. Both articles are based on data collected during fall 2011, and while each reveals limitations in current data analysis strategies available to libraries and their institutional partners, both effectively cite and contribute to the emerging library value literature.
The article describing the first study is entitled “Analyzing Demographics: Assessing Library Use Across the Institution.” According to lead author Shane Nackerud, this article “discusses data gathering techniques and demographic analysis of just who uses the University of Minnesota Libraries.” The Libraries partnered with the university’s Office of Institutional Research to analyze undergraduate and graduate student usage of various online and human-facilitated library services. Taking care to ensure user privacy, the authors connected usage to specific student IDs, thus being able to determine the proportion of undergraduate and graduate usage, in aggregate and by college.
The article describing the second study is entitled “Library Use and Undergraduate Student Outcomes: New Evidence for Students’ Retention and Academic Success.” Led by an Office of Institutional Research analyst, the study dug deeper into the same data gathered for the first study, looking specifically at more detailed demographics, academic background (ACT and SAT scores) and student experience variables. The authors’ data analysis suggests that “first-time, first-year undergraduate students who use the library have a higher GPA for their first semester and higher retention from fall to spring than non-library users.”
To read fuller summaries of these articles, visit the Value of Academic Libraries Valueography.
To read more about the Library Data and Student Success Project, and to preview these articles prior to their official publication, visit the project’s blog posting, “Two Articles to Be Published”