The expanding library wall: Outreach to the University of Tennessee's multicultural/international student population

Mark A. Puente, La Verne Gray, Shantel Agnew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explain the process and results of a research project aimed at discovering the library use patterns and perceptions of library services of people from traditionally underrepresented ethnic minority groups. The main goal of the study was to identify opportunities for collaboration between the university library and institutional entities that provide services to those groups. Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was utilized to gather data from students, faculty, and staff from ethnic minority groups. Electronic distribution of the instrument was augmented by in-person marketing strategies. Findings are reported in a series of tables as well as a narrative summarizing input from respondents. Findings: The results indicate that there are misconceptions about how and why students from underrepresented groups utilize library services at the University of Tennessee. The majority of patrons expressed little difficulty finding resources and information was positive and affirming of institutional efforts to improve services. Research limitations/implications: The research sample primarily consisted of students, faculty, and staff affiliated with multicultural or international student centers on the campus of the University of Tennessee, or academic programs with a related focus. Results may be generalized for institutions with similar outreach infrastructures. Practical implications: The results have been used to inform decisions regarding library outreach and services to multicultural/international constituencies on campus. Originality/value: The paper confirms the applicability of the instrument designed by Scott Walter et al., with adjustments to reflect local practice and policy. Analysis of information seeking behaviors of minority groups can help inform the development of programs and services to this constituency and identify possible collaborations between the university library and the multicultural/international student centers on campus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-43
Number of pages14
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic libraries
  • Information services
  • National cultures
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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