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Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success

Findings of the ACRL's Assessment in Action program and how libraries help improve student success

How Academic Libraries Impact Student Success

Welcome! As librarians we are enthusiastic about creating positive connections between the library and aspects of student learning and success. Librarians participating in the Assessment in Action program conducted research about academic library impact on student success, retention, persistence, and student learning. From that research, five areas that explain how librarians and libraries can help and are particularly noteworthy: 

  1. Students benefit from library instruction in their initial coursework. Information literacy instruction provided to students during their initial coursework helps them perform better in their courses than students who do not.
  2. Library use increases student success. Students who used the library the library in some way (e.g., circulation, library instruction session attendance, online database access, study room use, interlibrary loan) achieved higher levels of academic success (e.g., GPA, course grades, retention) than students who did not use the library.
  3. Collaborative academic programs and services involving the library enhance student learning. Academic library partnerships with other campus units, such as the writing center, academic enrichment, and speech lab, yield positive benefits for students (e.g., higher grades, academic confidence, retention).
  4. Information literacy instruction strengthens general education outcomes. Library instruction improves students’ achievement of institutional core competencies and general education outcomes such as inquiry-based and problem-solving learning, including effective identification and use of information, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and civic engagement.
  5. Library research consultations boost student learning. One-on-one or small-group reference and research assistance with a librarian enhances academic success, as documented by such factors as student confidence, GPAs, and improved achievement on course assignments.

Taken from ACRL's Academic Library Impact on Student Learning and Success - Overview 2017

Background of Assessment in Action program

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