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Wednesday, November 8 • 6:00pm - 6:45pm
41 A Prologue to Planning: Assessing Use of an Academic Library Graduate Student Study Room

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Properly allocated physical space has a huge impact on the success of an academic library (Spencer, 2017). However, creating more space in the library can be difficult for some institutions and this is why space assessment studies are a valuable tool when making decisions about space allocation. One group underrepresented at universities are graduate students. Although graduate students add value and contribute success to their universities through teaching and research (Golde, 2005), most library spaces and information commons are built around undergraduates (Gibbs, et al., 2012), possibly because their “multiple roles that go well beyond being a mere student” (Rempel et. al., 2011) make them a challenging group to serve in a comprehensive manner. Compounding this challenge, most student services research focuses on undergraduates. Libraries have attempted to meet the needs of graduate students by providing services and dedicated space, but further work needs to be done in order to meet graduate students’ diverse needs.

This poster will present findings from a project to study use of a library room dedicated to graduate students at a large public land grant institution. The administrative assumption was that the room was being underused because the graduate students’ needs were not being met. To explore this assumption, the researchers employed unobtrusive observations and brief interviews. The researchers gathered valuable information on the how graduate students were using the room, how frequently, and any changes users would like to see to the room and graduate student services more generally. In order to serve graduate students, libraries must find ways to support them and this study shows that the study site university is making this group a priority.

Additional contributors include: Kristina Clement (kcleme10@vols.utk.edu), Lauren Johnson (ljohn114@vols.utk.edu), Dr. Rachel Fleming-May (rf-m@utk.edu), Assessment Librarian Regina Mays (rmays@utk.edu), Associate Dean Teresa Walker (tbwalker@utk.edu). Sources cited in abstract: Gibbs, D., Boettcher, J., Hollingsworth, J., & Slania, H. (2012). Assessing the Research Needs of Graduate Students at Georgetown University. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(5), 268–276. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2012.07.002
Golde, C. M. (2005). The Role of the Department and Discipline in Doctoral Student Attrition: Lessons from Four Departments. Journal of Higher Education, 76(6; 6), 669–700. Rempel, Hussong-Christian, & Mellinger. (2011). Graduate Student Space and Service Needs: A Recommendation for a Cross-campus Solution. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(6), 480-487. Spencer, M. E., & Watstein, S. B. (2017). Academic Library Spaces: Advancing Student Success and Helping Students Thrive. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 17(2), 389–402. https://doi.org/10.1353/pla.2017.0024

avatar for Alexa Carter

Alexa Carter

Graduate Research Assistant-Experience Assessment (UX-A), University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Alexa is an ALA Spectrum Scholar, ARL Diversity Scholar, and UTK Tyson Diversity Fellow. Her research interests include scientific information literacy, user experience and assessment, data management, and STEM outreach. She looks forward to pursuing a position in an academic or research... Read More →
avatar for Brianne Dosch

Brianne Dosch

Research Assistant - Recent Graduate, University of Tennessee

Jordan Kaufman

Research Associate, University of Tennessee, Center for Information and Communication Studies

Wednesday November 8, 2017 6:00pm - 6:45pm
Carolina Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401

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