Friday, October 27, 2006

JCLC Conference Notes, Day Three: Session on the Urban Academic Library

Title of the session: "A Welcoming Space? The Urban Academic Library and Diverse Students."

Adriene Lim, of Portland State University, was the presenter. (This was the last presentation I attended in terms of concurrent sessions).

  • The presentation discussed results of a survey asking research questions to determine how welcoming the library was.
  • Context: Library as place.
    1. Libraries adding value to educational experiences and to academic institution, but how are libraries affecting students' success rates, retention, etc.? (actually, this is a question I would like to ask and explore for my library as well).
    2. Libraries serve significant social roles--perhaps affecting students of color more so than their White counterparts.
  • Urban academic libraries in general:
    1. Situated in large urban centers.
    2. Culturally, socially and academically diverse.
    3. Committed to promoting diversity among student body, faculty and staff.
    4. Expanding access and affordability of postsecondary education.
  • The survey itself was self-selected. The instrument contained 24 questions. It focused on the campus, so it was localized and specific. It supplemented LibQUAL. However, since it was self-selected, it was not randomized, so the results are descriptive and qualitative to the respondents. It got a total of 140 responses with 123 completed surveys.
  • From the discussion, the concept of library as place matters, e.g., the overall physical building characteristics and amenities were important to all respondents regardless of race/ethnicity. When improvements were desired, people of color wanted more access to technological assistance and writing help than their White counterparts. When compared to White counterparts, people of color use the library at disproportionate numbers. In addition, they use the library more than their White counterparts, yet still felt the library was slightly less welcoming to them.
  • The presenter also included a list of references. (Again, nice Powerpoint, but no way to link to it as of this writing).


Martina said...

It seems very interesting the conference you attended, and I believe each library should cater itself to its clientele. It is sad to say how many librarians are not being used to its potential.

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Martina: Conference was interesting indeed. And yes, we should be using our librarians to their fullest potential. Librarians, in spite of what many say in denigrating the MLS, are actually people with skills to learn. I think that is a significant part of what librarians do in order to better serve their clients/patrons/constituents; they learn in order to better serve. Best, and keep on blogging.