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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2018

Steve Borrelli, Chao Su, Shenetta Selden and Lana Munip

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceived role of library personnel in supporting first-generation students at Penn State University Libraries, and also…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceived role of library personnel in supporting first-generation students at Penn State University Libraries, and also how students’ perceptions of library personnel change over time, and the various experiences that influenced their changes in perception.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employed focus groups to solicit input from first-generation students. A four-step team-based approach to qualitative coding process was developed including the development of a codebook informed by common themes and concepts drawn from the literature.

Findings

Findings indicate that operating from a deficit of library cultural capital often results in low awareness of available services and changes in perception are more influenced by personal exploration than limited interactions with personnel. Further, while currently employed interventions are well targeted, opportunities exist for enhancing efforts.

Research limitations/implications

As this is a case study, the findings are not generalizable. Per conducting only four focus groups, the experiences of participants may not represent the typical scope of personnel-related interactions.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited body of evidence that first-generation students’ struggle from a deficit of library-related cultural capital.

Details

Performance Measurement and Metrics, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-8047

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