5 Ways the Library Can Help Improve Your Academic Achievement

SMU graduates from previous convocations.

Convocation is this week, and most likely, if you’re a graduating student, you know about the Patrick Power Library and some of the services we provide. However, what you may not know is how these services can significantly impact your overall academic achievement during your time at Saint Mary’s University. 

A significant amount of evidence shows a positive correlation between student library use and grade point average (GPA). “Library use” could mean you are checking out print materials, accessing articles through Novanet, or browsing some of our available journals or databases. A study conducted by DeeAnn Allison (2015) found that undergraduates with higher GPAs had 50% more material checkouts and a 41% higher usage rate of databases than those with a lower GPA. 

As students, maintaining a competitive GPA can help you to create more postgraduate earnings and opportunities (Allison, 2015). The Library can help you stay on a path towards success by helping you navigate and utilize the library services to avoid challenges and meet your academic goals.

Here are five ways that using the Library can help you improve your academic achievement. Or, if you’re a recent graduate, here’s how the Patrick Power Library may have already helped you on your way to success! 

1. Providing Online and Print Materials  

The Patrick Power Library has plenty of online and print materials that you, as students, can utilize during your time at Saint Mary’s University. These materials range from peer-reviewed online articles to ebooks to physical books from our print collections that you’re able to use. Accessing and exploring these resources is an excellent first step when building the foundations of a great research project. 

2. Available Journals and Databases 

If you visit the Patrick Power Library website, you will notice that we offer students the ability to search for Journals A-Z and Databases A-Z. As you can imagine, there is a lot of available information using these resources! The Patrick Power Library staff want to ensure that you, as students, have as much access to materials that will allow you to reach academic goals.  

3. Subject Guides 

If you don’t know where to start, the Patrick Power Library has various Subject Guides that can help you find information and easily navigate the library resources to find relevant information. Subject Guides outline materials and resources for specific subject areas, making it easy for you, as students, to find what you need. Searching for a Guide that suits your course is a great way to start exploring information and developing a research topic. 

4. Research Help  

Can’t find the article you’re looking for? Do you need help navigating a database? We are here to help! The Library’s Research Help service is designed to help you develop a strong research topic, improve your search strategy, search for materials, and help you to evaluate and find helpful information. The instant chat service connects you directly with a library staff member who can help you with any questions you may have or direct you to the resource or service you need. Learn more or reach out to Research Help using the link provided below:

https://www.smu.ca/academics/research-help.html

5. Library Instruction Workshops

The Patrick Power Library also provides you with helpful workshops that can improve your academic performance. A recent study found that students who engaged with library instruction workshops saw an increase in their overall GPA (Gaha et al., 2018). So, we highly recommend attending one! Workshop topics may include general instructions about library services and resources or specific to a subject or assignment you are working on. 

The Patrick Power Library is committed to helping you pursue your academic achievement goals to set yourself up for future success. However, it is important to note that your GPA is not the only thing that can define academic success. Engaging with the Patrick Power Library services can also help you buld the essential skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a workplace or postgraduate environment. Research skills are valuable now, but also for life beyond university.

If you are a recent student graduate, congratulations! We hope the library services have been supportive of your hard work and academic aspirations. If you are continuing your studies here at Saint Mary’s, please know that our services are always here for you. The Patrick Power library offers plenty of services that are still available online.

References

Allison, DeeAnn. (2015). Measuring the Academic Impact of Libraries. Portal (Baltimore, Md.), 15(1), 29-40.

Gaha, Ula, Hinnefeld, Suzanne, & Pellegrino, Catherine. (2018). The Academic Library’s Contribution to Student Success: Library Instruction and GPA. College & Research Libraries, 79(6), 737-746.

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