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Librarians’ research supports underserved gap

This summer, associate professor/librarian Ellie Dworak will start a six-month sabbatical to write her first book. Co-author, Kelsey Keyes, is also an associate professor/librarian at Boise State’s Albertsons Library.

National statistics reveal that over a quarter of college and university students are also parents. Keyes’ research indicates that the percentage may be higher at Boise State. These students are also more likely to be single mothers, low-income, first-generation college students, and/or members of an underrepresented racial category.

Keyes’ findings led to opening the library’s Family Study Room, specifically for use by parenting-students and their children. The space can be reserved so that students can do focused, independent work, as well as collaborate with peers. KTVB interviewed Keyes on April 12 regarding the innovative resource.

Dworak sees their book as a “blueprint for success” to ensure all four-year colleges and universities can craft a plan to support students with dependent children. “The book will detail the presence, demographics, and needs of parenting-students, and calls for universities to adapt higher education systems,” explains Dworak. Practical tools and case studies will be provided to help libraries better serve students with caregiving responsibilities. Supporting parenting-students has a positive, multigenerational impact, and long term economic and educational benefits.

Dworak is a research data librarian, specializing in data visualization and programmatic assessment. She previously worked as a reference and instruction librarian for over 20 years, during which time she helped many nontraditional students overcome barriers to their success.

Sarah Waddell,
Marketing and Communication Specialist