Exploration of Library Outreach to Nontraditional Students

Andria L. Tieman, Megan E. Black


In 1976, Malcolm Knowles, known for his research on adult education and learning, predicted that the library would become, “the most rapidly expanding educational institution of all in [the United States],”1 regarding working with nontraditional students. His prediction has not come to fruition. In fact, there was little published regarding librarians supporting adult students from the mid-1980s until 2000, when librarian Dorothy S. Ingram published “The Andragogical Librarian,” and 2010, with the publication of researcher Nicole Cooke’s article, “Becoming an Andragogical Librarian: Using Library Instruction to Combat Library Anxiety and Empower Adult Learners,” published in 2010. The literature consulted includes research focused on adult education in academia, library anxiety, and library literacy for nontraditional students, spanning from the mid-1970s through the present day. Nontraditional students at Providence College range in age from their twenties through eighties; therefore we did not include research that exclusively looks at library instruction for students who are age fifty-five and older returning to higher education. Providence College’s School for Continuing Education works with students who meet in a traditional classroom or blended online and classroom settings, and the library currently works exclusively with face-to-face classes, so research that focuses on online students or distance students was not included in the literature scan. We also excluded research that focuses on outreach to graduate students as they have different needs and experiences than students seeking bachelor’s degrees.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/rusq.56n3.198


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