Academic library non/low use and undergraduate student achievement

Deborah Goodall (Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
David Pattern (Huddersfield University, Huddersfield, UK)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Publication date: 22 February 2011



This paper aims to report an ongoing investigation of library use at Huddersfield University that has identified a historical correlation between library usage and degree classification.


Three sets of data – use of electronic resources, book loans, and visits to the library – when represented graphically show consistent amounts of no and low use at campus, academic school, degree‐type and course level. Combining these findings with data showing academic achievement raises the question: is there a positive correlation between library use and attainment?


Understandably, library usage varies between academic schools and there are often pedagogic reasons for low usage, but it would appear that, in some subjects, students who “read” more, measured in terms of borrowing books and accessing electronic resources, achieve better grades.

Research limitations/implications

Further work will focus on undergraduate, fulltime students at the main university campus.

Practical implications

It is intended to discover the reasons behind non/low use so as to develop then trial effective interventions for improving the grades of all students, from the bottom up, rather than just supporting those that are already high flyers. The results will inform both library service delivery and university goals concerning the quality of the student learning experience, improving retention and improving the level of final degree award.


The paper shows that there are implications for all subjects and all levels of achievement at the university.



Goodall, D. and Pattern, D. (2011), "Academic library non/low use and undergraduate student achievement", Library Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 159-170.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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