Not all that long ago, academic librarians spent considerable time talking about millennials and how they differed from previous generations—and how we could change to better serve them. While we’ve moved on to other issues, millennials are still out there. Although millennials may no longer garner much attention from academic librarians, a new report suggests we need to get them back on our collective radar screen.
There’s a reason that the Howard County Library System, MD (HCLS) is the Gale/LJ 2013 Library of the Year—an incredible focus on user experience and staff development that enables each worker to invest in the success of the library. It’s a case study for academic librarians who want to take things to the next level of service and community engagement.
Having access to national studies helps academic librarians stay informed about their community members. Finding the time to read and analyze them—and make sense of possibly conflicting information—is a new “keeping up” challenge. Four studies in particular are most worthy of our ongoing analysis and reflection.
Educators are struggling with distracted students. It’s a competition for their attention. It’s time to experiment with different strategies for getting them re-connected. Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University and an expert on the psychology of technology, believes the solution lies with helping students to focus their attention, as opposed to simply trying to get them to do without their distractions. The recommended technique is actually quite simple. It revolves around that fifteen-minute time period in which students will check Facebook or for new texts at least once.
While the debate about whether college is even worth the investment lingers on, for some the discussion has shifted to questioning what it means to be college educated – or what should it mean. Will the answer be decided by college educators or politicians, and how might the outcome impact the work of academic librarians?
A new book reveals information about our students and the way our institutions treat them. It’s sure to draw a “this just can’t be” reaction from those involved in the higher education enterprise—and some are questioning the research—but if it’s true, academic librarians may want to be thinking more about the socioeconomic status of the students. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality concludes that higher education may be the great un-equalizer, serving to maintain the status quo, rather than giving students the education and experience needed to move up the status ladder.