Community College Libraries & Librarians and Student Success

The RSL Research Group has completed a three-year study of the contributions of community college libraries and librarians to student success in North Carolina.  The project web page is  It includes links to the full study report, a four-page infographic summarizing the study’s findings, and the PowerPoint presentation about the study used for the June 28, 2017, webinar coinciding with the study report’s public release.  A link to the archived webinar will be added as soon as possible.

The study found that students, faculty, and librarians themselves agree about the contributions to student success of librarian services–specifically their practice of embedded librarianship with faculty and their teaching of information literacy to students–and library resources–ranging from print and non-print resources to individual and group study spaces to database (e.g., the state’s NC LIVE databases) and WiFi access.

Embedded librarianship is a more proactive, ongoing, project-based approach to collaborating with faculty and students.  Activities associated with practicing embedded librarianship include participating in online course discussions with faculty and students; conducting in-depth research for faculty; collaborating with faculty on instructional design and delivery (in libraries and classrooms); working on project teams with faculty; and serving as liaisons with departmental faculty.

Information literacy is a set of understandings essential to learning, including the iterative nature of inquiry; how to assess the extent to which information is authoritative, how to conduct effective searches, how information formats differ, and how information is valued.  Activities associated with teaching information literacy include providing library orientations and instruction; teaching students in one-to-one interaction; teaching research skills; teaching about databases; and creating library and information-literacy-related websites (e.g., LibGuides).

Students, faculty, and librarians also agreed that libraries benefit a wide range of student cohorts including students who need to catch up with their peers (i.e., basic skills, high school equivalency, English/reading skills) as well as those who need to keep up with their peers (i.e., first year progress, progress in chosen program of study, licensure/certification, and college transfer).

This study was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The RSL Research Group is based in Louisville, Colorado.  The report was co-authored by consulting principal investigator Keith Curry Lance, RSL vice-president and general manager Bill Schwarz, and RSL president Marcia J. Rodney.

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