The Relationship between Collection Strength and Student Achievement

Advances in Librarianship 08/2012; 35:113-132. DOI: 10.1108/S0065-2830(2012)0000035009


This chapter examines how selected accrediting bodies and academic librarians define collection strength and its relationship to student achievement. Standards adopted by accreditation bodies and library associations, such as the Association of Research Libraries, are reviewed to determine the most common ones which are used to assess library collections. Librarians’ efforts to define and demonstrate the adequacy of library resources are also examined in light of increased focus on institutional accountability, and requirements to provide planned and documented evidence of student success. Also reviewed are the challenges faced by academic librarians in a shift as they shift from traditional collection-centered philosophies and practices to those which focus on client-centered collection development such as circulation analysis, citation analysis, interlibrary loans, and student satisfaction surveys to determine collection use and relevance. The findings from a review of standards and existing library literature indicated that student use of library collections depends on faculty perceptions of the library and whether they require students to use library resources and services for their research papers. Through marketing strategies, improvement of student awareness of collections and library services, the chapter concludes that multiple collection-related factors influence the academic success of students, not just the size and importance of library collections per se. The significance of the chapter lies in its identification of halting and difficult adjustments in measuring both collection “adequacy” and student achievements.

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