Undergraduate students and academic library utilization: a quantitative dominant mixed methods study of information seeking needs, preferences, and motivation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca A. Croxton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Anthony Chow

Abstract: Higher education institutions across the United States are asked to do more with less. This has come at a time when the current presidential administration is calling for the education of every American (White House, 2009). While Americans are enrolling in universities at higher rates than ever before, attrition remains high. Maintaining student enrollment has become a high stakes endeavor as loss of students directly affects institutional budgets. Tinto (1975) posits that student engagement plays an important role in a student’s decision to persist or drop out of college. The academic library is poised to play a key role in engaging and retaining students, though not without a disruption to the status quo. This study seeks to explore factors relating to undergraduate student engagement/ disengagement with the academic library and to explore whether university libraries should expand their role beyond providing academic resources and services into more “real-life” areas that are important to the daily lives of undergraduate students and in support of university retention goals. A quantitative dominant four-phase sequential mixed methods design was implemented at three purposely selected large, public 4-year universities geographically distributed across the United States. Data collection involved 1,291 participants and included semi-structured interviews with academic librarians (n=8), university enrollment and retention officials (n=3), and undergraduate students (n=18), an online survey completed by 1,280 randomly selected undergraduate students, and an analysis of 50 randomly selected academic library websites. Study findings suggest that there is a viable place in the campus community for the library to serve in an expanded role in support of university student retention goals. Such change, however, may require a realignment of library priorities, rebranding of the library in a new role, and significant marketing. A critical component for the success of a new model relates to building students’ perceptions of relevance of the library.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Academic Libraries, Information Seeking, Library Utilization, Motivation, Undergraduate Students
Academic libraries $z United States $v Use studies
College dropouts $z United States $x Prevention
Undergraduates $z United States

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