Tag Archives: academic libraries

Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinates of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal Universities in Southwest, Nigeria

Reviewed By: Nhu-y Tran, Cheryl Pavliv, Rachel Fiege , Kathryn Wallace

Link to article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164/

Synopsis and description of how the article represents an international perspective
The article “Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinates of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal Universities in Southwest, Nigeria” discusses the importance of providing electronic materials to university students. It was conducted at six different universities in Nigeria. ELR’s consists of a wide variety of resources including: e-journals, e-books, online public access catalogues, CD-ROM databases, and E-theses. The objective was to find demographic variables in the usage of ELRs, academic purposes for ELRs, frequency of use, the demographic variables within different disciplines, as well as comparing the different disciplines.
This article represents an international perspective because academic libraries should have ELRs that are used widely across all campuses regardless of what university or country a student is studying. Campuses allow a broader perspective from a wide range of studies when students have electronic library resources. ELRs also allow students to read the most up to date research occuring in their field of study. Due to the importance of ELRs, librarians need to make sure students use these valuable sources. Research is important in this field because it allows academic libraries to see where their shortcomings are to fill the gap that is needed for students.

Core research question(s)

What are the relationships between undergraduates’ demographic variables such as age and gender and academic discipline on the use of electronic library resources in federal universities in South-west, Nigeria?

Methods used to answer the research question(s)

This study is a descriptive survey research design. Adefunke Sarah Ebijuwa and Iyabo Mabawonku used a multi-stage sampling technique in two stages. The first stage was to select the facilities and the second stage was to select the departments in which to recruit students from. In total, 1,526 undergraduates from four faculties and three departments in the six federal universities in South-west were recruited for their study. A questionnaire was utilized to collect data. The authors also employed descriptive statistics of frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation, correlation, and regression methods to obtain the results.

Findings and conclusions
The study found that undergraduates were using ELRs for a variety of reasons such as updating their knowledge on areas of interest, working on class assignments, and using electronic sources for school projects. In short, students are using the full range of ELRs for academic purposes. The findings showed that most students use ELRs on a weekly basis. The only demographic that showed a variation in usage of ELRs was age- not gender or discipline. The types of ELRs varied among colleges and disciplines, but students were actively using the electronic resources that their universities have.
What can American libraries learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations?
American libraries can learn about designing services for diverse populations through this global study. Academic library staff need to help all students optimize their use of electronic library resources. Staff should check whatever biases they may have at the door and encourage their students to make use of all ELRs available to them. There should be no influence based on age or gender regarding the suggestions for these resources; likewise, students should use all resources equally and not favor one over the others. Motivation strategies can be introduced and should appeal to all. This is especially pertinent to diverse populations that encompass more than age and gender.
College professors should provide assignments to their students that address their classes’ diverse needs, which will require the use of ELRs for research and learning. In turn, academic libraries need to ensure that the ELRs they provide meet these needs and represent cultural competence and relevance. These resources should be marketed by the academic library staff to both faculty and students as relevant; students will be able to find their comfort level while researching, and faculty will remain assured that they can, in fact, send students to the library for the right information. Periodic assessments should be conducted to determine whether or not the ELRs are being used effectively.
Finally, universities should provide wider access of ELRs to their students and make these resources available outside of the library. When students are able to access their resources campus-wide through their wireless Internet connections, they can work remotely at a time and place that is convenient for them.

Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinants of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal universities in South-west, Nigeria

Reviewed By: Amy Budzicz, Joanna Delgado, Keith Chong

Link to article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164/


Ebijuwa and Mabawonku’s study seeks to build on existing research that suggests that electronic library resources are underutilized in Universities throughout Nigeria. While previous research suggests that the low usage of electronic resources is caused by a number of factors including a deficit in technology literacy, and user attitudes, this study examines other potential factors more closely, using opt-in descriptive survey research to look for discrepancies in electronic resource utilization based on the factors of age, gender, and academic discipline. The study claims that age is the most prominent determinant of electronic resource usage, though it notes that the vast majority of respondents were between the ages of seventeen through twenty five years of age with a mere 1.7% of respondents being twenty nine or older. The results are compared in the study’s literature review to the findings of similar research written by information scientists in the United States, Malasia, Chile, and various other countries and for the most part seem to corroborate the existing findings; that age, rather than gender or academic discipline, is the demographic that can be used to predict electronic resource usage most consistently.

Core research questions

The research questions of Ebijuwa and Mabawonku’s 2019 study examine whether the usage demographic usage statistics of electronic library resources correlate to variables such as age, gender, or academic field of study of undergraduate students in federal universities in South West Nigeria. It questions existing studies and research, that focus on why universities report low usage of electronic library resources (including wealth disparity, low levels of technology literacy, and over all user attitudes), and asks whether there are other factors that contribute to this lack of technology adoption.

Methods used

This study surveyed six federal universities in Southwest Nigeria, comprised 140,351 undergraduate students. To narrow the survey pool, the study broke down the number of responders by looking at specific academic areas, and specific departments within those areas. Observing that academic disciplines were common among the six schools, the study was able to categorize academic discipline into 12 departments from 4 subject areas. These were Arts: English, History, Philosophy; Engineering: Electrical and Electronics engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering; Science: Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics; and Social Science/Humanities: Economics, Sociology, and Psychology. The study comprised of an opt-in survey which resulted in 30,516 respondents. Only 5% of respondent submissions were used in order to narrow the study further, leaving a sample size of 1,526 students. Each of the 1,526 students received a questionnaire asking questions of discipline, age, gender, and types and reasons for using Electronic Library Resources.

Findings and Conclusions

According to Ebijuwa and Mabawonku, age is the only factor that played a consistent role in the findings on whether or not age, gender, and academic discipline affects undergraduates use of electronic library resources. For example, patrons using the library were mostly between the ages of 20-22 years old using electronic library resources for class assignments, projects, scholarship opportunities, research, online applications, and personal use such as, news and email, etc. Gender and academic discipline were not affected because of inconsistent results. For example, “Okiki and Ashiru (2011) who found in their study more male (53.82%) than female (46.18%). However, the result obtained in this study contradicts those of Ukachi (2013); Ebijuwa (2018) whose studies had more female than male students” (Ebijuwa & Mabawonku, 2019). Another interesting finding is that there was no consistent pattern between undergraduates using electronic library resources and the number of different disciplines. For example, “Faculty of Science used E-journals, Ebooks, CD-ROM databases, OPAC and E-thesis more frequently than the faculties of Arts, Social Science and Engineering” (Ebijuwa & Mabawonku, 2019). At the end of this article, researchers recommend six different ways undergraduates can improve the use of electronic library resources. For instance, library staff should encourage, recommend, and promote toward undergraduates to use other electronic library resources instead of just prefer one over the other.

What can be gained by American Libraries?

Although the scope of this study was relatively small and focused on usages statistics of undergraduate students, their recommendations are applicable internationally, and across all manner of user demographics. Ebijuwa and Mabawonku make the recommendation that library staff can increase electronic resource utilization by encouraging users to explore all electronic resource options rather than using the same resource every time, and suggest adoption of “various motivation strategies to promote the use of electronic library resources among the undergraduates.” They further recommend that wireless should be available to undergraduates across campus rather than at libraries or specific buildings alone; which can be taken a step farther by public institutions as a recommendation to make free, easy access wireless available in all manner of public spaces to ensure seamless and equitable access.

Additionally, if the results of the study are extrapolated to user populations in general, and age tends to correlate to low electronic resource usage, then libraries need to consider how to bolster education for older patrons using electronic resources. More research should be done to examine demographics that correlate with low usage of electronic resources in American public libraries and how library systems can create and promote electronic resources for everyone.


Ebijuwa, A. S., & Mabawonku, I. (2019). Demographic variables and academic discipline as determinants of undergraduates use of electronic library resources in federal universities in South-West, Nigeria. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164


Reviewed By: Gregory Witmer, Kelli Rose, Kristen Bunner, Nanette Reyes Cruz

Link to article: http://publish.lib.umd.edu/IJIDI/article/view/335/71

The article, Meeting Campus Linguistic Diversity: A Multilingual Library Orientation Approach, is a case study examining the planning, implementation, evaluation, and assessment of a multilingual library orientation program for enrolled students at McGill University, located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The article provides an overview of the demographic makeup of the student population, identifies the goals of the orientation initiative and reviews supporting literature. A description of the researchers’ approach, including their instructional design, marketing strategies, evaluation and assessment, and a discussion of the challenges and lessons learned are also offered. The article contributes to the body of knowledge in library science, specifically providing an international perspective for the development of library services for multilingual patrons (Zhao, Torabi, & Smith, 2016, pp. 1-3).

According to university enrollment reports for the Fall semester of 2016, international students at McGill account for over 25% of the total student population, while more than half of all students are considered to have a native language other than English (as cited in Zhao et al., 2016). This article’s literature review focuses on the information-seeking behaviors and information needs of international students; additionally, it serves to highlight the challenges that non-native English-speaking students face when navigating an institution’s library and education system, particularly when seeking and using information.

In a previous study by Zhuo, Emanuel, and Jiao (2007), researchers reported the lack of knowledge and experience in using a library, along with difficulties in understanding English worded jargon and search terminology, will often generate a preference among international students for information services and resources to be offered in their native languages (as cited in Zhao et al., 2016). Ishimura and Bartlett (2013) noted not understanding academic expectations influenced the quality of information literacy and, consequently, the international students’ work; similarly, Greenberg and Bar-Ilan (2014) reported the following observations among non-native speaking groups: less utilization of search engines, databases, reference resources, and a diminished number of sources cited within their work (as cited in Zhao et al., 2016). As a result, all the research studies recommended tailoring information literacy and library instruction to meet the needs of the multilingual student population, including offering services and information to different native language groups in their own language. In doing so, a culture of inclusivity and the enhancement of library student relations can both be fostered (pp. 3-4).

Librarians at the McGill Library identified a knowledge gap of library services and resources for non-native English-speaking students, which are shown from past studies to stem from barriers caused by lack of English proficiency, lack of previous library experiences, and cultural differences (as cited in Zhao et al., 2016, p. 3). This information stimulated the following research questions:

1. Can multilingual library orientation sessions help better meet the library and information needs of McGill Library’s linguistically diverse student population?
2. Would a multilingual orientation improve non-native English-speaking students’ knowledge of library services and resources?

Building on McGill Library’s thematic vision––Access, Collection, Space, and People––the library began to develop an approach for the orientation initiative. After identifying the most common languages spoken (French, Mandarin Chinese, Persian, English, and Spanish), liaison librarians were recruited who expressed an interest in the project and spoke the languages identified; next, the team moved on to creating an official title, developing the curriculum, implementation, and assessment plans; and lastly, organizing logistics and promotional strategies. The team incorporated a blend of technological and traditional promotional techniques including social media, their library website, newsletters, pamphlets, posters, and outreach. Across each multilingual orientation session, instruction focused on the following five learning objectives:

1. Navigate and find library services using the library’s website.
2. Locate different library branches and learn how to use the library as a space.
3. Become familiar with the digital and physical collections.
4. Access e-resources off campus.
5. Find and contact subject specialist librarians at the McGill Library.

During each session, library related vocabulary was provided in English to help students build a working knowledge of terminology. Formative and summative assessments were incorporated into the instructional design with teaching activities and an end-of-session assessment questionnaire that provided useful feedback to inform current and subsequent instruction (pp. 5-8).

The sessions boasted a 63% attendance rate with orientations in Mandarin Chinese having the highest attendance. This may be attributed to early semester scheduling (the Mandarin Chinese orientation was offered earliest in the semester), leading the authors to speculate that students are more willing to attend orientation sessions at the beginning of the semester while their schedules are less busy. Also, there were more Chinese speaking students because they make up the third largest population after English and French speaking students (pp. 8-10).

The summative questionnaire identified an increase in students’ library knowledge along with positive feedback, leading the liaison librarians to conclude that the initiative achieved its overall goals of proactively meeting the information needs of McGill’s linguistically diverse population, and improving non-native English-speaking students’ knowledge of library services and resources. The summative questionnaire also provided insight on students’ desires for additional multilingual instruction, LibGuides, workshops, video tutorials, webpages and other online material. The orientation sessions did not have consistent attendance in all languages and the authors recommended further research on understanding both the library use and information-seeking behaviors of French-speaking and non French- or English-speaking students alike (pp. 10-11).

Due to a low response rate regarding the library’s assessment questionnaire––in terms of students from sessions other than the Chinese orientations––researchers did not have the available data to draw conclusions regarding the surprisingly low attendance among French-speaking students (2016, p. 10). Some of the unanswered questions are:

1. What other ideas do the researchers have for engaging the other non-native English speaking groups to encourage attendance of these orientation sessions?
2. What else can be done to ensure completion of the end of session questionnaire? What types of incentives could have been offered?
3. Why were follow-up interviews not considered as a means for obtaining further qualitative data?
4. Did this research inspire librarians to develop other targeted initiatives? (e.g., Multilingual web pages, LibGuides, or online tutorials?)

Librarians at the McGill Library have noted a growing community of non- or limited-English users, which also correlates to the increasing trend for diversity within higher education settings, “due to increasing mobility among youth and an ever-globalizing world economy” (Zhao et at., 2016, p. 1). It’s important for information professionals to be aware of the challenges these individuals commonly encounter during their information-seeking activities, and to cater instructional materials to better-provide services to these diverse groups. Librarians should strive to accommodate all members within their community; however, providing information literacy in a student’s native language can be a challenging task given the lack of languages spoken by library staff. The authors of this article encouraged resourcefulness and creativity in providing learning opportunities and multilingual services to the non-native English-speaking student. Furthermore, they recommended the collaboration and training of international students as liaisons who can contribute to existing library services and provide input in the development of supplemental programs (p. 11-12).

Our own recommendations for future investigations relating to linguistically-diverse community groups align with Beaulieu’s (2013) statement that continued attention to the relationship with the surrounding multilingual communities is essential for the successful development of library services (p.19). Cultivating a strong shared relationship with these groups not only allows for honest feedback and continued participation, but prevents library efforts from stagnating or developing in ways that are contrary to the needs and wants of students––or other user types. In terms of addressing the overall low response rate of this study’s assessment questionnaire, we suggest for librarians to offer incentives that may increase users’ participation and willingness to provide feedback. Additionally, for similar types of future studies, reaching out to those who attended the orientation sessions––or establishing focus groups––can provide librarians with further qualitative data on students’ perceptions and attitudes towards multilingual library initiatives. Librarians at McGill can also create multilingual, self-directed online materials that highlight resources and services that the library offers; the development of these online tutorials would allow additional students to access the orientation material at their own pace. Providing these types of resources would likely result in more students participating, which accomplishes the initiative’s goal to proactively meet the library and information of their linguistically diverse student population (Zhao et al., 2016, p. 2).

Beaulieu, T. (2013). No surprise, community engagement works. In B. Smallwood & K. Becnel (Eds.), Library services for multicultural patrons (p. 13-20). Scarecrow Press.

Zhao, J. C., Torabi, N., & Smith, S. (2016). Meeting Campus Linguistic Diversity: A Multilingual Library Orientation Approach. The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion, 1.

Accessibility and Inclusion Issues in Library Acquisitions: A Guideline to Evaluating and Marketing the Accessibility of Library E-Resources

Reviewed By: Jeana Clampitt, Javier Morales, Jennifer Nguyen

Link to article: http://publish.lib.umd.edu/IJIDI/article/view/314

In this article, Kerry Falloon (2016) examines how academic libraries can ensure that their digital collections comply with federal regulations while meeting the needs of all users. She suggests a specific workflow that includes evaluation and marketing of digital materials. Falloon begins the article with a review of applicable regulations, including legal cases that have arisen when universities have failed to comply. Falloon then points to several existing guides which aim to assist librarians with making purchasing decisions. She discusses existing technologies, including specific products, and the benefit for all users of providing adaptable materials and technology. Then she presents a workflow model and discusses how it has been implemented at the City University of New York (CUNY), and specifically the College of Staten Island (CSI) Library. Finally, she discusses marketing, including the importance of signage and the use of LibGuides as a method of promotion.

Falloon states, “The purpose of this study is to educate acquisition librarians attempting to integrate best practices in evaluating the accessibility of acquired products and services into current workflows” (p. 2). In addition, the study aims to “provide a workflow model on how to ensure that a digital resource is evaluated and marketed for accessibility compliance” (p. 14).

These goals can be reframed as the following research questions:
RQ1: How can acquisitions librarians ensure that digital collections comply with accessibility regulations and are practical for all users?
RQ2: What are best practices for evaluating and marketing digital materials?
RQ3: What workflow model do librarians at the CSI Library use to ensure these goals are met?

Falloon evaluates electronic resources in regards to the implementation of new workflows. She states that “traditional workflows need to be broken down and redesigned into new workflows, with patron services as its goal” (p. 6). According to Falloon, doing so will allow libraries to be better able to keep the accessibility and universal design needs of patrons with disabilities at the forefront in all electronic resource decision-making processes.

To help with the facilitation of these new workflows, the CUNY-CSI Library used the Techniques for Electronic Resource Management (TERMS) as a model to help in the evaluation of product and service accessibility. If properly adopted by library staff, TERMS would help create new workflows that would better allow them to evaluate whether electronic resources are “accessible, adaptable, supportive, and can be used by patrons of all abilities.” (p. 6).

In the course of this wider study of the accessibility needs of patrons, the CUNY-CSI Library has made a concerted effort to prioritize new policies and procedures. Several resources are highlighted, including the ALA’s “Purchasing of Accessible Electronic Resources Resolution” policy and the ASCLA’s “Think Accessible Before You Buy” toolkit. These guides along with other resources can help librarians create more accessible content. They can then apply those skills to better evaluate the accessibility of other resources. The author also makes a point to note that accessibility isn’t limited to online resources. For example, library acquisitions staff often also handle the purchasing of hardware and software. This can include specialized equipment, such as screens that magnify text, large-print keyboards, or assistive programs that enable patrons to interact with electronic resources.

Falloon makes several recommendations, such as Zoom Text, a screen reader that serves several purposes. It can enlarge or enhance text and images on the screen, or even read aloud. Other recommendations include Kurzweil 3000, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and even built-in accessibility features found in Microsoft Office Suites. She argues that though several of these options would certainly require a significant investment on the part of the library, it would ultimately be worthwhile, if it better allows the library to assist a wider array of patrons.

Falloon finds that though about 75% of resources acquired by the CUNY-CSI Library are electronic, they are not necessarily accessible. Acquisition and electronic resource librarians are not always mindful that new materials must adhere to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, or the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). “Acquisition and electronic resource librarians need to acquire knowledge of disability law compliance as it relates to product evaluations, purchasing decisions, marketing, and reviews” (p. 14). The article was written to enlighten said librarians of these issues and provide inclusive and accessible TERM steps, signage, and many electronic programs to check whether materials are accessible to those with disabilities.

Falloon provides an excellent overview of the current situation regarding accessibility of digital collections as well as suggestions for implementing a workflow that emphasizes evaluation and marketing of such materials. Suggestions for future studies include how other academic libraries are approaching the topic, as well as advancements in other types of tech tools.

There have been several advances in technology since this article was published, including the rising popularity of intelligent virtual assistants. These have the potential to increase accessibility for users with disabilities. One further question is whether they are being designed to meet accessibility regulations. Companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have incorporated accessibility settings into these products. They are similar to the settings Falloon discusses for the Windows desktop environment. Other new technologies that are starting to see adoption in libraries are virtual reality (e.g. Google Expeditions) and augmented reality (e.g. librARi). While Falloon focuses on resources for users, there have also been advancements in library management software and repositories (e.g. LIBERO, Alexandria, and ePrints). It remains to be seen which of these different types of technologies will become mainstream and how libraries will work to make them accessible to users and staff.

As technology continues to evolve, accessibility regulations will likely need to be revised to include new formats. Falloon writes that librarians need to be aware of these changes, but does not discuss how to best keep staff aware of updates. One solution would be to assign one or more staff members to track these changes. This could be done by periodically reviewing the ADA website (https://www.ada.gov/), subscribing to email updates from the United States Department of Justice (https://www.justice.gov/news), or following the DoJ (@TheJusticeDept) and organizations such as the Southeast ADA Center (@adasoutheast) on social media.

Falloon, K. A. (2016). Accessibility and inclusion issues in library acquisitions: A guideline to evaluating and marketing the accessibility of library e-resources. The International Journal of Information, Diversity, and Inclusion, 1, 1-16. Retrieved from http://publish.lib.umd.edu/IJIDI

Library 2.0, information and digital literacies in the light of the contradictory nature of Web 2.0

Reviewed By: Sherrie Bullard, Michael Hober, Heidi Scheidl, Kayleigh Septer

Link to article: http://www.webology.org/2010/v7n2/a78.html

Article synopsis and core research question(s)

In this article, Koltay (2010) attempts to find connections and differences between professional and amateur content generation in Web 2.0 environments. The paper begins with the hypothesis “that raising awareness of differences between professional content and content produced by the amateurs of Web 2.0 is of extraordinary importance in providing adequate library services, be it in the form of offering content services or information literacy (IL) and digital literacy (DL) education” (Koltay, 2010, para. 1). It is also argued that while technological developments are interesting and libraries enjoy being as close to the cutting edge as they can get, it must continue to be the user’s needs that determine the adoption of new technology.

The article begins by looking at Web 2.0 technology and why it is so commercially successful. It also examines Web 2.0’s connection to amateurism due to the ease with which users can participate. This is contrasted to the professional and educational uses that Web 2.0 provides for librarians and libraries. The importance of IL and DL in different contexts is also considered, such as the importance of engaging in formal IL instruction in academic library settings where an analytic style of information seeking and use is appropriate. However, in public library settings it is more acceptable to facilitate a pragmatic style of information use.

Methods used to answer the research question

The research method that Koltay used to answer the research question is desk research, also known as secondary research. This research method is the gathering and analyzing of information that is readily available in print or published on the internet. Secondary research has been proven to be very time and cost effective because it helps to obtain the large spectrum of information in a shorter span of time and for a lesser cost than primary research.

Many different types of sources were used to find literature that the author could use to support the research question. Peer reviewed articles from professional journals and professional associations that were in print and online and professional blogs were used to find literature. Most of the information is from the United States. However, the author used a few articles of information from other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy and Hungary. The author uses these diverse sources to try to find a balance view of Web 2.0. Although, the author does point out that having a “critical attitude helps to identify the most useful tools that can serve library goals and is the basis for providing adequate information literacy and digital literacy education” (Koltay, 2010, para. 2).

The author set out to investigate the main features of Web 2.0 that contributes to its commercial success, the question of amateurism, and the difference between amateur and professional contents. The role of amateur and professional content in library services, IL and DL and in Library 2.0 were also examined.

Findings & conclusions

As previously mentioned, the purpose of this article was “to prove the hypothesis that raising awareness of differences between professional content and content produced by the amateurs of Web 2.0 is of extraordinary importance in providing adequate library services…” (Koltay, 2010, para. 1). The author understands that “there is no single literacy that is appropriate for all people or for one person over all their lifetime” (Koltay, 2010, para. 31). He also realizes that literacies are changing and require “constant updating of concepts and competencies in accordance with the changing circumstances of the information environment” (Koltay, 2010, para. 31). It should also be noted that when public libraries use Web 2.0 as a service, that the tools that are a part of Web 2.0 “can and should be used for different purposes according to differential user needs” (Koltay, 2010, para. 32).

The concept that patrons should have is an awareness of whether they are using the Web 2.0 services for a scholarly need, or purely for entertainment should also be emphasized. Ultimately Koltay (2010) finds that “…the pragmatic style is compatible with amateurism, thus has a place in public library environments, while the analytic style is the ideal for academic users and literacies geared toward their needs should show preferences to this information style” (para. 30). Public libraries have so much to offer their patrons, and by providing their patrons with the knowledge of how to correctly analyze and critically evaluate these tools can prove to be not only beneficial for the library as digital and information literacy teachers, but for the patrons themselves.

Unanswered questions you have and what future research might address. &
A thoughtful attempt to answer your own questions

Upon evaluating this article, one major question came to mind: What are the most useful tools and how might librarians use them in order to assist users in creating more analytical and professional Web 2.0 content? If libraries make use of Web 2.0 tools, they have the opportunity to develop a presence in the every-day lives of their users by connecting and sharing via various online networks.

Some useful Web 2.0 tools might include: blogs (WordPress, Blogger), wikis, podcasts, social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn), image sharing (Instagram, Flickr), and video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo).

Libraries have the opportunity to enhance IL and DL competencies within the user community by way of distributing tutorials using Web 2.0 tools for construction and delivery. This activity might promote more professional Web 2.0 content from their users. Tutorials can be cross-promoted on various social networking pages associated with the library.

Libraries might host IL and DL screencasts on video sharing sites and share the link across other sites, or create interactive tutorials, such as Guide on the Side (GOTS), in order to assist users with navigating virtual resources while they are utilizing them. GOTS offer a valuable constructivist learning experience. Topics might be: tips for searching databases, evaluate sources for bias, make a blog, create a LinkedIn profile, use social media and exhibit “Netiquette”, ethical use of information (copyright and fair-use), guide to web resources that assist children in developing early literacy skills. These activities can help librarians instruct users on IL and digital DL while using Web 2.0 tools.

For further thought: As we move toward Library 3.0, how might the further development of the Semantic Web (or Web 3.0) and its environment of linked data change and enhance the way in which the library can integrate itself into the daily lives of its user-base in terms of information literacy instruction?

Why Diversity Matters: A Roundtable Discussion on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Librarianship

By Allison Murphy, Randi Brown, & Marcia Seaton-Martin

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/why-diversity-matters-a-roundtable-discussion-on-racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-librarianship/

Why Diversity Matters: A Roundtable Discussion on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Librarianship is a thoughtful article that grew out of a panel discussion between six academic librarians. The librarians, Juleah Swanson, Ione Damasco, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, Dracine Hodges, Todd Honma, and Azusa Tanaka all spoke about the experiences of academic librarians of color at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2015 conference.

The core research question in this article is stated in the first paragraph, “We discuss why diversity really matters to academic libraries, librarians, and the profession, and where to go from here” (Swanson et al., 2015). This question is answered by each of the six presenters, who bring their own unique ideas and experiences to the discussion.

After speaking at the conference, the librarians all felt that they had only “scraped the surface of conversations that are needed among academic librarians on issues of diversity, institutional racism, microagressions, identity, and intersectionality” (Swanson et al., 2015). They felt the need to continue this important conversation by writing their thoughts in a roundtable-style format that would provoke ideas and reiterate questions.

Each of the six presenters take turns answering three points. The first question is “Why does diversity matter?”. In an open and honest response, one of the authors writes, “diversity matters because we don’t live and work in a vacuum of homogeneity….It’s not enough to say that diversity matters because the world is diverse” (Swanson et al., 2015). Another presenter aptly answers the question by stating, “Diversity matters because we all play a part in the messages we disseminate, regardless of how we identify….what are we doing to serve our patrons in ways that take into account their race and/or ethnicity?” (Swanson et al., 2015).

The second question focuses on “Where do we go from here?” and how to address the issues that have been invoked in this discussion. The presenters shed light on how to continue the conversation about diversity and why it is important to keep an open mind. As presenter Damasco says, “Arm yourself with knowledge, and then have the courage to use that knowledge to start dialogues with your colleagues…” (Swanson et al., 2015).

The article concludes with “Questions for our readers” which strives to continue the discussion about diversity. The authors present questions that challenge the readers to think about how they perceive diversity in their own workplaces and what can be done to create a more diverse library environment.

Methods Used

At the ACRL conference, the presenters “covered research the panelists had conducted on institutional racism, structures of privilege and power, and racial and ethnic identity theory in academic libraries and among academic librarians” (Swanson et al., 2015). With the idea that their talk would get the public thinking about the topic and generate further conversation. This virtual roundtable is a more in-depth continuation of that discussion.

Findings and Conclusions

Talking about racial and ethnic diversity can be an emotion filled discussion according to research by Espinal (as cited in Swanson et al., 2015). These discussions often result in “a struggle between gut reaction and articulation” in persons of color according to Isabel Gonzalez-Smith (Swanson et al., 2015). But Hodges elaborates that diversity isn’t limited to issues of race or ethnicity, it includes a vast spectrum of issues such as “ religion, gender, socioeconomic status, physical ability, etc” that have to be considered by libraries (Swanson et al.).

Addressing diversity doesn’t have to be expansive, change can be felt by patrons by the implementation of simple programs. Tanaka goes on to say that “diversity is not a problem, but an asset for the institution”, since it can help to create a sense of community with Swanson chiming in that in order to move forward, institutions should ask themselves “not, ‘What are we doing wrong?’ but instead, ‘How can we change our outcomes?’” (Swanson et al.). Approaches that can be taken to address diversity include coalition and alliance building, modifying LIS education, examining facility hiring and tenure/promotion practices, and critiquing institution mission statements

The participants discuss the topic from six viewpoints that at times both coincide and diverge as to the approach that should be taken. But the overall message is that diversity in libraries, particularly in the academic field, is a complex issue that needs to be addressed both at the student level and professional level.

What affect can diversity have on an organization? And what affect will it have on the students?

Todd Honma, in Why diversity matters: A roundtable discussion on racial and ethnic diversity in librarianship said “attention is being given to make STEM more culturally relevant to people of color and other marginalized groups so that there are alternative pathways to pursue it in terms of scholarship and profession” (Swanson et al., 2015).

One way to make this more relevant would be to work with the NSBE programs which is the National Society for Black Engineers. This is a pre-college initiative program designed to stimulate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields or STEM (NSBE, 2015).

So in regards to how diversity will affect an organization and students, it will pique the interest of those who normally feel left out. Karl Reid of NSBE, who wrote Why diversity matters: Reflections from the engineering dean’s institute, discovered that his colleagues felt that diversity acted as an antithesis to quality, meaning diversity would cause a lack of quality. He said the first step is to increase the understanding of the benefits of diversity as individuals and as a community (Reid, 2015, para. 10).

A diverse workforce increases creativity. Employees with different backgrounds bring many solutions to attain a common goal. With more diverse ideas changes for a solution increases, and new approaches of looking at a situation may give better insight on how to handle it (Johnson, 2015, para. 3).

A diverse organization will make more students feel recognized and relevant.


Johnson, R. (2015). What are the advantages of a diverse workforce? Houston Chronicle.
Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-diverse-workforce-18780.html
NSBE. (2015). Home. Retrieved from www.nsbe.org/home.aspx
Reid, K. (2015). Why diversity matters: Reflections from the engineering dean’s institute.
Retrieved from http://www.nsbe.org/News-Media/Blogs/Karl-Reid/June-2015/Why-Diversity-Matters-Reflections-from-the-Enginee.aspx
Swanson, J., Damasco, I., Gonzalez-Smith, I., Hodges, D., Honma, T., & Tanaka, A. (2015, July 29). Why diversity matters: A roundtable discussion on racial and ethnic diversity in librarianship. In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/why-diversity-matters-a-roundtable-discussion-on-racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-librarianship/