Moving beyond collections

Scott Walter (University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this article is to identify opportunities for effective collaboration between academic libraries and student services offices dedicated to providing services to students of color.


A survey research method was used to gather demographic information about students affiliated with one of four “cultural centers” at Washington State University and to generate descriptive statistics regarding their patterns of information use and the degree to which they made use of library resources and services.


Findings are reported in five tables describing library use by students of color as well as their preferences for targeted library programming. Survey results were used to identify a number of potential service enhancements to encourage more effective use of library and information resources by students of color.

Research limitations/implications

Survey dissemination was limited to those students either actively affiliated with one of four cultural centers sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Services, or involved in the Academic Enrichment programs sponsored by that office. Survey results suggest that additional inquiry is needed into the development of substantive and sustainable partnerships between academic libraries and student services offices dedicated to providing services to students of color.

Practical implications

Provides a number of discrete approaches to providing more effective library resources and services to students of color within the framework both of liaison with academic departments and of co‐curricular service frameworks.


Builds a framework for service‐based liaison with student communities of color that transcends the familiar discussions related to building library collections that reflect the history and experience of racial and ethnic minority groups. Insight into minority student use of libraries and into avenues for collaboration with multicultural student service programs may be useful to librarians on any college campus with a well‐defined framework for minority student services.



Walter, S. (2005), "Moving beyond collections", Reference Services Review, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 438-458.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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