Academic Library Services for First-Generation Students

by Xan Arch and Isaac Gilman


Identifies many ways that libraries can be important to college and university efforts to recruit and retain first-generation students.

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Cover image for Academic Library Services for First-Generation Students

June 2020

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 135
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Information Literacy and Instruction, College Level and Above
  Adult Services and Programs/General
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Presenting strategies for improving academic library services for first-generation students, this timely book focuses on programs and services that will increase student academic engagement and success.

Demographic data and secondary school graduation rates suggest that colleges and universities will enroll growing numbers of first-generation students over the next decade. Academic Library Services for First-Generation Students focuses on ways academic libraries can uniquely contribute to the successful transition to college and year-to-year retention of first-generation students.

The practical recommendations in this book include a wide range of ideas for the design and modification of library services and facilities to be more inclusive of the needs of first-generation students. All of the recommendations are specifically aimed at addressing challenges faced by first-generation students. Topics covered range from study spaces and service points to information literacy instruction and campus partnerships. The book makse the case—both explicitly and implicitly—that academic libraries can help address known risk factors (e.g., by helping students build academic cultural competencies) and thereby improve success, persistence, and retention for first-generation students. Academic library professionals in both leadership roles and public service positions will benefit from the actionable strategies presented here.


    • Includes practical strategies for modifying existing library services to be more inclusive of first-generation student needs
    • Incorporates suggestions for new services targeted toward first-generation students
    • Offers insight into first-generation students' perspectives on academic libraries
    • Builds understanding of the role libraries can play in first-generation student success and retention
Author Info

Xan Arch is dean of the Clark Library at the University of Portland. Arch has published and presented nationally on topics ranging from library technology to best practices for managing through change. In 2013, she was awarded the Esther J. Piercy Award by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) for a librarian who shows "outstanding promise for continuing contribution and leadership" in collections and technical services. Prior to becoming dean, Arch was head of collections at Reed College, managing technical services and teaching information literacy to undergraduates at the college.

Isaac Gilman is dean of University Libraries at Pacific University. A founding editor and publisher of the Journal of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication, Gilman has published several articles and book chapters and is author of Library Scholarly Communication Programs: Legal and Ethical Considerations. As dean, he also serves as director of the Pacific University Press and has experience in both the editing and production of books and scholarly journals. Prior to becoming dean, Gilman managed Pacific's repository and publishing services and taught information literacy and research methods in both undergraduate and graduate programs at the university.

Other Titles of Interest

User-Centered Design for First-Year Library Instruction Programs cover imagePeer-Assisted Learning in Academic Libraries cover imageEngaging Diverse Learners cover image
Enhancing Library and Information Research Skills cover imageThe Pivotal Role of Academic Librarians in Digital Learning cover imageThe Slow Book Revolution cover image

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