July 21, 2011

Get Smarter!

Students who work in libraries get better grades.

That’s the conclusion  of a peer-reviewed study published in The Christian Librarian, The Journal of the Association of Christian Librarians by Erin McCoy, Public Services Librarian an Eastern Nazarene College.  She reported her findings, conducted at a small four-year liberal arts college with a 100,000 volume collection, in the journal’s recent issue. (Volume 54 (1) 2011.)

Alloway Library hires 20 student assistants each year
McCoy surveyed 80 students over 4 years. Her data “showed a clear distinction between library employees and their peers. Library employees demonstrated a consistently higher average GPA (grade point average) than that of their classmates… and graduated with higher GPAs.” 

And that’s not because the library hired “smart” students to start with. According to McCoy, “SAT data illustrated that, as incoming freshmen, the majority of the students chosen to work in the library had average SAT scores.”

What made library employees smarter?  In a survey, 82% of the library worker sample felt that working in the library ‘increased their academic success.’ They also ranked the biggest factors in their success and at the top were “a relationship with library staff and the ability to navigate library databases” followed by “familiarity with the building and resource locations.”

According to McCoy “Library employees are exposed to a valuable campus resource on a regular basis. They take advantage of that exposure with actual use of library resources. Because of this, one of the benefits of library employment is a higher GPA.”

Not surprisingly, as grades improved so did satisfaction with student life as a whole. McCoy concluded that that library employment plays a role in student retention and in student confidence as they work their way through college.

It seems that anyone could become as smart as a library employee. All one needs to do is get to know the library and its resources  -- and use them!

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