College & Research Libraries is a scholarly research journal published by the Association of College & Research Libraries.

Current Issue: January 2022

Cover: College & Research Libraries volume 83, number 1, January 2022

Academic Freedom and (Anti) Social Media?

Wendi Arant Kaspar

In this the first issue of the 2022 year, it seems timely to address a topic that is uppermost in the rhetoric around high education—and at the center of my commitment to higher education: academic freedom.

My introduction to the concept of academic freedom was as a newbie librarian—and I did not realize at the time how privileged I was to attain a position that was a tenure-track faculty position at an institution with enough funding to support research and service. My focus then was on developing research skills and identifying a focus ...

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Toward a Critical Turn in Library UX

Maura Seale, Alison Hicks, Karen P. Nicholson

In the past decade, cataloguing and classification and information literacy have experienced a critical turn, acknowledging the political, economic, and social forces that shape complex information environments. Library user experience (UX) has yet to undergo such a transformation, however; instead, it continues to be seen as a toolkit of value-neutral approaches for evaluating and improving library services and spaces to enhance user satisfaction and engagement. Library UX draws upon ethnography but is also informed by the principles and values of usability and design. Little attention has been paid to the origins or epistemological underpinnings of UX as a construct ...

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Standing Out or Blending In: Academic Libraries in the Crowded Informal Learning Space Ecosystem

Erica Lynn DeFrain, Jennifer Thoegersen, Miyoung Hong

As more campus locations establish intentional informal learning spaces, what, if anything, is the unique value of these spaces within the physical academic library? Using mixed methods, this study examines the relationship between students’ use, satisfaction, and productivity needs at five discrete locations at a large public university. Findings from unobtrusive observations, student surveys, and semistructured focus groups reveal an interconnected ecosystem of campus informal learning spaces in which the academic library is prominently situated, providing guidance for those making decisions around the availability and design of library learning spaces. ...

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Why Objects Matter in Higher Education

Joanna Cobley

Integrating artifacts into the curriculum can increase students’ confidence when working with historical fragments. This article provides insight into what happened when students engaged with authentic historical artifacts for the purposes of learning for the first time. It draws from a range of qualitative data collected during a two-year period while teaching an undergraduate New Zealand history course. Students described learning how to read ...

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Fostering Critical Thinking in First-Year Students through Information Literacy Instruction

Mandi Goodsett, Hanna Schmillen

As students encounter high volumes of misinformation in online environments, cultivating critical thinking is an important goal of information literacy instruction, especially for first-year college students, who are just beginning to develop cognitive habits in their early years of postsecondary schooling. However, this study demonstrates that the relationship between critical thinking and information literacy is not obvious ...

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The World Computer: Derivative Conditions of Racial Capitalism

Reviewed by Sam Popowich

At the heart of this complex, ambitious, and difficult book is an intriguing idea: that the logic of capitalism has been to turn the entire world into a computer. In one stroke, all the tendencies toward the quantification of everything (of the human sciences, of social media, of our relationships to our bodies, of human achievements) becomes part of a single process: the precise and never-ending computation of value. ...

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