This research investigates the ways in which public libraries in Central Appalachia support the college literacy of nontraditional prospective students through information and services. Project CLiA focuses on public libraries across four states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) comprising the central region of Appalachia, which has lower rates of educational attainment and income and higher unemployment than other regions of Appalachia. Project goals are to highlight the nature of public library support for nontraditional prospective students and to identify libraries that may serve as exemplars to library practitioners who want to serve nontraditional college-bound patrons. Further, this project aims to position libraries as a partner to agencies working to boost college enrollment and workforce and economic development. This project is generously sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Phase 1: A website content analysis of public library websites.

Phase 2: A survey of public library staff regarding the demand for and awareness of college planning resources and the role of public libraries in serving college bound patrons.

Phase 3 (underway): Interviews with prospective and current undergraduate students in the Appalachian region to learn their college planning strategies and information needs.