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Thursday, November 8 • 3:40pm - 4:20pm
A Dream of Spring: Academic Libraries' Services to Graduate Students

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Although many universities have prioritized increasing graduate student recruitment and improving their retention, research indicates graduate students’ needs are under-served in academic libraries. Most major academic library initiatives of the last quarter-century either target undergraduate students (information commons) or faculty (institutional repositories). This is understandable; universities’ undergraduate enrollment typically outnumbers graduate students’ by several thousand, and undergraduate student retention is often seen as more precarious. Faculty, on the other hand, are usually vocal about their library-related needs and more empowered to ensure they are met.
Graduate students and their needs are diverse, presenting further complication. Universities are typically home to multiple graduate programs, structured differently in terms of the type and/or focus of degree, the geographic location(s) of the students in the program, and the times, days, and terms during which instruction is held. Graduate students vary dramatically by age, life, educational, and employment experience, and may have significant life commitments outside graduate study. Graduate students enter programs with different goals, and may be completing a professional credential, embarking on the first step in extensive study, or on course to become faculty members themselves. This variation can make their needs more difficult to pin down.
There is a growing body of research regarding graduate students’ need for support from academic libraries and librarians, but less awareness of academic libraries’ current support for graduate students. This presentation will share findings from a census of Association of Research Libraries (ARL) members’ services, resources, and support for graduate students, as presented on their websites. The researchers analyzed a sample of ARL Libraries’ websites along a number of different dimensions to determine the extent and visibility of their offerings. In addition to sharing findings from the study, the presenters will discuss existing models of service to graduate students and identify characteristics of best practice.

avatar for Rachel Fleming-May

Rachel Fleming-May

Associate Professor, University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences

Jordan Kaufman

Research Associate, University of Tennessee, Center for Information and Communication Studies

Thursday November 8, 2018 3:40pm - 4:20pm EST
Colonial Ballroom, Embassy Suites