A Critical Review of LIS Literature on First-Generation Students

Ilett, 2019 / Johns Hopkins University Press / January 2019

defining first gen

This review offers a critical analysis of the library and information science (LIS) literature on first-generation students (FGS) from the last 40 years. This literature demonstrates an interest in understanding the needs of FGS to serve them better, but it is often grounded in a deficit model of education that focuses on what first-generation students lack instead of what they have. This review identifies four predominant themes in the literature: FGS as outsiders, as a problem, as reluctant library users, and as capable students. Then it suggests possible avenues of future research, such as using a "funds of knowledge" approach to build on the learning and skills that students bring from their families and communities.