What Students Don't Know

ERIAL, a  two-year, five-campus ethnographic study, reveals “how students view and use their campus libraries.”  The answers should surprise no one.  Students rarely see the “librarian as an academic expert” who is capable of assisting them with their assignments.  One senior psychology major told the researchers. “I don’t see them that way. I see them more like, ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ ” However, the study also finds that students really need librarian help.  “The most alarming finding in the ERIAL studies was perhaps the most predictable: when it comes to finding and evaluating sources in the Internet age, students are downright lousy.”  But students do not shoulder all the blame.  Librarians often overrate the research skills of students “which can result in interactions that leave students feeling intimidated and alienated.” Faculty also play a role and “may have low expectations for librarians, and consequently students may not be connected to librarians or see why working with librarians may be helpful.”

Read More: What Students Don’t Know, Inside Higher Ed, August 22, 2011

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