Student Perceptions of Librarians

A study done in five Illinois Universities, shows that students are often unaware that librarians are able to offer them professional guidance concerning library research.

Steve Kolowich, a writer for Inside Higher Ed, writes: “Another possible reason was that students seek help from sources they know and trust, and they do not know librarians. Many do not even know what the librarians are there for. “I don’t think I would see them and say, ‘Well, this is my research, how can I do this and that?’ “one senior psychology major told the researchers. “I don’t see them that way. I see them more like, ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ “Other students imagined librarians to have more research-oriented knowledge of the library but still thought of them as glorified ushers.”

 A loss of communication between librarians, faculty and students may be one of the reasons students have this misconception. Faculty are pressured to cover so much content in a semester, that it is difficult to invest the time to meet with librarians to design sessions that would teach students research skills. When a credit course is developed to teach information literacy skills, students will become lifelong learners who value the meaning and purpose of libraries and librarians.

 The entire report is available online at:  http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/22/erial_study_of_student_research_habits_at_illinois_university_libraries_reveals_alarmingly_poor_information_literacy_and_skills

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