Adult education and academic libraries

Date09 July 2018
Published date09 July 2018
AuthorKaren Bordonaro
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library & information services
Adult education and
academic libraries
Karen Bordonaro
Brock University Library, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to offer practicing academic librarians an overview of adult
educationtheories as a way to more deeply understandand further foster adult learning in academiclibraries.
Design/methodology/approach This paper is a literaturereview.
Findings This review introduces academic librarians to a range of specic adult education learning
theories; it offers examples of academiclibrary users engaging in these types of adult learning; it considers
how academic libraries can further foster adult learning; and it identies major characteristics of adult
Originality/value This literature review offersa summative overview of adult education in a way that
has not appeared in the library literature to date, along with explicit connections between adult education
theoriesand academic library practices.
Keywords Higher education, Andragogy, Academic libraries, Lifelong learning, Adult education,
Education theories
Paper type Literature review
The eld of adult education has much to offer to the study and practice of academic
librarianship. It can offer theoriesthat can help explain, illuminate and amplify interactions
with adult learners in library spaces.The intent of this article is to offer practicing academic
librarians some useful backgroundinformation on the theories and understandings of adult
education that can easily be applied to academic library settings. Its hope is to then make
academic library spaces moreexplicitly supportive of adult learners and conducive to adult
Literature review
The literature of academic librarianship does include information on adulteducation, but it
is generally either not the focal point of the investigation or it is not explicitly examined by
name in theory or in practice. One rare recent exception appears to be Ludovicos (2017)
article that looks at the ACRL Framework for Information Literacyfrom the perspective of
adult students who fall outside the 18-22-year-old boundaries of traditionally aged college
students. In this article, she plants the importantquestion of How can we, as librarians who
work more and more with adult students,incorporate the best of adult education theory into
our information literacy instruction?(Ludovico, 2017, p. 250). Her answer to this question
lies in seeing information literacy as an informative transaction, rather than a
transformative one, for students who are not part of the 18-22-year-old cohort on campus. A
further exception is an earlier article that introduced reference librarians to adult learning
concepts as a way to reimagineinformation literacy instruction as a learner centered activity
rather than a teachercentered one (Currie, 2000).
Received18 April 2018
Revised15 June 2018
Accepted15 June 2018
Informationand Learning Science
Vol.119 No. 7/8, 2018
pp. 422-431
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/ILS-04-2018-0030
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT