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IU Kokomo librarian studies the library’s role in student success

July 9, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. — Angie Thorpe knows the Indiana University Kokomo library boosts student academic success.

A study she led to demonstrate that success, and to determine ways to enhance library services to have greater impact, earned her admission to a prestigious research program.

Angie Thorpe, digital experience librarian, is one of 21 participants selected for the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. During the nine-day institute, she will receive expert instruction on research design, and assistance in writing her research proposal.

“Our prior study showed students who used the library have a higher GPA and retention rate than those who did not,” Thorpe said. “We want to do more in-depth research, with a questionnaire, and consider additional library service points, including the computer work stations, and visits to the writing center.”

Research results could also help library faculty tailor programming specifically to the needs of academic programs, reaching out to those that don’t use it to bring them in and show them how they could benefit from using library resources, and offering advanced instruction and assistance to those who already use it.

“This research will give us a better idea of how we can contribute to the academic success of our students,” she said. “I want to show the value and impact of the academic library on the college campus. I hope to add to the scholarship and research in libraries.”

Polly Boruff-Jones, dean of the library, said the opportunity came at the perfect time, as Thorpe is the principal investigator on an IU Kokomo Library research project launching during the fall semester.

“The results of her research will inform possible enhancements and changes to library services and outreach activities,” she said. “She and her team will track student library use, and correlate that information with demographic data, to answer questions such as who has used the library, and if library usage correlates to student grade point average and retention.

Thorpe’s project is based on a pilot research program during the 2013-2014 school year, which showed a correlation between library usage and academic success.

The Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) is designed to brings together academic and research librarians for specialized training and support. Participants are expected to conduct their studies during the 2015-2016 school year, and share their experiences with project co-investigators.

The IRDL is funded by a three-year Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program continuing education grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 07/09/2015