Magazine article Information Today

Reaching out to Students

Magazine article Information Today

Reaching out to Students

Article excerpt

Environments for Student Growth and Development: Libraries and Student Affairs in Collaboration

Edited by Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe and Melissa Autumn Wong

Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2012 ISBN: 978-0838986097 276 pages; $60, softcover

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In most academic libraries, librarians strive to work closely with college faculty, whether helping with teaching or with research. But we don't hear as much about librarians who are collaborating with other campus offices or programs.

We are all here to help our students and our institutions succeed, and the current emphasis on assessment puts even more emphasis on measures such as retention and employment after graduation. Does the library have a role in student success beyond our traditional library instruction and information literacy? It certainly can. How can we partner with others on campus in helping students? This new book provides some examples of how such programs are possible.

Editors Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe and Melissa Autumn Wong are both experienced academic librarians. Hinchcliffe, who is coordinator of information literacy services and instruction at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, served as president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) from 2010 to 2011. Wong is currently an adjunct faculty member at the library and information science schools at San Jose State University and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. She was previously library director at Marymount College in California and worked as a librarian at the University of Southern California.

Hinchcliffe and Wong have collected 15 contributed chapters, most of which focus on particular projects at individual institutions. These case studies all include background sketches of their institutions, project histories and descriptions, and lessons learned. Most of these are co authored by librarians and student affairs professionals.

Inside Student Affairs

The first two chapters, written by Dallas Long, head of access services at Illinois State University, provide an introduction to the profession of student affairs, which includes such diverse nonclassroom roles as service learning, residential life, career development, and admissions. This overview is valuable for librarians who may not know much about their colleagues across campus.

Long emphasizes that student affairs "is committed to the ideas that student learning does not occur exclusively in the classroom and that college affects students profoundly in many different dimensions." Student affairs professionals are skilled in conflict resolution, community building, leadership, and assessment. Many of them have master's degrees and belong to professional organizations. In short, they aren't much different from us. They want to help students succeed academically and personally just as we do: "The core purpose of student affairs today is to understand how students develop intellectually, psychosocially, and emotionally and to create meaningful experiences that stimulate student development," he writes.

Drawing Students Into the Library

After this introduction, I was eager to find out how librarians have partnered with student affairs. …

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