Survival is Ensured -- Prosperity is Not: Libraries and Their Impact on Texas Community College Student Outcomes

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Libraries are an important part of any academic institution, yet face constant stresses on their budgets. Recent efforts to measure the effect libraries have on their parent institutions have been scarce, particularly at the community college level. No recent studies have been conducted on this topic for community colleges in Texas, but the findings of such a study would be invaluable for academic library leadership to make their case for continued or increased funding to their institutional administration. This study seeks to fill that gap in the literature as well as provide findings useful for library administrators seeking to defend their budgets. In this study, the quantitative effect that academic libraries have on student outcomes in all 54 Texas community colleges was studied using King et al.’s Conceptual Framework for Library Metrics, specifically, the framework’s concepts of inputs, outputs, and resource usage. To determine the impact of libraries on outcomes, linear regression models were built with library inputs, or resource expenditures per student; outputs, or librarians per student; and resource usage at the per-student levels, as independent variables, and with student retention and graduation rates as dependent variables, for the academic years 2014-15 through 2018-19. All of the data was originated from NCES’ IPEDS datasets for the years under examination. It was found that Texas community colleges are very heterogenous, with high variances in the data. As a result, of 225 regression models ran, only 7 were statistically significant. Therefore, not enough evidence of impact was discovered. More research is needed at the institutional level to determine the relationship between libraries and student outcomes.

Embargo status: Restricted until 09/2028. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.

libraries, student outcomes, community colleges