More Great Reasons to Take Advantage of Library Resources
A large, rigorous new study by the University of Minnesota—“The Impact of Academic Library Resources on Undergraduates’ Degree Completion”—assessed whether first-year students who used the library at least once during their first year were more likely to graduate or continue to be enrolled after four years (indicating progress towards degree completion).
The survey followed 5,368 students from the entering class of 2011, controlling for a variety of factors related to differences in students. Their records were analyzed to determine if they had used at least one of five major library services—borrowing books (including interlibrary loan and ebooks), using electronic resources, using a computer workstation, enrolling in library instruction, or asking a reference question—in their first academic year.
The results indicate that, overall, first-year students who used any of the library services at least once during their first year of enrollment were nearly 40% more likely to be enrolled after four years or 44% more likely to have graduated after four years than peers who did not use any library resources.
Further analysis of the individual services showed that first-year students who used:
- electronic resources at least once in their first year were 45% more likely to continue to be enrolled and nearly twice as likely to graduate;
- books at least once in their first year were 34% more likely to graduate in four years; or,
- instruction, either by enrolling for a class or having library instruction embedded in classes, were 40% more likely to continue to be enrolled after four years.
This survey is a tremendous accomplishment and is directly relevant to our work, in part because of the parallels between Rutgers and the University of Minnesota—itself a large public land-grant institution and fellow member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The findings are incredibly heartening for us at the Libraries and bode well for the thousands of students we serve each day.