Academic library use and undergraduate engagement and persistence
MetadataShow full item record
Once considered the "heart of the university," many academic libraries are facing heightened pressures to prove their relevance and value to administrators, faculty, and students, especially during these times of constrained resources and greater calls for accountability and productivity in higher education. At the same time, colleges and universities are continually striving to understand how their institutional environments affect undergraduate engagement, persistence and, ultimately, degree attainment. As a fundamental co-curricular resource, it is time for academic libraries to start systematically assessing how they affect, either directly or indirectly, their parent institutions' goals of student engagement and persistence. This quantitative study investigated the relationship between the use of an academic library, its physical resources and spaces, and student engagement and persistence at a large, public, research university. This unique study combined institutional and library data sources for analysis, including the results from a large-scale student experience survey with over 13,000 respondents, data from the student information system, and library use data from a variety of library data systems. Descriptive statistics as well as correlations, linear regressions, and logistic regressions were conducted to investigate the relationship between the library-use variables and variables representing sense of belonging and satisfaction, academic engagement, academic disengagement, and persistence. The study found many practically significant, as well as statistically significant, correlations and predictive relationships between the library-use variables and the student outcome variables for engagement and persistence, although most of the effect sizes were small. The small to medium effect sizes re-presented in the results suggest that there a complex relationships between the variables and indicate the need for further research. This study contributes to an area of the literature that has received little attention from previous researchers and demonstrates one approach to creating a unique student-level dataset by combining student experience survey data with institutional data and library use data in order to investigate how the use of library resources and spaces may affect student success outcomes.