Libraries' offers resources in support of Nontraditional Student Week, Nov. 4-10

October 30, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nov. 4-10 is Nontraditional Student Week, and Penn State University Libraries applauds and the achievements and hard work of adult learners and nontraditional students across the University. In celebration of the week-long annual event, librarians have compiled a list of services to help nontraditional students reach their educational goals.

Nontraditional students, often referred to as adult learners, are defined as a student 24 years of age or older; a veteran of the armed services or active-duty military person; returning to school after four or more years of employment, homemaking, or other activity; and/or someone who assumes multiple adult roles, such as parent, spouse/partner/and employee. According to the U.S. Department of Education, nontraditional students — attending classes either online or in person — is the fastest growing demographic in American colleges and universities.

"The University Libraries recognizes this cohort of students, which comprise 19% of the Penn State undergraduate population,” said Anne Behler, information literacy librarian and instruction coordinator for Library Learning Services and libraries representative to the Penn State Commission for Adult Learners. “These individuals are often stretched thin by juggling the multiple demands of managing academic expectations and adult life, and we want them to know that we are here for them."

Although a multitude of resources are available to Penn State students every day, Nontraditional Student Week offers the University Libraries a chance to highlight those resources and services that may be particularly helpful to adult learners.

The following is a librarian-curated list of sources: 

Online and physical library resource delivery for Penn State World Campus students, of which approximately 86% are adult learners.

Curbside pickup of items at many campuses. The University Libraries offers curbside pickup for Penn State students, faculty and staff, and offers a no-contact way to borrow materials.

Ask-a-librarian. Library help any time, from anywhere, via email, text or call.

The Search Bar offers peer-to-peer research consultation, technology tutors, and writing tutors for research and assignments via Zoom.

Subject Librarians. Did you know that librarians at Penn State specialize in particular areas of research? Find the subject expert to help you with your latest projects.

Remote resources, including a robust collection of E-Books, some textbooks and course materials, databases and electronic journals.  

PressReader offers access to current edition newspapers and magazines from around the world. Explore PressReader’s help center to download the app and get you started.

Commission for adult Learners for helpful faculty, staff and students dedicated to improving the adult learner experience at Penn State.  

— For helpful tips, Libraries’ events and links, follow the University Libraries on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information about the resources and services offered to nontraditional students at the University Libraries, contact Anne Behler, information literacy librarian and instruction coordinator, Library Learning Services and Libraries representative to the Penn State Commission for Adult Learners, at  

Last Updated April 15, 2021