Supporting Today’s Students in the Library: Strategies for Retaining and Graduating International, Transfer, First-Generation, and Re-Entry Students

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

In the last decade, the United States has seen a marked increase in nontraditional students, a diverse population of adult students who attend college while working, supporting families, or negotiating any number of circumstances that might delay the completion of their higher education goals. Studies have consistently shown that nontraditional students are more likely than traditional students to not complete their degree work or take longer to graduate for a variety of reasons, including outside responsibilities, difficulties adjusting to academic and campus environments, and new or different learning methodologies. As a result of the rise in nontraditional students and university-wide efforts to increase student retention and graduation rates, academic libraries are shifting and expanding their capabilities in order to better provide resources, services, and spaces to meet users’ unique needs.

Supporting Today’s Students in the Library collects current strategies from all types of academic libraries for retaining and graduating nontraditional students, with many of them based on learning theories and teaching methodologies. The book explores methods for overcoming language barriers, discusses best practices, and presents case studies that support the changing student population. Additionally, Supporting Today’s Students in the Library provides a variety of ideas for new services, spaces, and outreach opportunities that support nontraditional students on campus and beyond.

With targeted ideas and strategies for increasing agency and engagement, as well as addressing the diverse needs and challenges of nontraditional student populations, Supporting Today’s Students in the Library: Strategies for Retaining and Graduating International, Transfer, First-Generation, and Re-Entry Students demonstrates how academic libraries are successfully serving these students.


Ngoc-Yen Tran and Silke Higgins

Chapter 1. First-Generation Students and Libraries: Beyond the Deficit Narrative
Anne Jumonville Graf

Chapter 2. Overcoming Language Barriers for Non-Native Speakers of English: Learner Autonomy in Academic Libraries
Karen Bordonaro

Chapter 3. Addressing Stressors of Returning Adult Students in Online Learning Environments: Lessons from the Neuman System Model
Shannon Fay Johnson

Chapter 4. Tailoring Library Instruction to Meet the Needs of Multilingual Students in Higher Education
Mariya Gyendina, Lindsay Matts-Benson, and Yao Chen

Chapter 5. Instructing by Modeling: Teaching Students to Think Like Expert Searchers
Elizabeth Tompkins

Chapter 6. Online Learning Through LibGuides for English Language Learners: A Case Study and Best Practices
Megan Hodge

Chapter 7. Closing the Gap: Building an Academic Integrity Tutorial to Educate L2 Engineering Students
Jacalyn Kremer and Matthew Bernstein

Chapter 8. Reaching First-Generation and Underrepresented Students through Transparent Assignment Design
Ryne Leuzinger and Jacqui Grallo

Chapter 9. Research-Writing Practicum: A Signature Diversity and Inclusion Initiative to Increase Student Agency and Engagement
Elizabeth Stephan

Chapter 10. An Interdepartmental Collaboration to Target Research and Writing Challenges of International Graduate Students
Henri Mondschein, Tanvi Patel, and Mary Jo Shane

Chapter 11. Validation in the Archives: Digital Library Strategies to Diversify Digital Collections in Support of First-Generation College Students
Rachel Mandell and Giao Luong Baker

Chapter 12. Meeting Them Where They Are: Campus and Library Support Strategies for First-Generation Students
Stacy Brinkman, Jennifer Natale, and Josefine Smith

Chapter 13. Conversational Gamers: Developing Language Skills and Connections through Games
Michelle Goodridge

Chapter 14. Meet, Greet, and Eat: Creating Community for Transfer Students through a Library Picnic
Megan E. Welsh, Lindsay Roberts, and Cynthia Rain Keller

Chapter 15. The Family Zone: Older, Transfer, and Commuter Student Involvement in the Library
Bridgit McCafferty, Margaret Dawson, Dianne Mueller, and Bessie Miller

Chapter 16. Single-Parent Students: The Impact of the Academic Library on Their Success
Ahmed Alwan and Eric Garcia


Ngoc-Yen Tran

Ngoc-Yen Tran is the coordinator for teaching and learning at Seattle University. She holds an MLIS from the University of Washington. The focus of her research is on high-impact educational practices, especially the high-impact practice of undergraduate research experiences. Her library and information science research revolves around scholarly communications topics and information literacy instruction. She has published her research and writing in multiple journals, including College and Research Libraries, The Reference Librarian, and Internet Reference Services Quarterly. She is also the coeditor of the book Supporting Today’s Students in the Library: Strategies for Retaining and Graduating International, Transfer, First-Generation, and Re-entry Students (ACRL Publishing, 2019).

Silke Higgins

Silke Higgins is an associate librarian for research and instruction at San José State University. She holds an MLIS from San José State University. Her primary field of library and information science research revolves around the role libraries play in furthering the academic success of nontraditional and international students, with focus on English as a foreign language (EFL). Research topics of interest within the field of librarianship include jargon use of dominant discourse communities and its effect on nontraditional student communities, as well as motivating nontraditional student populations with the use of culturally sensitive approaches. Her writing on library- and nonlibrary-related research has been published nationally and internationally; she is also the coeditor of Supporting Today’s Students in the Library: Strategies for Retaining and Graduating International, Transfer, First-Generation, and Re-entry Students (ACRL Publishing, 2019).