Sunday, February 28, 2016

LGBTQ Collection Assessment: Library Ownership of Resources Cited by Master's Students

Harkleroad, Tiffany

Graziano, V. (2016). LGBTQ Collection Assessment: Library Ownership of Resources Cited by Master's Students. College & Research Libraries77(1), 114-127. doi:10.5860/crl.77.1.114

After the Stonewall riots in 1969, gay and lesbian studies, either in the form of individual courses or in the form of entire departments, began to emerge in academic institutions.  LGBTQ studies continue to expand in higher education, and as a result, academic libraries are assessing the needs of their institutions in the context of developing LGBTQ collections.  This study examples the bibliographic citations (3,243 in total) of 28 graduate theses with a focus on LGBTQ studies, written by students at Concordia University between 1991 and 2013.  The goals are to assess the strengths of the university’s current LGBTQ collection, to identify LGBTQ collection materials that the university is lacking, and to assess overall LGBTQ collection needs.  The study determined that the library owned 73% of the citations studied; this is below the average number of citation in similar citation studies on different topic areas.  By breaking down the types of materials cited, it was determined that the collection was weak in terms of LGBTQ popular periodicals; however, the more recent theses tended to cite this particular type of material less often.  The study determined that the LGBTQ collection at Concordia was well developed, particularly given the fact that there is no LGBTQ studies department at the school at the time of this study.

As a student who is particularly interested in LGBTQ studies as relates to library science, I found this article to be quite interesting.  For academic libraries, it is important that the libraries contain the correct types of materials and topic matter to meet the needs of students.  As academic studies expand to include more social concepts and topics, collections will need to adapt to meet those needs.  This particular study shows that the library in question has taken a fairly progressive stance, by containing many of the materials used in the completion of the theses studied.  I found the discussion of convenience bias most interesting, meaning students are more likely to use materials readily available in the library, and that might have some bearing on results in studies such as these.

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