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ERIC Number: EJ1058469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0870
The Library's Contribution to Student Learning: Inspirations and Aspirations
Oakleaf, Megan
College & Research Libraries, v76 n3 p353-358 Mar 2015
George Kuh and Robert Gonyea's 2003 article entitled "The Role of the Academic Library in Promoting Student Engagement in Learning" appeared in "College and Research Libraries" in July 2003, after being presented as an invited paper at the ACRL 11th National Conference that April. Herein, Megan Oakleaf describes not only the impact that this paper presentation had on her but also how Kuh and Gonyea--assessment experts, prolific authors, and national leaders in conversations about college experience, student success, and institutional quality--provide both an early example of a burgeoning research field and an exemplar for present and future authors to emulate. Oakleaf explains that despite not being librarians, or perhaps because they aren't librarians, Kuh and Gonyea offer a unique, valuable, and insightful contribution to literature of librarianship. She goes on to say that while a straightforward answer to answer Kuh and Gonyea's question, "What do libraries and librarians contribute to student learning and other positive outcomes?" is not revealed by their research, the complexity of their findings have provided librarians with a rich area for productive follow-on research as well as a number of substantive recommendations. Oakleaf also points out that while Kuh and Gonyea's article is an exemplar of early research exploring the impact of libraries on learning and other positive student outcomes, it also foreshadowed the research efforts librarians have undertaken in the years since its publication. In the intervening years, librarians have addressed many of the problems that caused difficulty for the authors. Other recommendations mentioned by Kuh and Gonyea are the subject of current research projects. And other issues noted by Kuh and Gonyea in their study still challenge the library profession today. Currently, librarians seeking to answer Kuh and Gonyea's question have been challenged by a host of information challenges including limited availability of library data (because the data are not collected, not maintained, or not accessible due to technological issues or librarian skill gaps), lack of integration between library information systems and campus student information systems, inaccessible vendor data, and issues related to privacy and data security. Oakleaf concludes that it's reasonable to expect that, as librarians gain access to more complex and more revealing information about student library activity and interactions as well as campus level learning analytics, they will gain the connections, skill, confidence, interest, and ability to conduct more sophisticated analyses of the ways in which libraries make a difference in students' lives.
Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A