Over the course of this 3-year project, we will:
- collect data on strategies to draw military veterans into library and information science (LIS) master’s degree programs
- apply and test these strategies through recruiting, admitting, and providing financial and social support for 12 military veterans to make substantial progress toward completing a master’s degree at one of 3 American Library Association (ALA) accredited programs.
Who We Are
This project is being conducted through three partnering institutions:
- The University of Texas at Austin — lead institution
- San José State University — partner institution
- The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa — partner institution
Through this research project, we will identify paths that LIS programs may follow in recruiting veterans and to illustrate this success through the admissions and satisfactory progress of 12 veterans in three LIS programs.
Results will be summarized into reports and documents that LIS programs can use to recruit veterans. These tools will include:
- recommendations on how to recruit veterans into LIS programs
- an evaluation tool that LIS programs can use to assess the state of their current recruitment
- a directory of potential partner organizations that serve veterans
Why research veterans in LIS?
According to a 2015 study, nearly 95% of American adults say that public libraries should offer programs for veterans or active duty military service personnel (Horrigan, 2015).
In 2014, the School of Information (iSchool) at The University of Texas at Austin received a Planning Grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for Libraries and Veterans: Identifying Services and Possibilities. ALA’s Washington Office put out a 2016 fact sheet, “Libraries Help and Honor Our Veterns” lagely based on the findings from that initial study.
Libraries often provide job seeking support for veterans, including the more than 30 libraries in California participating in Veterans Connect @ the Library.
Creating a Supportive Learning Environment
We will build a supportive learning community for the Reaching Those Who Served students through advising and connecting them with their classmates as well as with each other. Community interaction will occur across the three partner universities through scheduled group web conferences at least once a semester.
The three Research Grant project sites provide options for prospective students, including their preference for course delivery (face-to-face, online, or hybrid), depending on their personal circumstances as well as their curricular interests. We will ensure that students are aware of services available to them, such as counseling, student ombudsmen, and offices for students with disabilities.
The Reaching Those Who Served funding period is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020 with a one year extension, but we expect its impact to be felt beyond this time. The presence of veterans in programs will not only further those students’ career plans but also impact the experience of their classmates, especially those who work with them on group/collaborative projects. Dr. Roy and the rest of the project staff have a strong record of mentoring students and will continue to devote considerable time to furthering the students’ developing and professional connections. We have every reason to expect that Reaching Those Who Served students will enter the profession prepared to create local changes that will ripple out into national and even international impact.
Reaching Those Who Served will help us identify and test some answers to our research questions. Through developing and sharing tools (guidelines, assessment tools, and directory of organizations) and testing those tools in actual recruitment of students, the project has the potential of informing all LIS schools about effective recruitment methods to admit veterans into their programs. Since veterans feel most comfortable speaking with other veterans and they desire to continue to assist each other, we will ask our Reaching Those Who Served alumni to participate in recruiting after they graduate. We will welcome their visions of serving as future ambassadors to the profession with other veterans.