Head of Collection Development and
Engineering Librarian, San Diego State
University Library, 2006 – current
Engineering Librarian, University of New
Orleans, 1999 – 2006
Recent Ph. D. graduate in Higher Education
Administration & Leadership, May 2008, from
the University of New Orleans.
“Persistence” is a student‟s postsecondary
education continuation behavior that leads
“Retention” is a measurement showing how
many students re-enroll at an institution
that they attended the previous year.
“Attrition” is the diminution in numbers
resulting from lower student retention.
-National Center for Education Statistics
(Persistence) Abbott (1996) library is a significant
predictor in the persistence of women.
(Success) Kuh&Gonyea (2003) positive relationship
between library use and student success.
(On-Campus Employment) Cuccaro-Alamin& Choy
(1998) that on campus part time work may facilitate
(Achievement) Well (1995) found a positive
correlation between undergraduate academic
achievement and library resources and services
So while we are seeing some very
effective “academic” uses of library
… we are seeing some decidedly
non-academic uses of library spaces
and some that seem to be fairly
social in nature.
Tinto‟s (1993) model was used.
General and broad. Unlike other models
doesn‟t focus upon a specific aspect.
(Cabrera – self-efficacy or St. John –
Other studies that mentioned the academic
library as a significant predictor of student
persistence used Tinto‟s Model. (remember
Tinto‟s model used as a tool to explore.
Library not assumed to be either
Academically or Socially integrative.
Interested in the students experiences.
How do undergraduate library student workers at
an urban, 4-year public institution perceive their
work experiences in an academic library
contributing to their social and academic
integration in college?
How do undergraduate library student workers conceptualize the
How do undergraduate library student workers use the library in an
academic and/or social context?
What are their work, academic, and social experiences in the
What do they perceive as possible benefits of library employment?
Porche Biology Gov. Docs.
Dierdre Psychology Gov. Docs.
Dot Non-major Gov. Docs.
Marilyn Sociology Circ.
Jack Comp. Sci. Copy Serv.
Butch Film Micro. & Periodicals
Chuck Non-major Micro. & Periodicals
Ginger Comm. & Geography Media Center
Alice Child and Fam. Dev. Media Center
Freddy Mech. Engineering Media Center
Rodger Marketing Copy Services
Victor Film Lib. Instruction
Hugo History Lib. Instruction
Maggie Art Lib. Instruction
Jane Criminal Justice Reference
Tina English Micro. & Periodicals
Phyllis Kinesiology Micro. & Periodicals
17 interviews conducted (repeating
information at 7) Semi-structured interviews.
Purposeful selection initially, then chain
referral by students.
Currently enrolled and employed.
Presented in three categories.
Conceptualization of the Library.
Perceptions of Coworkers:
All the students related positive descriptions of someone who works in a
library. Tina stated that someone employed in the library should be “very
helpful, polite, and knowledgeable about the library.” Most of the students
indicated this quality of friendliness in some form, either as “helpfulness”
or “outgoing,” but only Hugo, Victor, Jane, Chuck, and Ginger used the
All of the students seemed to have experienced a high level of job
satisfaction and most of their positive experiences centered on
successfully helping a library user. When asked to recall something
negative, they all related a negative interaction with a patron who was
either frustrated with not finding his or her desired material. Freddy‟s
negative experience “not being able to help someone” (Dierdre off-
Familiarity with library:
All the students in various statements indicated that they had benefited in
becoming more familiar with the library. (From “learning a lot of people
skills”, using software, to knowing where to get information.)
Formal academic integrative:
(Directly related to the completion of a specific
educational objective) Porche specifically indicated
two assignments in which she had used the library.
Alice, “Know[ing] that the library provides learning
tools to students” (Where library has appeared in
past persistence studies)
Informal academic integrative:
(Those faculty and staff interactions which students
may have that take place outside the classroom)
Jane entered into a mentoring relationship with a
librarian. Alice and Marilyn‟s encounters with faculty
members. “They always say „hi‟”. Victor and his
encounter with his Film Professor asking him
questions about his work in the library. (School
related, but outside the classroom and related to the
students‟ work on campus.)
Formal social integrative:
(Those social interactions and activities that result from being on campus as a
part of the formal social structure or resulting from campus-related events )
“study groups and making contacts”, location for social networking, Dierdre
sought the library as a refuge, but also it was “really [the] only place to meet
and get studying done.” , and “place to study and meet and rest in between
classes.” Also, Marilyn described her job as “my only „extracurricular‟
Informal social integrative:
(Those social experiences that are a result of a student‟s social choices and
interactions not related to an academic experience.) Freddy mentioned
“hanging out with his friends”, Marilyn stated, “I use it to check books, surf the
internet, and rent movies . . . we [the library] don‟t charge like Blockbuster.”
(meeting place on campus and facilitates other informal social activities:
internet, movie watching, playing games, email and chat)
Jane‟s comment about how the librarian helped her with personal issues when
her father passed away is more of a mentoring and nurturing relationship. It is
evidence that the close working relationship between staff, faculty, and student
worker can be tremendously influential. While Jane‟s experience with the
faculty member is somewhat blurred between a formal and informal social
integrative experience, it is a very good example of both.
How do undergraduate student workers’ think about the
library? Academic and personal resource. Environment as
“laid back” – “relaxing”. Meeting space.
How do library undergraduate student workers’ use the
library? Coursework, papers, Academic and social uses. Meet
friends, play online games, email, nap between classes.
What are undergraduate student workers’
work, academic, and social experiences in the library?
Making friends with coworkers. Use of library as a space.
Heavy technology use for school and recreation – Multimedia &
What do undergraduate student workers’ perceive as
possible benefits of library employment? Flexibility of hours.
Interactions with peers, faculty, library staff. Socially integrative
experiences. Felt their work contributed to university.
How do undergraduate library student workers at an
urban, four-year public institution perceive their work
experiences in an academic library contributing to their
social and academic integration in college?
Academic: All of the students perceived an academic benefit to
working in the library and that the library had contributed to their
academic integration. Some recognized that just simply being on
campus and the convenience of having their work and school in
one place was a benefit academically. Others seemed to
recognize that they benefited academically in just simply
understanding where things were in the library or at least
understanding where to go to get assistance. Several of the
students used this knowledge to facilitate study groups for their
classes or used library resources they were particularly familiar
with for their classes.
Social: The students recognized that they benefited socially from
their employment in the library as a place where they made
friends and networked. However, all of the students when asked
specifically if their library work experience contributed to their
social integration to college, said “yes.” Their social integration to
college was also reflected and supported by all of their reported
usage of the library, which was proportionately not for academic
Role of the library perhaps should not be
described solely as a formal academic
experience, but should instead be
considered to also provide socially
integrative experiences for the library student
workers and, perhaps, students in general.
Library experiences may not fit neatly in a
single category as a formal academic
integrative experience, but may encompass
all of these experiences.
This study‟s evidence also lends support the
belief that different models may be needed
for each group of individuals as opposed to a
single overarching model because the library
experience does not fit neatly into just one
side of Tinto‟s (1993) model.
Assignment of Jobs. How the library places
students in their job should be considered.
An untapped resource. Utilizing these
students in library orientations or at least
consider regularly interviewing these
students to gain insight into how the library
might better serve new students.
The library outside of the university is considered a public and
community resource. The public library represents a community
meeting place, a cultural center, an internet access point, a place to
decompress and escape, a place to learn a new hobby, and a place
to get movies and video games.
Is this not Social?
The public library is also often our children’s first exposure to reading.
Why would an institution (libraries) so rich in social experience
suddenly transform into a purely academic one just because we
placed the word “academic” in front of it?
I suspect it does not.
The academic library does takes on additional meaning and
responsibility. Truly, the reason why it is often said that the library is
the heart of every campus is the same reason that a public library is
the heart of every community.
To consider academic library and its effects on the integration of
students into college, we should consider both the possible social
and the possible academic influences it has upon a student, not just