Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Carol Ann Sharicz


This paper uses a qualitative methodology to explore the perceptions of academic librarian on the definition of lifelong learning and their roles in supporting lifelong learning. Existing research on the topic was aligned to the emergent educational model of heutagogy to identify key concepts including self-directed learning, learner agency, and the impact of technology. Heutagogy is a learning model focused on self-determined learning, often in a high technology environment, for mature learners who have high degrees of agency over the entire learning process including identifying learning goals and methods, locating resources, and designing assessments. Using loosely structured interviews of academic librarians who identified instruction as a primary role in their jobs, this exploratory project identified key conceptual themes in defining lifelong learning around the personal attributes of a lifelong learner, the degree of educational formality, and the learner’s reason for engaging in lifelong learning. In support of lifelong learning, these academic librarians explored the relation of lifelong learning to specific learning goals they have for students but also described various structural limitations. Several overlapping themes between lifelong learning in academic libraries and heutagogy were found without firmly suggesting it as an appropriate model to apply to lifelong learning in academic library contexts.