A Review of:
Gerbig, M., Holmes, K., Lu, M., & Tang, H. (2021). From bricks and mortar to bits and bytes: Examining the changing state of reference services at the University of Toronto Libraries during COVID-19. Partnership, 16(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v16i1.6450
Objective – To compare data about the provision of reference services at the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to identify obstacles and opportunities facing UTL reference services in the future.
Design – Survey questionnaire.
Setting – A large public research university in Ontario, Canada.
Subjects – Thirty-nine libraries across the three campuses of UTL.
Methods – A Microsoft Forms survey comprised of 37 questions was distributed in August and September 2020.
Main Results – Twenty-four libraries responded to the survey, for a response rate of approximately 62%. UTL’s chat service saw a 200% increase in September 2020 compared to September 2019 (since UTL participates in chat as part of the Ontario Council of University Libraries Scholars Portal, some traffic may have been from non-UT users). The option to book a reference appointment with a librarian was available at most of the libraries before the pandemic, and remained available during the pandemic. The survey results suggested that the shift to remote learning resulted in a significant expansion of virtual reference appointments; 75% of libraries reported offering virtual reference, compared to 17% before the pandemic.
Consultations and in-depth reference questions rose during the pandemic, with a quarter of responding libraries reporting an increase. Librarians became a larger share of the staff providing reference services during the pandemic, whereas the number of libraries using library technicians or student assistants to staff their reference services decreased. There were changes to formal reference service hours as well, with half of responding libraries reporting a reduction; however, most noted that they continued to answer reference questions over email at other times.
In response to the survey question asking for general comments about reference services, some respondents described worries about whether students taking only online classes would engage with online reference services, and whether overstressed faculty members would refer their students to librarians. Several respondents noted positive outcomes in moving towards a primarily online reference model, including more options to connect with students and an uptick in reference requests.
Conclusion – The authors note several challenges and opportunities for libraries in shifting to a remote reference model. Challenges include confusion on the part of users about where to go for help and increased workload for librarians. Opportunities include the chance to explore how virtual technologies can be used to make reference services more easily available to library users even after physical spaces have opened back up.
Objective – This study uses the Kaleidoscope Career Model (Mainiero & Sullivan 2006a) to determine key sources of motivation for library professionals during their careers and identifies strategies for how library administrators can better retain and inspire their staff.
Methods – The authors adapted the Kaleidoscope Career Model survey tool with permission from Mainiero and Sullivan. The authors used Qualtrics to send out the adapted survey and in October 2019 emailed a call for participation with the survey link to six library electronic mailing lists. A total of 433 participants completed the survey. The authors reviewed the demographic data and charts Qualtrics generated and used an open-coding method to analyze the qualitative responses to open-ended questions included in the survey. First, they read through those responses, identified common words, phrases, and ideas, which became initial codes. Then the authors reviewed the codes and determined themes common in the data. Each author coded and analyzed each question. Those themes then informed the discussion and recommendations shared in this article.
Results – Nearly 60% of respondents identified as being in the Authenticity phase, 15% in the Challenge phase, and 18% in the Balance phase. When asked if they felt supported, those in the Authenticity phase reported the highest overall level of satisfaction, with those in the 47–52 years old cohort experiencing peak feelings of support. The study found that all early career practitioners seemed interested in continuing in a supervisory role. Those older participants in the Balance phase were less interested than those in the other two phases in continuing to supervise. Those in the Authenticity phase identified most strongly with being organizational leaders. By contrast, older participants in the Balance phase did not identify strongly as leaders. Those in the Challenge phase showed strong interest in being leaders at an early age and that interest increased among older cohorts.
Conclusion – This study is the first to analyze sources of motivation for academic librarians during the stages of their careers. When working with librarians who identify with the Authenticity phase, administrators should work with their employees to develop career goals that are extrinsically based, such as what can be achieved through good work rather than striving for a dream position. Librarians in the Balance phase would benefit from early opportunities to develop leadership roles or serve in supervisory roles. These early opportunities better fit with their efforts to prioritize family later in life. Librarians in the Challenge phase are intrinsically motivated to achieve and strive. They may experience disappointment as newer career librarians continue to advance and as they begin to plateau later in life. Leaders must consider the kinds of changes their organization can withstand as they strive to best support and foster the growth and development of all of their employees.
Objective – Chat transcript analysis can illuminate user needs by identifying common question topics, but traditional hand coding methods for topic analysis are time-consuming and poorly suited to large datasets. The research team explored the viability of automatic and natural language processing (NLP) strategies to perform rapid topic analysis on a large dataset of transcripts from a consortial chat service.
Methods – The research team developed a toolchain for data processing and analysis, which incorporated targeted searching for query terms using regular expressions and natural language processing using the Python spaCy library for automatic topic analysis. Processed data was exported to Tableau for visualization. Results were compared to hand-coded data to test the accuracy of conclusions.
Results – The processed data provided insights about the volume of chats originating from each participating library, the proportion of chats answered by operator groups for each library, and the percentage of chats answered by different staff types. The data also captured the top referring URLs for the service, course codes and file extensions mentioned, and query hits. Natural language processing revealed that the most common topics were related to citation, subscription databases, and finding full-text articles, which aligns with common question types identified in hand-coded transcripts.
Conclusion – Compared to hand coding, automatic and NLP processing approaches have benefits in terms of the volume of data that can be analyzed and the time frame required for analysis, but they come with a trade-off in accuracy, such as false hits. Therefore, computational approaches should be used to supplement traditional hand coding methods. As NLP becomes more accurate, approaches such as these may widen avenues of insight into virtual reference and patron needs.
Objective – This study investigated researchers’ perceptions of open access publishing and the ways in which the university’s open access subvention fund could evolve to meet the campus community’s needs.
Methods – In spring 2021, two librarians conducted an anonymous survey using a convenience sample to recruit participants. The survey was directly distributed to 113 University of Idaho (U of I) affiliates who had received funding from, or expressed interest in, the open access subvention fund during the previous three years (FY 2019 to FY 2021). Other U of I affiliates were also offered the opportunity to participate in the survey via a link shared in the U of I’s daily email newsletter as well across the U of I’s graduate student email list. The researchers received 42 usable survey responses. The survey included 26 closed and open-ended questions and analysis included cross-tabulations based on fund applicant status as well as respondent role. Of the 26 questions, 4 were modified from a colleague’s previous study with U of I faculty members (Gaines, 2015).
Results – Survey responses showed that interest in and support for open access were common among respondents. Although a majority of respondents had published an open access journal article and would like to continue to publish open access in the future, only 17% agreed that they had departmental support to do so. Results also demonstrated that researchers were less willing to pay article processing charges (APCs) out-of-pocket and preferred for funding to come from grant budgets first, followed by Office of Research Budgets, department or college budgets, and library budgets. Respondents expressed support for many of the open access subvention fund’s current criteria and processes, but they also indicated an interest in establishing a more equitable fund distribution cycle and allowing researchers to seek pre-approval once their article was accepted for peer-review. Findings related to open access publishing perspectives built upon previous research conducted at the U of I (Gaines, 2015) and across other institutions.
Conclusion – This study confirmed the importance of evaluating and assessing library programs and services to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of campus communities. Through the study results, the researchers demonstrated that respondents were interested in open access publishing and the continuation of the open access subvention fund, as well as offering the U of I an opportunity to adjust the open access subvention fund’s processes to better serve researchers. These results also highlighted the need for those involved in open access publishing support to investigate new open access advocacy and education efforts to ensure that researchers receive the philosophical and financial support they need to pursue different models of scholarly publishing.
A Review of:
Hamer, S. (2021). Colour blind: Investigating the racial bias of virtual reference services in English academic libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 47(5), 102416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2021.102416
Objective – To investigate whether there is evidence for implicit ethnic bias in virtual reference service interactions.
Design – Email-based structured observation study.
Setting – Academic libraries in England.
Subjects – 158 email-based virtual reference service interactions from one of 24 academic libraries in England.
Methods – The study used a sample of 24 academic libraries across eight of the nine regions of England (excluding London). The body of the email message sent to each library consisted of one of five questions and was identical except for personalization to the institution. The first three questions were designed to be more likely to be answered in response to an unaffiliated user, and the last two questions were designed to be less likely to be answered in response to such a user. Each library received an email with each question from a different sender during each of five weeks, plus a repeat of question one in week six with slightly altered wording to serve as a control question. Emails were sent on randomized work days at different times of day. The messages were signed with one of six names representing the largest distinct ethnic population groups in England and Wales: Hazel Oakland (White British), Natasza Sakowicz (White Other), Zhao Jinghua (North Asian), Priya Chakrabarti (South Asian), Ebunoluwa Nweke (Black African), and Aaliyah Hajjar (Arab). All names were feminine and represented unaffiliated users. Email replies were coded according to a set of 27 characteristics based on the two most well-known professional guidelines for providing best practice reference services, namely, IFLA and RUSA.
Main Results – 133 out of 144 sent queries received a reply, of which 66 partially or fully answered the question. 158 total emails were received (since an email might receive multiple responses), and 67 of these partially or fully answered the question. Differences in how the librarian’s reply addressed the user were evident. Hazel was the only one never referred to by her full name, whereas Jinghua was the least likely to be referred to by her given name and most likely to be referred to by her full name or no name at all. Greeting phrases were used in most responses. About 20% of responses included a reiteration of the original request. Elements of the response which could be seen as promoting information literacy skills were provided in only 11% of responses. Natasza was the most likely to be referred to another source to answer her query, whereas Jinghua was least likely. Ebunoluwa was the least likely to receive a response to her query and least likely to have her question answered overall.
Conclusion – The findings point to some evidence of unequal service provision based on unconscious bias. In the aggregate, Ebunoluwa received the lowest quality of service, while Jinghua received the highest. There were several instances of inappropriately addressing the user, or what the author refers to as name-based microaggressions, and this was most common for Jinghua. The likeliest explanation is that many librarians are unfamiliar with the ordering of names traditionally found in East Asian cultures. The most noticeable result of the study is an overall lack of consistent adherence to professional guidelines. For instance, most queries received a reply within a reasonable timeframe, and greeting and closing phrases were included almost universally. However, other elements of the author’s rubric, such as those corresponding to clarity and information literacy, were not consistently applied. The results point to a greater need for librarians to follow best practice in virtual reference services. Furthermore, the author believes that best-practice guidelines must actively engage with anti-racist ideas to address the issues that were found in the study.
A Review of:
VanScoy, Amy. (2021). Using Q methodology to understand conflicting conceptualizations of reference and information service. Library and Information Science Research, 43(1), 101107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2021.101107
Objective – To understand how experienced librarians conceptualize reference and information service (RIS), and to determine if and to what extent these conceptualizations match existing RIS models.
Design – Q methodology card sort followed by short interview.
Setting – Academic, public, school, and special libraries in Slovenia, South Africa, and the United States.
Subjects – Sixty-six (66) librarians from Slovenia, South Africa, and the United States.
Methods – The researcher asked participants to sort 35 statements about RIS from “Least like how I think” to “Most like how I think.” The participants had the opportunity to comment on their card sort. From these card sorts, the researcher used statistical methods to generate factors describing underlying conceptualizations of RIS. These factors were compared to existing literature on RIS.
Main Results – Departing from the prevailing “information provision/instruction” conceptualizations of RIS, the researcher found that most respondents conceptualized RIS according to three previously unacknowledged paradigms: 1) transformation and empathy; 2) communication and information provision; and 3) empowering and learning. Fifty-three (53) of the 66 participants loaded on to one of these three factors, i.e. sorted their cards in a similar way to other participants in that factor. Factors 2 and 3 supported existing ideas of RIS in the literature, whereas factor 1 presented a novel understanding of RIS. Common to all three factors, however, is a strong focus on the user.
Conclusion – Traditional models conceptualize RIS as emphasizing either information provision or instruction. The practical judgments of experienced, working librarians, however, gesture toward different, more nuanced theoretical conclusions. Beyond the traditional poles of RIS, librarians consider empathy, empowerment, transformation, and communication as other important aspects of the RIS function.
Objective – In winter 2019-2020, the world saw the emergence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). More than a year later, the pandemic continues with the U.S. death toll surpassing 550,000. Over the last decade, librarians have increased their roles in infectious disease outbreak response. However, no existing literature exists on use of the widely-used library content management platform, LibGuides, to respond to infectious disease outbreaks. This research explores how Federal Libraries use LibGuides to distribute COVID-19 information throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods – Survey questions were created and peer-reviewed by colleagues. Survey questions first screened for participant eligibility and collected broad demographic information to assist in identifying duplicate responses from individual libraries, then examined the creation, curation, and maintenance of COVID-19 LibGuides. The survey was hosted in Max.gov, a Federal Government data collection and analysis tool. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent via email to colleagues and listservs and posted to personal social media accounts. The survey was made publicly available for three weeks. Collected data were exported into Excel to clean, quantify, and visualize results. Long form answers were manually reviewed and tagged thematically.
Results – Of the 78 eligible respondents, 42% (n = 33) reported that their library uses LibGuides to disseminate COVID-19 information; 45% of these respondents said they spent 10+ hours creating their COVID-19 LibGuide, and 60% of respondents spent
Conclusion – Some Federal Libraries use LibGuides as a tool to share critical information, including as a tool for emergency response. Results show libraries tend to start from scratch and share the same resources, duplicating efforts. To improve efficiency in LibGuide curation and use of library staff time, one solution to consider is the creation of a LibGuides template that any Federal Library can use to quickly set up and adapt an emergency response LibGuide specifically for their users. Additionally, findings show that libraries are uncertain of archiving and preservation plans for their guides post-pandemic, suggesting a need for recommended best practices.
A Review of:
Holm, C.E. & Kantor, S. (2021). Reference is not dead: A case study of patron habits and library staffing models. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 21(2), 299–316. https://doi.org/10.1353/pla.2021.0017
Objective – To determine if reference staffing models are a predictor of reference question rates and if academic library patrons’ reference behaviors are linked to reference staffing models and desk visibility.
Design – A retrospective case study.
Setting – Two academic libraries at a large R3 public university in the state of Georgia, United States of America.
Subjects – 10,295 service transactions (chat and in-person, including non-reference transactions related to directional and technology questions) from the 2016 fiscal year and 6,568 service transactions (chat and in-person, including only chat non-reference transactions) from FY 2017.
Methods – Analysis of two years of service transaction data (July 2015 to June 2017) recorded by librarians using the reference analytics module of Springshare’s LibAnswers at three locations (virtual 24/7 chat and two libraries with different physical locations, such as centrally-located or harder-to-find service points) for three kinds of reference service modes: chat, fully-staffed in-person services, and occasional “on-call” services. “Reference” transactions were classified using the Reference & User Services Association (RUSA) definition. Email, SMS/text, and Facebook inquiries were excluded from this study. One library, which had the same service model for the 2016-2017 fiscal years, served as the study’s “control” so that an analysis of service model alterations could be conducted.
Main Results – The rate of chat reference remained steady, independent from the desk model employed. There was also an overall decline in reference questions from FY 2016 to FY 2017. For FY 2016, the average daily chat transaction rate was 16.1 inquiries (range: 0 inquiries for some days and up to 51 for others) compared to an average 20.5 inquiries at the two physical service locations (range: 0 to 95 inquiries per day). In FY 2017, the average daily chat transaction rate was 13.9 inquiries (range: 0 to 46 inquiries per day) compared to 6.8 transactions for the physical locations (range: 0 to 19 inquiries per day). For FY 2016, when the model shifted to on-call, the average daily chat transaction rate was 14 inquiries compared to the physical locations with 0 and .67 inquires per day. In FY 2017, the averages were 19.33 for chat compared to .33 and .33 for the physical locations.
Conclusion – For the two fiscal years studied here, question rates and reference behaviors seemed to be linked to staffing models. Patrons in this study preferred a staffed and visible desk and 24/7 chat, while “on-call” services were not favored. By replacing the visible desk with an on-call model, the library created a situation where chat was the only consistent reference service offering. As a result, patrons may have viewed the visible desk as being unreliable. The on-call service model appears to have negatively affected patron behavior since, according to the data presented, patrons’ reference needs were best met by chat and a visibly staffed desk service model.
A Review of:
Johnson, A.M. (2020). Reference and liaison librarians: Endangered species or “vital partners?” Views of academic library administrators. Journal of Library Administration, 60(7), 784-799. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2020.1786979
Objectives – To investigate the current state and prospects of reference and liaison librarianship.
Design – Structured interviews consisted of 10 questions that lasted between 30 and 75 minutes.
Setting – Fourteen medium-sized, urban universities geographically spread across the United States of America.
Subjects – Fifteen library administrators with at least 10 years of experience.
Methods – The author contacted academic library leaders from 17 benchmark institutions and head librarians from other R1 institutions whose libraries were members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) or whose campus size and characteristics mirrored the author’s institution in that they were medium-sized urban universities. The study examined five primary questions and included an appendix with the 16-item survey instrument. The structured interviews included 10 questions about the current state and prospects of reference and liaison librarianship, along with questions related to demographics. The author transcribed the interviews and removed all identifying information. Since the interviews were structured and thus thematically similar, coding software was not used. The author compiled and analyzed the responses to the questions.
Main Results – The concepts of connecting, discovering, listening, and partnering were inherent in the definition of being a liaison librarian. In general, the library administrators, all of whom had been in the profession for 10 years or more, felt that liaison librarians should be active in furthering scholarly activities in such areas as grant-writing, generating scholarship, or data curation. There was an emphasis on outreach, being proactive, and engaging with faculty, which raised an important question for administrators: Is this skill set too broad for any one person, and if so, how can the library profession collaborate to draw upon each other’s strengths? There was a consensus that while the work of reference and liaison librarians is vital to the academic enterprise, this work need not be situated at a central reference desk. Rather, librarians would be physically embedded or electronically linked to students and faculty, helping them to formulate answerable questions, locate high-quality, evidence-based information in specialized databases, or provide support in such areas as open educational resource development, augmented reality, or scholarly communications.
Conclusion – In the view of current library administrators, being a reference and liaison librarian means partnering proactively with students and faculty to ensure a deep understanding of their teaching, learning, and research needs while also maintaining a thorough knowledge of the libraries’ collections and resources. To accomplish this, the librarian must be visible to their constituencies, tell memorable, authentic stories of what they have to offer, and build lasting relationships. Reference and liaison librarians require traditional knowledge of library functions and systems and teaching skills and possess qualities such as collaboration, communication, and flexibility. Overall, library leaders believe that liaison librarians will continue to be vital partners and that without a central reference desk, there will be a deeper integration within the academic enterprise.
Objective – The main objective was to create an information commons (IC) model for the existing library with minimum structural changes to achieve maximum benefit. The subdivisions of the main objective were:
Methods – Based on the available literature on the topic, an online questionnaire survey was constructed with Google Forms and sent to current cohorts studying at the institute through e-mail, along with the study's rationale and a request for participation. We contacted 294 students, of which 199 responded. The data were analyzed and presented using Microsoft Excel.
Results – The findings of the study showed the keen interest of the students in library resources and services. It also showed that the students were not fully satisfied with the current library space and working hours. They wanted enhanced quiet areas and collaborative spaces where information experts help them use the current technology to improve their learning experience. Based on the gathered data analysis, an IC model for redesigning the existing library has been recommended.
Conclusion – The present study was the first step in research on ICs in the Indian context. This pilot study captured the perception and expectations of all levels of students: postgraduate, working executives, and senior-level executives. Most of the suggestions have been incorporated into the plan. With very few construction changes and new furniture, this model can be easily implemented in a small academic library without discarding the old furniture.
A Review of:
Lundstrom, K., Fagerheim, B. & Van Geem, S. (2021). Library teaching anxiety: Understanding and supporting a persistent issue in librarianship. College & Research Libraries, 82(3), 389-409. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.82.3.389
Objective – To determine academic librarians’ attitudes towards their teaching, how teaching anxiety manifests itself, and how teaching anxiety affects these attitudes.
Design – Online Survey.
Setting – The survey was distributed through various library science listservs.
Subjects – Any library staff with a teaching component in their role were invited to respond. There was a total of 1,035 initial responses.
Methods – The survey questions were based on a previously published survey about teaching anxiety by Davis (2007). However, the survey for this study added questions about formal and self-diagnosis of other types of anxieties, physical and psychological anxiety symptoms, and how teaching anxiety impacts other areas of the respondents’ lives. There were also questions on potential supports to reduce teaching anxiety, as well as potential barriers to these supports.
Main Results – It was found that approximately 65% of respondents experience teaching anxiety. Approximately 40% of those respondents were formally diagnosed with anxiety, and approximately 42% were self-diagnosed. There was a significant association between a formal diagnosis of anxiety, and teaching anxiety. There were also significant associations between past training, preparation, and teaching anxiety, with anxiety occurring less with increased training and preparation.
Conclusion – Teaching anxiety is a significant issue among library staff. Supports in the form of workshops on teaching as well as coping with anxiety can possibly help to reduce this phenomenon.
Background – Compared to native English speakers, English Learners (ELs) often face additional barriers to academic success. Though typically competent in social English, Generation 1.5 ELs struggle with academic English at the postsecondary level and are still considered to be in the process of learning English. As colleges become increasingly linguistically diverse, academic librarians must adapt to support the growing numbers of ELs in the campus community.
Objective – This paper aims to provide academic librarians with information on the scope of English Learners in K-12 through postsecondary education, academic challenges of Generation 1.5 students at the postsecondary level, and strategies that librarians can employ to support English learners in the contexts of reference and instruction.
Methods – The author searched journals in the disciplines of academic libraries, higher education, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and linguistics. Additional resources searched include education data and statistics, research institute publications, and English as a New Language (ENL) teaching resources. These sources were explored in regard to the topics of EL educational statistics, K-12 ENL programs, ENL pedagogy, ELs in postsecondary education, Generation 1.5 students, ELs’ academic challenges and educational needs, and academic libraries and ELs.
Results – A review of the literature on ELs in academic libraries, particularly Generation 1.5 students, reveals that Generation 1.5 is a population that is in need of support at the postsecondary level. Because Generation 1.5 students often hold strong social English skills, they may enter college without an EL designation or specialized academic support. However, research shows that Generation 1.5 students struggle with college-level academic English, specifically in grammar and vocabulary. These challenges impact students’ communicative success both in college classroom and library environments.
Conclusion – Academic librarians may adopt pedagogical strategies commonly employed in ENL classrooms to use in reference and instruction environments. Techniques include themes such as awareness of language use and reinforcement of content, and require low-stakes implementation into library practice. Though librarians may be unaware of the language learning needs of their students, such strategies have shown to be useful for all students. Because techniques that are helpful to ELs also typically benefit all students, these strategies are also applicable to native English speakers.
Objective – Library science literature lacks studies on the effect of external events on the physical use of libraries, leaving a gap in understanding of would-be library patrons’ time use choices when faced with the option of using the library or attending time-bound, external events. Within academic libraries in about 900 colleges and universities in the US, weekend time use may be affected by football games. This study sought to elucidate the effect of external events on physical use of libraries by examining the effect of Saturday home football games on the physical use of the libraries in a large, academic institution.
Methods – This study used a retrospective, observational study design. Gate count data for all Saturdays during the fall semesters of 2013-2018 were collected for the two primary libraries at East Carolina University (main campus’ Academic Library Services [ALS] and Laupus, a health sciences campus library), along with data on the occurrence of home football games. The relationship between gate counts and the occurrence of home football games was assessed using an independent samples t-test.
Results – Saturday home football games decreased the gate count at both ALS and Laupus. For ALS, the mean physical use of the library decreased by one third (34.4%) on Saturdays with a home game. For Laupus, physical use of the library decreased by almost a quarter (22%) on Saturdays with a home game.
Conclusion – Saturday home football games alter the physical use of academic libraries, decreasing the number of patrons entering the doors. Libraries may be able to adjust staffing based on reduced use of library facilities during these events.
Objective – This study is designed to discover what kinds of sources are cited by composition students in the text of their papers and to determine what types of sources are used most frequently. It also examines the relationship of bibliographies to in-text citations to determine whether students “pad” their bibliographies with traditional academic sources not used in the text of their papers.
Methods – The study employs a novel method grounded in multidisciplinary research, which the authors used to tally 1,652 in-text citations from a sample of 71 student papers gathered from English Composition II courses at three universities in the United States. These data were then compared against the papers’ bibliographic references, which had previously been categorized using the WHY Method.
Results – The results indicate that students rely primarily on traditional academic and journalistic sources in their writing, but also incorporate a significant and diverse array of other kinds of source material. The findings identify a strong institutional effect on student source use, as well as the average number and type of in-text citations, which demographic characteristics do not explain. Additionally, the study demonstrates that student bibliographies are highly predictive of in-text source selection, and that students do not exhibit a pattern of “padding” bibliographies with academic sources.
Conclusion – The data warrant the conclusions that an understanding of one’s own institution is vitally important for effective work with students regarding their source selection, and that close analysis of student bibliographies gives an unexpectedly reliable picture of the types and proportions of sources cited in student writing.
A Review of:
Lo, L.S. & Anderson, A.M. (2020). Personal goal setting behavior and professional outlooks of academic library employees. Journal of New Librarianship, 5, 204-236. https://doi.org/10.33011/newlibs/9/21
Objective – To identify a correlation between academic library employees who set New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting behavior in professional contexts, and to explore practices, personal attitudes, and outlooks that influence goal-setting and goal-achievement
Design – Non-experimental multiple choice questionnaire
Setting – Online
Subjects – 308 adult participants (over 21 years old) who work in academic library settings including staff, librarians, and administration
Methods – The authors designed an online, non-experimental multiple choice questionnaire through Qualtrics. The authors distributed study invitations to multiple professional library listservs, though it is unclear which listservs were included and what geographic location was covered. The survey was available for roughly a month from February 1-26, 2016. The survey screened participant demographics to omit those under 21 years of age and all identifying information was removed in order to protect participant privacy. All participation was voluntary and participants who were interested in contributing to a follow-up research study were asked to share their contact emails.
Main Results – Most participants (n=182, 59%) set no New Year's resolutions in 2015 and half (n=155, 50%) set no resolutions in 2016. When asked to explain, 23% noted that they hadn't considered setting resolutions in 2016, 9% did not prioritize setting goals, and 5% felt that they could not achieve their goals. Additionally, over 50% articulated other reasons including not prioritizing goal-setting for New Year’s, noting that setting goals around the academic year was timelier, and that some participants already had enough goals to achieve. In 2016, half of participants (n=153, 50%) set New Year’s resolutions. By far the most common resolution was physical fitness and healthy eating (n=64, 42%). About 19% set occupational goals including skill building, and 15% set emotional goals including cultivating optimism and mindfulness. When asked about goal-setting practices, 36% of the 2016 resolution setters described writing or typing out their goals, 59% shared their goals with others, and nearly 90% enacted changes in their daily routines in order to achieve their goals. 26 participants used all of the goal setting practices above. This group prioritized their top goals and felt confident about reaching those goals. Four participants did not practice goal-setting techniques, and also felt less confident about achieving their goals. 49% of 2016 resolution setters had somewhat optimistic outlooks, and 24% had very optimistic life outlooks. Of those with pessimistic life outlooks, nearly all believed it would be difficult to accomplish goals. Respondents who claimed to be very ambitious were likely to set occupational goals as their top goal. 81% of those in dean and director positions reported being very ambitious and 85% also reported being optimistic. All deans and directors felt confident about accomplishing their goals. For middle managers, 75% felt ambitious and 72% felt optimistic. Professional librarians were 66% ambitious and 72% optimistic.
Conclusions – This study's findings align closely with United States national averages about the percentage of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions and achieve their goals. Data suggests some relationship between academic library workers’ outlooks on life and confidence in achieving their goals, as well as a correlation between goal setting strategies and achieving goals. The authors express optimism that 20% of participants who set New Year's resolutions chose to list occupational goals as their top goals, especially considering that resolution-setting comprises an incredibly broad array of options. The authors suggest that data can be used by academic library administrators to increase worker job performance, improve worker wellness, establish mentorship programs, and train workers to set attainable goals.
Objective – While storytime programs for preschool children are offered in nearly all public libraries in the United States, little is known about the books librarians use in these programs. This study employed text analysis to explore topics and genres of books recommended for public library storytime programs.
Methods – In the study, the researchers randomly selected 429 children books recommended for preschool storytime programs. Two corpuses of text were extracted from the titles, abstracts, and subject terms from bibliographic data. Multiple text mining methods were employed to investigate the content of the selected books, including term frequency, bi-gram analysis, topic modeling, and sentiment analysis.
Results – The findings revealed popular topics in storytime books, including animals/creatures, color, alphabet, nature, movements, families, friends, and others. The analysis of bibliographic data described various genres and formats of storytime books, such as juvenile fiction, rhymes, board books, pictorial work, poetry, folklore, and nonfiction. Sentiment analysis results reveal that storytime books included a variety of words representing various dimensions of sentiment.
Conclusion – The findings suggested that books recommended for storytime programs are centered around topics of interest to children that also support school readiness. In addition to selecting fictionalized stories that will support children in developing the academic concepts and socio-emotional skills necessary for later success, librarians should also be mindful of integrating informational texts into storytime programs.
A Review of:
Tran, N. Y., & Chan, E. K. (2020). Seeking and finding research collaborators: An exploratory study of librarian motivations, strategies, and success rates. College & Research Libraries, 81(7), 1095. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.81.7.1095
Objective – To explore research collaboration among librarians, including librarians’ motivations for collaboration, methods for finding collaborators, and how they perceive the success of these methods.
Design – Online survey questionnaire.
Setting – N/A
Subjects – A total of 412 librarians took the survey, and 277 respondents completed the entire survey.
Methods – The researchers developed a survey using Qualtrics, including questions focused on whether respondents had sought research collaboration, factors that motivated them to collaborate, methods they used for finding collaborators, and success rates of these methods. Demographic questions were also included.
Main Results – The survey results indicated that librarians are very interested in research collaboration, with 91.8% of respondents answering that they had sought collaborators, were currently collaborating, or were interested in seeking collaborators in the
future. The top motivating factor for seeking collaboration was to gain expertise that the respondent lacked. The most common strategy for finding collaborators was through a respondent’s current or past place of employment, and this method was rated as extremely successful by more than 50% of respondents. Demographically, 70.1% of respondents worked in academic libraries.
Conclusion – The results of this study indicate that research collaboration is of interest to librarians at a higher rate than previously observed. These results can help inform initiatives to support and promote collaboration in library and information science research, as well as provide a groundwork for further research in this area.
A Review of:
Pun, R. (2021). Understanding the roles of public libraries and digital exclusion through critical race theory: An exploratory study of people of color in California affected by the digital divide and the pandemic. Urban Library Journal, 26(2). https://academicworks.cuny.edu/ulj/vol26/iss2/1/
Objective – This study explored the role of the public library in the support of patrons of color who experience digital exclusion.
Design – In-person and telephone interviews, grounded theory, and critical race theory.
Setting – Public libraries in California.
Subjects – Persons of color who were active public library technology resource users due to experiencing the digital divide.
Methods – In-person, 60- to 90-minute interviews were conducted with participants referred to the author by public librarians at select libraries in California. Sixteen open-ended questions were asked, relating to demographics, access to technology at home, library technology access and use, technology skills, and thoughts on how libraries could change or improve technology services. A 20- to 30-minute follow-up interview was conducted during the phase of the Covid-19 pandemic when public libraries were closed. Interview transcripts were analyzed by the author, who created a codebook of common themes. Responses were analyzed through the lens of grounded theory and critical race theory.
Main Results – Nine participants were recruited; six consented to the first interview and two of the six consented to the second interview. Four of the participants self-reported as Asian, one as Black/African American, and one as Hispanic/Latino American. None of the participants had internet access in their homes, though some reported having laptops or inconsistent cellular service.
Common uses of library technology included job search activities (resume building, job searching, applications); schoolwork; research and skill development; and legal or housing form finding. Leisure activities including social media and YouTube were also mentioned.
Access limitations included inconvenient library hours, particularly for those attending college or holding a job with daytime hours, and physical distance from the library. A common complaint was the time limit on computer access set by the library; “the concept of time” was mentioned “over 70 times collectively by all participants” (p. 14).
Language was another barrier to access, mentioned by three of the participants. Most reported being more likely to ask for help from a library staff person who shared their language or had a similar background. Participants also reported wishing more technology workshops were offered, especially workshops in languages other than English.
The two participants who took part in the second interview “expressed frustration and sadness” about the lack of library access during the Covid-19 pandemic (p. 16). One participant reported having to get internet access at her home for her children to attend school. The second participant expressed her difficulty in conducting research or printing information with only the small screen of her phone to provide access.
Conclusion – Library patrons of color living within the digital divide make use of public library technology but experience multiple barriers. Libraries can alleviate these barriers by examining their hours, policies, and staffing models to be more accessible to patrons of color lacking internet access at home.