According to the Project Information Literacy Research Report called “Learning the Ropes,” published in December 2013, student retention rates and student engagement with library resources go hand-in-hand. Thus, the more engaged a student is with library resources, the less likely the student is to drop out of college and the more likely they are to achieve academic success.
The question I’m asking all libraries is: so, what is your library doing to increase student retention rates? The reality is that the student retention rate is not going to increase by itself- it requires active measures and initiatives implemented by your institution. Did you know that your library could have such an impact on retention?
Let’s face it, research can be a frustrating, daunting process. Do you remember the first time you walked into a college class and were asked to conduct research? You have “research shock” at every level of education. Here’s how mine went:
• Middle school: 5 paragraph essay based on 1 novel- you can’t seriously expect me to do this?
• High school: 5 pages with 3 primary and 2 secondary sources- who do you think I am, Harry Potter?
• Undergrad: 12 pages- you want me to philosophize for how many pages?
• Law school: 40 pages with a full table of authorities and abstract – just don’t.stop.typing. And, get to know your librarians very well. And, accept that this process will be a lot like chaos theory- it will hopefully come together after loads of gummy bears and a few gallons of coffee?
It is important for your library to properly frame expectations for today’s entry-level college researchers- just because the students are master googlers and tweeters, that does not mean they know how to navigate the complex information landscape on their new campus or understand how to conduct college-level research.
Increasing awareness of the breadth of your library’s resource portfolio and other library functions will have a direct impact on student retention. Academic libraries—and the vast array of digital resources they provide— need to understand how best meet student needs. And, there is no need for speculation to understand those needs: reaching students on the mobile devices they spend the majority of their day on and in a way they are accustomed to is a logical choice for libraries. The stats around mobile app usage are telling- students spend over 86% of their mobile device time in apps. Boopsie’s mobile app solution helps libraries reach and better engage students with library resources and the university during a critical period of intellectual and professional development, and students are looking to their institution for opportunities and guidance on how to use their mobile devices as learning tools, which they believe will help them achieve academic success.
College graduation is a very special day that over one-third of college freshmen will never get to experience. I would love to speak with you about how a Boopsie library mobile app can help your institution retain students– contact me to start the discussion. You can also sign up for a live webinar and learn more about our academic library apps here.