Library Instruction and Academic Success: A Mixed-Methods Assessment of a Library Instruction Program

Melissa Bowles-Terry

Abstract


Abstract

Objectives – This study examines the connection between student academic success and information literacy instruction. Locally, it allowed librarians to ascertain the institution’s saturation rate for information literacy instruction and identify academic programs not utilizing library instruction services. In a broader application, it provides an argument for a tiered program of information literacy instruction and offers student perspectives on improving a library instruction program.

Methods – Focus groups with 15 graduating seniors, all of whom had attended at least one library instruction session, discussed student experiences and preferences regarding library instruction. An analysis of 4,489 academic transcripts of graduating seniors identified differences in grade point average (GPA) between students with different levels of library instruction.

Results – Students value library instruction for orientation purposes as beginning students, and specialized, discipline-specific library instruction in upper-level courses. There is a statistically significant difference in GPA between graduating seniors who had library instruction in upper-level courses (defined in this study as post-freshman-level) and those who did not.

Conclusions – Library instruction seems to make the most difference to student success when it is repeated at different levels in the university curriculum, especially when it is offered in upper-level courses. Instruction librarians should differentiate between lower-division and upper-division learning objectives for students in order to create a more cohesive and non-repetitive information literacy curriculum.

Keywords


academic librarianship; information literacy; assessment

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