Rediscovering Academic Libraries for Degree-Seeking Older Students

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Increasingly higher numbers of older adults are returning to college campuses to earn degrees. Despite the recent economic recession and cuts to some state tuition waiver programs for older adults, many older students continue to pursue academic degrees on college campuses. Overwhelmingly, the literature that focuses on lifelong learning by older students has not incorporated degree-seeking students in their studies. This exploratory study is also driven by the role of libraries in serving this diverse student population. While the growing non-traditional student population brings many benefits to the life of college campuses, many of these students also face challenges in meeting their information needs in publiclyfunded academic libraries. The results of a recent survey of Boise State University degree-seeking older adult students will be discussed. Specifically, the authors will examine the demographics, academic majors, motivation to seek degrees, graduation rates, information seeking behavior, state and national trends, and other issues affecting the success of older students. Data will be collected and analyzed to help identify appropriate library services and resources. The collected results will be shared, and we will discuss the opportunities for future study and potential programs, instruction, and information sharing strategies to benefit this population group in Idaho.

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