C&RL Spotlight

Scott Walter


Could we do an Immersion Program for research? Can ACRL facilitate multi-institutional research efforts on issues of strategic concern? Can (and should) individual libraries identify “focus areas” (or “centers for excellence”) in research in which they have (or will work to develop) a critical mass of librarian-researchers? How can libraries, professional associations, and LIS programs work together to establish and sustain a lifelong learning approach to continuing professional education in research skills and/or evidence-based librarianship? What can ACRL learn from existing programs like the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ Librarians’ Research Institute (www.carl-abrc.ca/lri.html) or the IMLS-sponsored Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (http://irdlonline.org/)? These questions (and more) were discussed during the most recent C&RL Online Forum, “The Future of ‘Research’ in the Association of College & Research Libraries” (http://bit.ly/1KMHzHY) and its companion discussion on Twitter (#acrlresearchfutures).

The online fora provide an opportunity to engage with C&RL authors discussing their work months before the final version appears in the journal, as well as an opportunity to ask authors to extend their argument or to report on how programs and practices at their libraries may have been influenced by what they uncovered in their research.

In the case of last month’s forum, there may also be an opportunity to raise questions that go beyond the scope of what C&RL contributes to the broader ACRL research enterprise and to suggest new programs that the association may wish to support.

The July 2015 issue of C&RL features the publication of two essays that have been the subject of previous online forum programs: “Mapping Academic Library Contributions to Campus Internationalization” by Steven W. Witt (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Laurie Kutner (University of Vermont), and Liz Cooper (University of Colorado-Denver); and “Degrees of Impact: Analyzing the Effects of Progressive Librarian Course Collaborations on Student Performance” by Char Booth, M. Sara Lowe, Natalie Tagge, and Sean M. Stone (all of the Claremont Colleges Library). If you haven’t viewed the forum associated with each article, now is your opportunity.

These and other articles appearing in the July issue include:

  • Felly Chiteng Kot and Jennifer L. Jones. “The Impact of Library Resource Utilization on Undergraduate Students’ Academic Performance: A Propensity Score Matching Design.” Abstract: This study uses three cohorts of first-time, full-time undergraduate students (N=8,652) at a large, metropolitan, public research university to examine the impact of student use of three library resources (workstations, study rooms, and research clinics) on academic performance. To deal with self-selection bias and estimate this impact more accurately, we used propensity score matching. Using this unique approach allowed us to construct treatment and control groups with similar background characteristics.
  • Steven W. Witt, Laurie Kutner, and Liz Cooper. “Mapping Academic Library Contributions to Campus Internationalization.” This study surveyed academic libraries across the United States to establish baseline data on their contributions to campus internationalization. Supplementing data from the American Council on Education (ACE) on internationalization of higher education, this research measured the level of international activities taking place in academic libraries and their role in campus internationalization efforts. The results of this study indicated that responding libraries contribute broadly to campus internationalizing efforts yet trail campuses in strategic planning and organizational support.
  • Gail Munde and Bryna Coonin. “Cross-Generational Valuing Among Peer Academic Librarians.” This study investigated the skills, knowledge, abilities, or dispositions that are most valued and respected by academic librarians, and determined how these qualities might, or might not, be associated with generational membership. Other variables included institutional classification, career length, years since first professional degree, and broad library job function. The article explains survey design, proportional random sampling method, statistical analyses and tests, and resulting findings that may have implications for recruitment, mentoring, succession planning, and for assisting in the transmission of knowledge among academic librarians, especially from career-mature librarians to their younger colleagues.
  • Char Booth, M. Sara Lowe, Natalie Tagge, and Sean M. Stone. “Degrees of Impact: Analyzing the Effects of Progressive Librarian Course Collaborations on Student Performance.” The Claremont Colleges Library conducted direct rubric assessment of Pitzer College First-Year Seminar research papers to analyze the impact of diverse levels of librarian course collaborations on information literacy (IL) performance in student writing. Findings indicate that progressive degrees of librarian engagement in IL-related course instruction and/or syllabus and assignment design had an increasingly positive impact on student performance. A secondary indirect analysis of librarian teaching evaluations and self-perceived learning gains by students and faculty showed no correlation to rubric IL scores, suggesting the importance of “authentic” assessment in determining actual learning outcomes.
  • Charlotte Priddle and Laura McCann. “Off-Site Storage and Special Collections: A Study in Use and Impact in ARL Libraries in the United States.” Special collections libraries collect and preserve materials of intellectual and cultural heritage, providing access to unique research resources. As their holdings continue to expand, special collections in research libraries confront increased space pressures. Off-site storage facilities, used frequently by research libraries for general circulating collections, offer a solution to these pressures. Using data from a survey of special collections directors from ARL member libraries, this article examines both the current use of off-site storage facilities and its impact on core special collections activities.
  • Jeffery L. Loo and Elizabeth A. Dupuis. “Organizational Learning for Library Enhancements: A Collaborative, Research-Driven Analysis of Academic Department Needs.” This article presents a qualitative evaluation methodology of academic departments for library organizational learning and library enhancement planning. This evaluation used campus units’ academic program review reports as a data source and employed collaborative content analysis by library liaisons to extract departmental strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and priorities. We illustrate how a systematic review of internal planning documents facilitates the understanding of programmatic goals, identification of cross-unit synergies, and prioritization of library services.
  • Harriett E. Green and Angela Courtney. “Beyond the Scanned Image: A Needs Assessment of Scholarly Users of Digital Collections.” This paper presents an analysis of how humanities scholars use digital collections in their research and the ways in which digital collections could be enhanced for scholarly use. The authors surveyed and interviewed humanities faculty from 12 research universities about their research practices with digital collections and present analysis of the resulting responses. This paper synthesizes these data analyses to propose the critical need for interoperability and data curation in digital collections to increase their scholarly use, and the importance of user engagement in development of digital collections.

Welcome to our new editor-designate

As you may have already heard or read earlier in this issue, Wendi Arant-Kaspar of Texas A&M University has been named the editor-designate of C&RL, and will take over for me as editor in July 2016. I have known Wendi for many years as part of the LIS editors community, and I am looking forward to working with her during 2015–16 to ensure a smooth transition for the journal and to plan the next steps for C&RL. More information on her appointment is available at www.acrl.ala.org/acrlinsider/archives/10409.

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