Academic Library Services for First-Generation Students

Libraries Unlimited. Jul. 2020. 149p. ISBN 9781440870170. pap. $70. PRO MEDIA
Colleges and universities have acknowledged that retaining first-generation and ensuring that they complete the degree within six years are issues of concern. Arch (dean, Clark Lib., Univ. of Portland, OR) and Gilman (dean, Univ. Libs., Pacific Univ., Forest Grove, OR) consider how libraries can serve first-generation students through services, space, and partnerships with other campus offices. Rather than focus on the students, institutions should examine their practices and cultures that create barriers. The authors explore this population, which tends to skew older and female and to include people of color, those who have children, and those from a lower socioeconomic class. Arch and Gilman recommend involving the students in the design of spaces and services; they highlight successful programs such as a textbook-lending program implemented at the University of Redlands, CA, and the Family-Friendly Study Time service that was launched at Pierce College, WA. Finally, the authors advocate for affirming student strengths, honoring family relationships, removing the stigma of asking for help, and creating more inclusive collections.
VERDICT Librarians will appreciate the list of questions that let them analyze their own institution’s situation, the spotlights on successful programs, and the sample surveys. For academic librarians looking to help first-generation college students flourish.
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