Established in 1966, College & Research Libraries News (C&RL News) provides articles on the latest trends and practices affecting academic and research libraries and serves as the official newsmagazine and publication of record of ACRL.

Current Issue: June 2021

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Sarah Kortemeier

The snowball effect

Planning for preservation infrastructure in a small library

South view of the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Photo by Robert Reck, 2007.

Small libraries frequently face significant challenges related to funding and staff capacity when attempting to complete large projects and improve infrastructure. With careful planning and a bit of luck, however, it is possible to leverage small successes ...

The Way I See It

Selinda Adelle Berg et al.

“I mean, pandemic”

How COVID-19 has disrupted librarians’ research

The pandemic is having far-reaching consequences as we adjust to lockdowns, adapt to working from home, and face unanticipated personal and professional challenges. We have experienced disruptions to many aspects of our lives, including our professional lives. Research is one element of academic librarians’ professional roles that is being altered or interrupted.

In October 2020, as part of a larger research program, we surveyed librarians at a random sample of research libraries in the United States to help identify factors that impact their research productivity. ...

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Meris Mandernach Longmeier, Jody Condit Fagan

Finding a good fit faster

Tips for writing query letters to LIS journals

For many librarians, the idea of publishing in a scholarly journal is intimidating, especially for those pursuing tenure or promotion. You may have an idea for an article or even several, but you’re not sure what journal would want them. When we hear such uncertainties from our colleagues, we ask, “Have you considered writing a query letter?” Almost always the answer is “no,” but after people try it, they seem to appreciate the benefits we’ve come to enjoy from this simple practice. In this article we offer practical advice based on our experiences with query letters, supplemented by findings from a survey of more than 50 LIS journal editors. ...


Megan Reichelt et al.

Focus groups as an assessment strategy

Lessons learned

In fall 2018, members of the Teaching and Learning Team at the George Mason University Libraries proposed a focus group study to assess one of the libraries’ student learning outcomes. The outcome, “Students will recognize that the library’s value exceeds traditional information sources in order to transfer their knowledge to experiences beyond the classroom,” proved difficult to assess, but we wanted to produce some data to attempt to measure it. We hoped a focus group study of graduating seniors might provide us with evidence for this outcome.

With the support of library administration, we began a two-year research process. ...


Samantha Peter et al.

Feasible and flexible

Launching an information and digital literacy badge and certificate program in collaboration with a teaching and learning center

Photograph of the whiteboards used to sketch out the new Teaching and Learning Certificate and Badge Program.

In fall 2019, the University of Wyoming (UW) Libraries launched an information and digital literacy badge and certificate program in partnership with ...


Brendan Johnson, Katie Odhner

Focus groups from home

Conducting virtual focus groups during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

In spring 2020, two librarians at Penn State-Abington transitioned a series of planned focus groups online after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted in-person sessions. Despite the added challenges of coordinating online groups, we found that the virtual format was effective and offered advantages over in-person groups. Online focus groups eliminate the need for moderators to coordinate the logistics of reserving rooms, ordering food, and purchasing and setting up external recording equipment. Studies show that subjects experience lower “participation burden” for online groups. Virtual groups also enable researchers ...