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Environmental Analysis

Environmental Analysis

  • Add results of certification exams, employer and alumni surveys as applicable. 

  • List any notable changing student characteristics or demographics. 

  • Describe any changes in technology or how technology is used that had or will have an impact on the program. 

  • What are the top trends in the field or related fields, and how do they relate to existing curriculum and experiences?   

  • What areas of collaboration, either internal or external to PASSHE have been explored?  What was the outcome?


Summarized below are four trend areas that do or may significantly affect the work of the Andruss Library: 

  • Framework for Information Literacy:  formal document and direction adopted by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Board in January 2016 after three years of development.  It clearly positions librarians as collaborative partners in the academic mission. 

  • ACRL Environmental Scan 2019:  most recent biannual review of trends within academic librarianship as analyzed by the field’s national organization.  This year the focus was on student characteristics; faculty demographics; student learning environment; equity, diversity, and inclusion; library neutrality and free speech on campus; scholarly communication landscape; and research evaluation and metrics. 

  • Collaborative work with PASSHE counterparts within the formal library consortium of the Keystone Library Network (KLN) and the regular sharing of information and expertise with colleagues across the State System of Higher Education Libraries Council (SSHELCO).  The KLN provides the backbone for collaborative collecting of electronic materials and sharing of all PASSHE library holdings.  The SSHELCO group provides an informal network as well as an annual meeting/conference at which to exchange ideas and improve practices.  Discussions of potential integration with two other PASSHE institutions, Lock Haven and Mansfield Universities, will take the existing collaboration into accentuated forms



Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education:  significant development for library faculty as educators 

 “This Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework) grows out of a belief that information literacy as an educational reform movement will realize its potential only through a richer, more complex set of core ideas. During the fifteen years since the publication of the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education1, academic librarians and their partners in higher education associations have developed learning outcomes, tools, and resources that some institutions have deployed to infuse information literacy concepts and skills into their curricula. However, the rapidly changing higher education environment, along with the dynamic and often uncertain information ecosystem in which all of us work and live, require new attention to be focused on foundational ideas about that ecosystem. Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data, and scholarship ethically. Teaching faculty have a greater responsibility in designing curricula and assignments that foster enhanced engagement with the core ideas about information and scholarship within their disciplines. Librarians have a greater responsibility in identifying core ideas within their own knowledge domain that can extend learning for students, in creating a new cohesive curriculum for information literacy, and in collaborating more extensively with faculty.” (Excerpted from the Framework’s Introduction and emphasis added) 

  1. Association of College & Research Libraries, Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Chicago, 2000). 

As described in the summary document, About the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, this is a different direction from that of the Information Literacy Competency Standards in that the Framework is: 

“…built around six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy and anchored in threshold concepts, which are those ideas in any discipline that are essential portals to ways of thinking and practicing in that discipline.  Rather than a linear set of skills and search techniques, each frame prompts questions about what learners will need to know, experience, and do to demonstrate their increased understanding as they progress from novice to expert in the scholarly journey and as information literate individuals.” (ACRL, 2015) 

Those frames, presented alphabetically, are: 

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual 

  • Information Creation as a Process 

  • Information Has Value 

  • Research as Inquiry 

  • Scholarship as Conversation 

  • Searching as Strategic Exploration 

The impact of this document may be considerable; it calls for an explicit conceptual connection to the thinking and practice of the disciplines and for collaboration with their faculty colleagues for a much greater cohesiveness in the information literacy curriculum. 

Further information on the Framework may be found at 

ACRL Environmental Scan 2019 


The Andruss Library’s experience and plans are in keeping with the Scan’s findings.  Student enrollment declines are expected to have significant fiscal impact.  The majors students choose are career-driven choices with many in the health, biology, and engineering areas plus some interest in environmental and social and racial equity.  While the absolute number of White students will drop, they will still be represented disproportionately in the student body.  Students are concerned about the expenses of paying for school, expect technology in their lives at the same time there is a concern about its isolating effect.  Aware of these developments, Library personnel have carefully managed budgets, remained responsive to strong interest locally in the health professions, especially given the proximity of a major hospital system, continued and expanded student worker training to prepare them for successful post-college employment, encourage faculty to use Open Educational Resources (OER) to address financial and retention concerns, use technology in all aspects of the Library’s interactions and balance that with opportunities for low-tech experiences and connection with the human beings around them. 

Faculty demographics project an aging and smaller professoriate with an increase in part-time and non-tenure track faculty.  The number of women will increase, but the overall racial and ethnic distribution will be similar with a predominantly White population.  Library personnel locally have already experienced a significant drop (40%) in Library faculty and have experience in the difficult adjustments necessary to maintain basic Library resources and guidance.  As changes manifest themselves at BU it will be important to bear diversity in mind should hiring opportunities become available and to pay attention to the important but different needs that part-time or non-tenure track faculty will have. 

In the section on student learning environment, the Scan includes collections and spaces, information literacy, time to degree/college affordability, and student success data.  When considering space changes, it is recommended to consider published research and local data and to learn the needs of students and the views of the subject faculty before making decisions.  It is noted that makerspaces are popular and can present challenges in equipping and staffing them.  The report points out the “challenges and points of connection” Open Educational Resources can create between the Library and subject faculty.  Student success initiatives point out the importance of a library’s connections with student service entities on campus to “remain positioned to support student success;” at the same time privacy concerns have grown as more data is collected about individuals.  Library personnel are aware of the challenges noted above and strive to be inclusive of the student and faculty experiences and perspectives and participate in University-wide efforts.  

As reported in the Scan, before 2020 the profession was aware of the need for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work - the 2018-19 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Program focused on EDI - and the importance of seeking a diverse profession, without expecting that all EDI work will be done by members of underrepresented groups who already may feel overburdened.  Here at the Andruss Library, as in the profession, there is more to be done.  Efforts to hire a diverse group of student workers are regular and have continued over time.  Since the summer, the director is a member of an EDI committee with the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) to “promote greater equity, diversity, and that our Association, libraries, librarians, and library staff will all thrive.”   

The library profession has long prided itself on equal access and ensuring access to a broad range of ideas.  In recent years ALA and individual libraries have considered how, when wrestling with offensive speech and groups, to respond.  A prudent step would be to become familiar some of the recent ALA statements and consider if changes to local policies and practices are called for. 

The discussion on scholarly communication landscape included: international Open Access initiatives to achieve free access to scholarship funded by governments or created by university faculty; Big Deal cancellations, meaning the cancellation of large and expensive journal subscription packages that are “bundled” and are increasingly difficult to afford; and community-owned infrastructures and institutional repositories (IR).  BU Library personnel are very aware of the importance of ensuring access to scholarship.  While not part of the international initiatives to achieve free access to scholarship, for several years Library personnel have been actively engaged in efforts to press back on the pressures of the large journal packages.  Through two different consortia there are local efforts to support community-owned infrastructure for institutional repositories. 

In the last topic of the Scan there is a discussion of the appeal and limitations of research evaluation metrics.  These vary by discipline and can be both convenient and manipulated for effects other than the original intent.  Locally 

Library faculty proactively encourage all researchers seeking publication to inform themselves when seeking a venue for their work; the workshop “Where Do I Publish My Research?” has been in demand over the years and offered regularly to both subject faculty and to graduate students with regular reports of successful submissions that gain an audience for the researcher’s work and do credit to the author.  

Technology Trends

Technology Trends

The two trends that the NMC Horizon Report: Library Edition highlights, accessibility of research and hands-on learning, are ones that the Andruss Library has been a part of for many years.  During the review period: many electronic journals were added to the collection; a discovery search interface was introduced to facilitate access across book and article collections in one search; and students were often instructed in a classroom where each student has access to their own computer for hands-on learning.  The  challenges of improving digital literacy among library personnel and campus populations and of encouraging the adoption of radical change are challenges here too;  however the University makes available, a large collection of tutorials and videos with a focus on technological learning, and there are instructional and media technologists on campus to respond to faculty and students questions.  The opportunity posed by ‘makerspaces’ for media creation are in beginning stages here with a modest self-service space for general scanning, image manipulation, and color printing;  the University provides sophisticated equipment and support for specialized users in distributed sites on campus.  Library personnel respond to the opportunity presented by online learning by contributing resource links when individual chances present themselves and are ready to provide fuller access to resources and research assistance when a greater opportunity develops. 

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