Academic Library Use is Positively Related to a Variety of Educational Outcomes
A Review of:
Soria, K. M., Fransen, J., & Nackerud, S. (2017). Beyond books: The extended academic benefits of library use for first-year college students. College & Research Libraries, 78(1), 8-22. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.78.1.8
Objectives – To consider the relationship between academic library use and four specific outcomes: academic engagement, engagement in scholarly activities, academic skills development, and grade point average.
Design – Hierarchical regression analysis.
Setting – A large, public research university in the Midwest US.
Subjects – 1,068 non-transfer, first-year students who voluntarily completed the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey.
Methods – The SERU survey results were analyzed alongside student data derived from institutional records and 10 library usage variables generated from library systems. Velicer’s minimum average partial (MAP) method was employed to develop a factor analysis. Hierarchical regression analyses measured the relationships between independent variables (demographic characteristics, collegiate experiences, and libraries use) and dependent variables (students’ academic engagement, academic skills, engagement in scholarship, and fall semester grade point average).
Main Results – Students’ use of academic libraries was reported to have a positive relationship with all four dependent variables, above and beyond those explained by pre-college and collegiate experiences: academic engagement (R2∆= .130, p < 0.001), academic skills development (R2∆= .025, p < 0.001), fall semester grade point average (R2∆= .018, p < 0.001), and engagement in scholarship (R2∆= .070, p < 0.001). Use of books and web-based library resources had the most positive relationships with academic outcomes; workshop attendance and use of reference services had limited positive relationships with academic outcomes; and use of library computer workstations had no significant effects on academic outcomes.
Conclusion – Undergraduate student use of the academic library is positively associated with diverse academic outcomes. Although the explanatory power of library use was relatively low, ranging from 1.8 to 13.0 percent of final variance in the dependent variables, library use is nonetheless reported to contribute significantly to academic outcomes.
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