The First-Year Experience and Academic Libraries: A Select, Annotated Bibliography


Over the past ten years, a powerful partnership has developed between first-year experience (FYE) programs and academic libraries. While special academic programming aimed at helping first-year students adjust to the social and academic demands of college life has existed for over a century and library skills instruction has been a common feature of such programming for almost as long, it has only been in the last decade that truly collaborative efforts between FYE programs and academic librarians have resulted in the effective integration of higher-order information literacy skills into the FYE curriculum.

The works cited below represent an introduction to the literature describing the first-year student's experience with information literacy instruction, and to the various ways in which academic librarians have worked in collaboration with classroom faculty to integrate information literacy instruction into the first-year experience. First-year-experience models described in the library literature include extended orientation seminars (Dabbour, 1997; Sugarman & Mosby, 2002), academic seminars with uniform content across sections (Blakeslee, 1988; Lindsay, 2003; Parks & Hendrix, 1996), and academic seminars on various topics (Burtle & Sugarman, 2002).

Originally written and compiled in 2004 by Scott Walter as part of the Association of College and Research Libraries First-Year Experience Task Force, this bibliography is now updated annually by the ACRL Instruction Section's Teaching Methods Committee.


I. Core Collection

Baker, Laura. 2006. “Library Instruction in the Rearview Mirror: A Reflective Look at the Evolution of a First-Year Library Program Using Evidence-Based Practice.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 13 (2): 1-20.

This article offers a longitudinal study of the development of the information literacy unit integrated within the first-year program during the eight-year formative period at Abilene Christian University (ACU). The case study presents how ACU library faculty evaluated their teaching methodologies in light of classroom realities, student feedback and learning theories in order to develop a more effective program for teaching research skills. It illustrates evidence-based librarianship in action and key principles for a successful library program.

Boff, Colleen, and Kristin Johnson. 2002. “The Library and First-Year Experience Courses: A Nationwide Study.” Reference Services Review 30 (4): 277-87.

Reports on the first national survey of information literacy instruction in first-year experience programs. Boff and Johnson report on the integration of information literacy instruction in 368 First-Year Experience (FYE) programs across the country and provide a framework for understanding the case studies reported in other essays. Aspects of FYE programming illuminated by this study include the degree to which a distinct "library component" exists in FYE programs across the country, the number of programs that include librarians as lead instructors for FYE sections, and the instructional content most often included in the "library component" of FYE. Since earlier national surveys of FYE programs conducted by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition have included little information about information literacy instruction, Boff and Johnson provide a critical starting point for future research on the place of academic librarians and information literacy instruction in the first-year experience.

Gardner, John N., Debra Decker, and Francine G. McNairy. 1986. “Taking the Library to Freshman Students via the Freshman Seminar Concept.” Advances in Library Administration and Organization 6: 153-71.

An early call for librarian involvement in first-year 3,247.00 experience courses. The authors provide an historical overview of academic programming for first-year students that complements Pierard and Graves (2002) and make an argument for the benefits that will accrue to academic libraries and librarians should they become more closely involved in the design and delivery of FYE programming.

Hardesty, Larry, ed. 2007. The Role of the Library in the First College Year. Charleston, SC: University of South Carolina National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.

Emphasizes the need for faculty, librarians, and administrators to unite in the effort to teach first-year students about research and academic discourse. The authors explore ways that librarians can teach Internet research, critical thinking, and information literacy using a variety of methods in tandem with several different campus entities involved in first-year programming. Using thirteen case studies from institutions of varying sizes and purposes, the text provides creative strategies for implementing and structuring library service to first-year students.

Pierard, Cindy, and Kathryn Graves. 2002. “The Greatest Problem with Which the Library is Confronted: A Survey of Academic Library Outreach to the Freshman Course.” In Making the Grade: Academic Libraries and Student Success, edited by Maurie C. Kelly and Andrea Kross, 71-89. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries.

Pierard and Graves provide a unique historical overview of academic library involvement with academic and co-curricular programs aimed at first-year students, demonstrating a variety of approaches for providing library skills and information literacy instruction to first-year students over the past century. The authors highlight the ways in which the evolution of the first-year experience movement has opened the door to more substantive opportunities for librarian involvement not only in instruction of first-year students, but also in FYE program development and assessment of student learning. Also provides an effective introduction to a range of FYE models that have proven amenable to the integration of information literacy instruction.

II. Additional Resources


Armstrong, Alison. 2003. “First Year Experience Research Skills Survey.” In Assessing Student Learning Outcomes for Information Literacy Instruction in Academic Institutions, edited by Elizabeth F. Avery, 53-9. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries.

Briefly describes changes to the way in which the University of Cincinnati approaches delivery and assessment of information literacy instruction for first-year students. Describes the impact of the creation of a First-Year Experience Librarian position on the instruction provided to first-year students, and provides an example of a survey instrument designed to assess first-year student information literacy competencies. Additional examples of simple survey instruments can be found in: Merz, L. H., & Mark, B. L. (2002). Assessment in College Library Instruction Programs, CLIP Note No. 32. Chicago: College Libraries Section, Association of College & Research Libraries.

Blackburn, Heidi. 2010. “Shh! No Talking about Retention in the Library.” Education Libraries 33 (1): 24-30.

In this article, Blackburn argues that librarians have a professional responsibility to improve and maintain student retention on college campuses and suggests possible solutions.  This sound, practical advice demonstrates how librarians can address this challenge at an individual level.  Librarians new to teaching FYE courses will appreciate how Blackburn quickly contextualizes this problem with regard to information literacy instruction and gives direction on how to respond.   

Brown, Ann Goebel, Sandra Weingart, and Judith R.J. Johnson. 2004. “Librarians Don't Bite: Assessing Library Orientation for Freshmen.” Reference Services Review 32 (4): 394-403.

Suggests that library orientation sessions decrease library anxiety in entering freshmen. The authors used a library anxiety scale to measure library anxiety before and after introductory library orientation sessions situated within larger campus orientations. Using a pre-test and post-test methodology to test the levels of anxiety in both a control group and experimental group, the authors found that students receiving an introduction to the library experienced less stress than those who were not exposed to the library during orientation. The findings of this article greatly support the notion that the library should be included in first-year programming, and the authors assert that the study could be used to gain administrative support for doing so.

Combes, Barbara and Karen Anderson. 2006. “Supporting First Year E-Learners in Courses for the Information Professions.” Journal of Education for Library & Information Science 47 (4): 259-76.

Noting that many studies on first-year experiences focus on traditional, on-campus students, the authors seek to study how online students adapt to the university experience. Combes and Anderson surveyed students at Edith Cowan University to ascertain the extent to which online students lacked identity, and fit in to the University community. Based on results of an anonymous survey and feedback from students, the article examines how the online experience differs from an on campus experience, how students react to studying online, and what steps might make the university more supportive of these students.

Dennis, Melissa R., Rebecca M. Murphey, and Kristin Rogers. 2011. "Assessing Information Literacy Comprehension in First Year Students." Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA 1 (1): 1-15.

This study describes a project to implement information literacy skills into a first-year class   over the course of two semesters.  The project was developed for at-risk first-year students and then adapted for general use with all first-year students. The librarians made use of the Interwrite Personal Response Systems (clickers) during one-shot library instruction sessions to encourage the active participation of students.  During the second semester of the program, librarians used pre/post tests to measure the program’s success.  Tests were administered using the institution’s course management software. The authors found that students were able to answer more questions correctly following the completion of the library instruction sessions.

Fain, Margaret. 2011. “Assessing Information Literacy Skills Development in First Year Students: A Multi-Year Study.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 37 (2): 109-19.

Fain’s study tracked the changes of first-year students’ information literacy skills after receiving one-shot instruction in either their English Composition or first-year experience courses (or both). The multi-year data helped librarians at Coastal Carolina University reflect on the relevance of their instruction, improve upon it, and evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction programs.

Ferrer-Vinent, Ignacio J., and Christy Carello. 2011. “The Lasting Value of an Embedded, First-Year Biology Library Instruction Program.” Science & Technology Libraries 30 (3): 254-66.

Ferrer-Vinent and Carello found that biology students who had an embedded librarian in their general first-year biology course viewed biology research in a more scholarly way in their upper-level biology courses and non-biology courses than their counterparts. Results were determined using a survey given to students three years after their first-year biology course.

Gilbert, Julie K. 2009. “Using Assessment Data to Investigate Library Instruction for First Year Students.” Communications in Information Literacy 3 (2): 181-92.

Seeking ways to develop information literacy skills among first-year college students, librarians at one institution developed a pilot program to measure the effects of sequenced library instruction sessions on students’ research skills in the first semester. The pilot program incorporated an assessment model consisting of a pretest, posttest, and a citation analysis of final papers. Results demonstrated that students who had multiple library instruction sessions during the first semester report higher levels of confidence and greater use of library resources than students who had only a single instruction session.

Gustavson, Amy. 2012. “Using ILIAC to Systematically Plan and Implement a Library Information Literacy Assessment Program for Freshman Classes.” Public Services Quarterly 8 (2): 97-113.

This article focuses on one library’s efforts to implement the ILIAC system of planning and assessing student learning in its library instruction efforts for first-year students. The ILIAC involves six concrete steps, including: reviewing learning goals, identifying student learning outcomes, creating and implementing learning activities, gathering data, interpreting data, and using the data to improve future student learning. The author shows how a systematic plan for assessing an information literacy program leads to clear answers on how to improve that program, which then leads to more effective student learning.

Knight, Lorrie A.  2002. "The Role of Assessment in Library User Education." Reference Services Review 30 (1): 15-24.

Presents a multi-faceted approach to assessment of student learning of information literacy skills as part of a first-year seminar. Complements Ursin, Lindsay, & Johnson (2004) by demonstrating ways in which student mastery of information literacy learning outcomes can be effectively assessed as part of a library-based instructional program.

Manuel, Kate. 2005. "What Do First Year Students Know about Information Research? And What Can We Teach Them?" In Currents and Convergence: Navigating the Rivers of Change: Proceedings of the ACRL 12th National Conference, April 7-10, 2005, Minneapolis, Minnesota, edited by Hugh Thompson, 401-17. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Describes a research and assessment project using pre- and post-tests to measure first-year student learning within library instruction sessions. Two key findings of the study are that first-year students may know how to perform savvy searches and evaluate their information-seeking strategies, but that important misconceptions about information sources still exist after library instruction. The author suggests that prior knowledge and beliefs may impact student learning and willingness to learn, and offers ideas for rethinking library instruction.

Ursin, Lara, Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, and Corey M. Johnson. 2004. "Assessing Library Instruction in the Freshman Seminar: A Citation Analysis Study." Reference Services Review 32 (3): 284-92.

Builds on the description of the Freshman Seminar Program at Washington State University, found in Johnson, McCord, & Walter (2003), by assessing the impact of information literacy instruction through an analysis of the print and electronic resources cited in first-year student projects. Citation analysis suggested limited impact on student information resource choices based on existing instructional programming. Discusses potential changes to the library support to the FSP based on the limited success of existing programming identified by this study.


Case Studies

Alfino, Mark, Michele Pajer, Linda Pierce and Kelly O'Brien Jenks. 2008. "Advancing Critical Thinking and Information Literacy Skills in First Year College Students." College & Undergraduate Libraries 15 (1/2): 81-98.

A case study of freshman curriculum development for a course block of seven credits called “thought and expression” at Gonzaga University. Librarians were integrated into the instruction team and helped the team to design innovative assignments that support the critical thinking goals of the course block. Specifically, three collaborative assignments were created: (1) a Wikipedia assignment, (2) a point-of-view assignment, and (3) a researched argument essay. These assignments help students to achieve the critical thinking goals of the course, and the librarians’ involvement in designing and implementing these assignments adds coherence to the curriculum.

Auer, Nicole J., and Ellen M. Krupar. 2005. "Librarians Grading: Giving A's, B's, C's, D's and F's." The Reference Librarian 43 (89/90): 39-61.

Two Virginia Tech University librarians discuss their experiences participating in the design and delivery of course-integrated library instruction at the freshman and junior undergraduate level, and address grading issues and other challenges. Additionally, Auer and Krupar share their in-class worksheets, homework assignments, grading checklists and rubric in the appendices.

Braquet, Donna, and Micheline Westfall. 2011. “Of Fairs and Festivals: Librarians Teach Thematic First-year Seminars.” Southeastern Librarian 59 (1): 3-8.

Faculty librarians Braquet and Westfall describe their experiences developing and teaching Freshman Seminar courses on the themes of Mardi Gras and World’s Fairs, respectively, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The engaging topics piqued student interest; assignments involving library research helped to promote academic success; and the use of group work promoted social integration, which research has shown to increase student retention. Students whose Freshman Seminar instructors were librarians reaped the additional advantage of close contact with faculty whom they could continue to consult for the duration of their studies at UTK.

Buchanan, Lori, Gina Garber, Aaron Dobbs, Nancy Snyder, and Elaine Berg. 2005. "Information Literacy in the First Year: Collaborating, Planning and Assessing at Austin Peay." Tennessee Libraries 55 (2): 29-37.

Describes the efforts of librarians at Austin Peay State University to embed information literacy into the first-year experience. Methods used include integrating information literacy skills into course curricula, training for instructors and librarians, and devising student and instructor assessment.

Corbett, Patrick. 2010. “What About the ‘Google Effect’? Improving the Library Research Habits of First-year Composition Students.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 37 (3): 265-77.

Corbett explains how implementing a “stage-process approach” to information literacy draws on and enhances students’ existing search skills. Students practiced “meta-analysis,” writing and reflecting on their research process individually and as a group, in order to discover the recursive nature of research and writing. An excellent read for librarians teaching for-credit courses.

Frazier, Nancy E. 2006. “In the Loop: One Librarian's Experiences Teaching within First-Year Learning Communities.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 13: 21-31.

A librarian’s experience of library instruction in the first-year learning communities (LCs) at Buffalo
State College. Library 100, a one-credit elective information literacy course, is integrated into the thematically related interdisciplinary LC programs for the first-year students. Library 100, which used to be a stand-alone course, is redesigned to reflect the LC course connections and target particular
assignments in other LC courses. The author finds that librarians’ involvement in learning communities helps to enhance students’ comfort with library resources and prepare them with information literacy skills for the rest of their undergraduate education and lifelong learning.

Freeman, Edward and Eileen Lynd-Balta. 2010. “Developing Information Literacy Skills Early in an Undergraduate Curriculum.” College Teaching 58: 109-15.

This article describes a collaborative activity that introduced first-semester freshmen to the standards of professional scientific writing, various forms of publication, effective search strategies, and an overview of plagiarism. Analysis of pre- and post- activity assessment indicated that students gain confidence and knowledge as a result of this activity. This activity can be adapted to other disciplines.

Guise, Janneka L., Janet Goosney, Shannon Gordon, and Heather Pretty. 2008. “Evolution of a Summer Research/Writing Workshop for First-Year University Students.” New Library World 109: 235–50.

Describes the development of an intensive four-day summer research and writing workshop for incoming students that aims to increase their information literacy skills before they enter the university. Includes a detailed description of how they developed the program, including collaborations with the writing program and instructional development department, writing goals and objectives, creating assignments, assessing and revising the program, and marketing.

Hahn, Jim, and Lizz Zitron. 2011. “How First-Year Students Navigate the Stacks: Implications for Improving Wayfinding.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 51 (1): 28-35.

While first-year undergraduate students searched for items in a research library, their responses and decisions were recorded as either fail points or successful library navigation.  To assist patrons with wayfinding in library stacks, this ethnographic study recommends i) easily identifiable sources of help; ii) logical starting points for new library users; and iii) uniformity of signage.

Haras, Catherine, Edward M. Lopez, and Kristine Ferry. 2008. “(Generation 1.5) Latino Students and the Library: A Case Study.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 34: 425-33.

The authors call for strong encouragement for first-year information literacy instruction, especially in
light of the increasing number of American-born Latino college students, most of whom speak only Spanish at home and arrive on campus lacking academic literacy skills in English.

Hegarty, Nora, Alan Carbery, and Tina Hurley. 2009. “Learning by Doing: Re-designing the First Year Information Literacy Programme at WIT Libraries.” Journal of Information Literacy 3: 73-90.

This article details the redesign of an information literacy instruction program for first-year students
at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland. The authors outline the pedagogical goals of the development and design of this new program, which included an emphasis on active learning. The authors also provide details about the assessment of the program and the feedback received from students and teaching faculty. Practitioners looking for an example of a successful revamping of an
instruction program geared to first-year students will find this article informative and useful.

Houlson, Van. 2007. “Getting Results from One-Shot Instruction: A Workshop for First-Year Students.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 14: 89-108.

This article describes how librarians developed a series of “one-shot” workshops focused on specific
information literacy competencies at the University of Minnesota. Designed with Kolb’s model in mind, these workshops bring learning objectives to a more manageable level, reducing information overload, and allow more time for active learning. Each of the three workshops is described providing details about learning outcomes, teaching objectives and assessment methods. Combining theory with practice, this article provides concrete guidance on how to conceptualize and organize such a program. Appendices include examples of instructional materials.

Johnson, Corey M., Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, and Scott Walter. 2008. “Learning More about How They Think: Information Literacy Instruction in a Campus-Wide Critical Thinking Project.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 15: 231-54.

Case study of how librarians deliver information literacy instruction with an emphasis on critical thinking at Washington State University, including their work as part of the university’s Freshman Seminar (first-year experience) Program. Includes useful examples of how they incorporate active learning teaching techniques into instruction.

Johnson, Corey M., Sarah McCord, and Scott Walter.  2003. “Instructional Outreach across the Curriculum: Enhancing the Liaison Role at a Research University.” The Reference Librarian 39: 19-37.

Provides an introduction to the information literacy instruction program at Washington State University by highlighting successful approaches to integration of information literacy in the first-year experience and College of Pharmacy programs. Complements Lindsay (2003), but provides a broader context for the discussion of library participation in campus FYE programs.

Kasbohm, Kristine E., David Schoen, and Michelle Dubaj. (2006). “Launching the Library Mystery Tour: A Library Component for the ‘First-Year Experience’." College & Undergraduate Libraries 13: 35-46.

The authors discuss an interactive plan for assessing ACRL Information Literacy standards in
first-year library instruction. In order to familiarize students with the library, the authors created a "library mystery tour" in which students used library-related clues to unravel a mystery about a historical figure. In groups, the students used the clues to solve the library mystery and received prizes for their work. Student showed significant improvement on library skills post-tests given after the tour exercise.

Kavanagh, Allison. 2011. “The Evolution of an Embedded Information Literacy Module: Using
Student Feedback and the Research Literature to Improve Student Performance.” Journal of Information Literacy 5: 5-22.

This article describes how pedagogical theories, reflective practice, and student feedback were used to amend and improve an information literacy (IL) module embedded in a face-to- face first-year marketing class. Embedding the IL component in a marketing plan assignment emphasized the “real-world” applicability of skills taught. Assessment of the module included citation analysis, student research logs, and a student survey. Results of these assessment efforts revealed a lower than expected correlation between scores on the IL module and scores on the marketing plan. Anecdotal evidence, however, indicated that both students and faculty perceived an improvement in student
information literacy skills.

Mikkelsen, Susan, and Sara Davidson. 2011. “Inside the iPod, Outside the Classroom.” Reference Services Review 39 (1): 66-80.

In this case study, authors Mikkelsen and Davidson describe how librarians at the University of California, Merced campus developed an iPod-based library orientation for first-year students to introduce key information literacy skills. This asynchronous orientation allowed librarians to offer basic instruction to first-year students, freeing librarians to focus on instruction for other courses. Surveys from faculty and students suggested the program is successful and popular.

Milne, Craig, and Jennifer Thomas. 2011. “Embedding a Library Program in the First-year Curriculum: Experiences and Strategies of an Australian Case Study.” In Embedded Librarians: Moving Beyond One-Shot Instruction, edited by Cassandra Kvenild and Kaijsa Calkins, 47-60. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

This chapter offers a case study of an embedded librarian program at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The program, which began in 2007, embedded information literacy into an existing course in the engineering school, which is designed to introduce students to college-level learning. The program combined instruction from librarians with a variety of assessment tools and activities embedded into the existing course. The authors used the assessment tools to refine their lectures and activities, as well as to show the benefits of embedded librarianship to administrators and faculty in the disciplines.

Nutefall, Jennifer E. 2009. “The Relationship Between Service Learning and Research.” Public Services Quarterly 5 (4): 250-61.

Nutefall describes the advantages of incorporating research projects and information literacy instruction into service-learning based courses for first-year students. The author surveyed students at the conclusion of their service learning courses to determine student perceptions of their own research skills. The courses all included embedded library instruction. Based on Nutefall’s analysis of the student surveys, the benefits of combining information literacy and service learning appeared to be: increased motivation for researching topics related to their service experiences, increased exposure to primary source materials and statistical data, and increased confidence in their own abilities to conduct successful research.

Smith, Cheri, Linda Doversberger, Sherri Jones, Parker Ladwig, Jennifer Parker, and Barbara Pietraszewski.  2012. "Using Course Syllabi to Uncover Opportunities for Curriculum-Integrated Instruction." Reference & User Services Quarterly 51 (3): 263-71.

Smith et al. discuss results of a  study of 144 syllabi at the University of Notre Dame. The study indicated that while 55 syllabi required library materials beyond assigned readings, 62 did not. Variables discussed include course level, discipline, and use rates of library instruction services. The article discusses the potential for library instruction, and in particular the inculcation of information literacy competencies, to benefit coursework.

Smith, Erin T., and Dorita F. Bolger. 2010. “Taking it Personally: Using Biography to Create a Common FYE Information Literacy Assignment.” College & Research Libraries News 71 (5): 244-7.

Smith and Bolger report on how framing first-year experience courses around a biographical research assignment can provide a shared foundation in information literacy – despite the variety of themes on which individual course sections may focus. Responding to evidence that students’ learning experiences occur at the “point of need,” the authors not only explain how to create this assignment, but also how it meets this objective and how it addresses five of the ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards. By ensuring some basic research experiences, this assignment provides a worthy solution to the complex problem of achieving consistency in library instruction and across FYE courses. The reader can infer how such a foundation can be built upon to teach higher-level competencies.

Ury, Connie Jo, and Terry L. King. 1995. "Reinforcement of Library Orientation Instruction for Freshman Seminar Students." Research Strategies 13 (Summer): 153-64.

Describes a first-year experience program at Northwest Missouri State University in which information literacy instruction is provided primarily by FYE faculty members with librarians serving as consultants in the development of course assignments, instructional materials, and strategies for the assessment of student mastery of information literacy skills and concepts.

Watson, Alex P. 2012. "Still a Mixed Bag: A Study of First Year Composition Students' Internet Citations at the University of Mississippi." Reference Services Review 40 (1): 125-37.

Watson reports the results of a citation analysis conducted in cooperation with a group of first-year writing instructors at the University of Mississippi. The focus of the analysis was to evaluate and rank Internet sources. Results of the study confirm that students are aware that they need to be critical about their use of Internet sources , but lack the skills needed to discern mediocre content and commercial intent. Watson’s literature review is a thorough account of the research on undergraduate citation analysis in the age of electronic resources and his study provides a limited but enlightening glimpse into the world of Internet citations in first-year writing. His findings can be used as a guide for teaching Internet literacy and source evaluation to freshmen for librarians and writing instructors alike. 

Wong, Gabrielle. 2011. “Look Beyond Textbooks: Information Literacy for First-year Science Students.” Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship 65: 61-70.

Wong discusses four information literacy exercises that introduced first-year physics students to the array of scientific information available and to the publication cycle through which this material is transformed from primary to secondary sources. With slight modifications, these exercises can be adapted for first-year students in other disciplines.


Collaborative Initiatives

Barratt, Caroline C., Kristin Nielsen, Christy Desmet, and Ron Balthazor. 2009. “Collaboration is Key: Librarians and Composition Instructors Analyze Student Research and Writing.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 9 (1): 37-56.

A team of two first-year composition instructors and two librarians at the University of Georgia collaborated on a research project that used citation analysis to study the effect of library instruction and instructor assignment prompts on student research and writing. Results showed that a combination of library instruction and detailed assignment guidelines is most likely to raise the quality of writing and research in first-year student essays. Further, this collaborative experience suggested that more dialogue among faculty is needed to determine the most effective methods for introducing first-year students to research.

Birmingham, Elizabeth, Luc Chinwongs, Molly R. Flaspohler, Carly Hearn, Danielle Kvanvig, and Ronda Portmann. 2008. "First-Year Writing Teachers, Perceptions of Students' Information Literacy Competencies, and a Call for a Collaborative Approach." Communications in Information Literacy 2 (1): 6-24.

Librarians and English teachers share similar goals of teaching research and writing, but they often work separately without adequate collaboration. This article reports a survey on the first-year writing teachers from three institutions regarding their perceptions of information literacy skills and the strategies they use to enhance the skills in their instruction. The survey finds significantly higher satisfaction of the English teachers with their students’ research and writing competencies if information literacy skills are integrated in the first-year composition curriculum. The findings of the survey encourage and shape the collaborations between librarians and English teachers.

Bullard, Kristin, Allison Bolorizadeh, Kawanna Bright, and Lavergne Gray. 2007. "Options for Integration: Creating a Flexible Library Research Module for the First Year Experience Curriculum." Tennessee Libraries 57 (1): 1-4.

A recent collaboration at the University of Tennessee between the University Libraries and the First-Year Studies (FYS) program led to the creation of a module designed to integrate information literacy and research skills into the freshman course. This article explains the module creation, implementation, challenges, and future assessment of the module and the integration into FYS. The introduction of information literacy concepts was the foundation of module development. The curriculum for each portion contained a learning objective, learning outcome, content and learning activities. The last two portions of the module focused on introducing information literacy concepts by defining and locating information in the UT Libraries. The next part of the module creation process involved designing three methods for integrating the content into the FYS course, which included creating online tutorials. Finally, the article focuses on the future assessment of the FYS project.

Deitering, Anne-Marie, and Sara Jameson. 2008. “Step by Step Through the Scholarly Conversation: A Collaborative Library/Writing Faculty Project to Embed Information Literacy and Promote Critical Thinking in First Year Composition at Oregon State University.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 15 (1/2): 57-79.

This is a report of the collaborative instruction of writing faculty and librarians in first year composition courses at Oregon State University. The librarians replace traditional in-class library instruction with a set of six linked assignments that are called the information literacy portfolio (ILP). The conversation model used in the assignments exposes students to various viewpoints instead of just their own or simply pro and con viewpoints, thus helping students to see the value of open-minded exploration in critical thinking and knowledge construction. The information literacy portfolio is seen as a successful endeavor to integrate new ideas and new ways of thinking into students’ own belief system. Challenges of the collaborative teaching and future steps are also discussed in the report.

Einfalt, Johanna, and Janet Turley. 2009. “Developing a Three-way Collaborative Model to Promote First Year Student Engagement and Skill Support.” e-Journal of Business Education & Scholarship of Teaching 3 (2): 41-8.

Einfalt and Turley state that a three-pronged model of cooperation, collaboration, and team teaching among skills advisors, librarians, and faculty teachers or academics will help first-year students to better engage in content learning and development of research and academic skills. The goal is to support first-year students by fostering skills improvement and providing them with a positive first-year experience.

Engle, Lea. 2010. “Hitching Your Wagon to the Right Star: A Case Study in Collaboration.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 38 (3): 398-416.

Engle recounts her experience to include the library into Texas A&M’s intensive first-year student orientation retreat by creating partnerships with successful campus programs. She provides ten steps on how to create these partnerships.

Evenbeck, Scott E., and Frank Ross. 2011. “Transforming the First-Year Experience Through Learning Communities.” International Perspectives on Higher Education Research 6 (1): 213-23.

Evenbeck and Ross conclude that incorporating a first-year experience seminar into a learning community positively impacts student retention and academic achievement. A team of faculty, academic advisor, peer mentor, and librarian provided students with all of the information they needed to transition from high school to post-secondary education. Results were analyzed based on a comparison between students who participated in the learning community program and those who did not.

Ferrer-Vinent, Ignacio J., and Christy A. Carello. 2008. "Embedded Library Instruction in a First-Year Biology Laboratory Course." Science & Technology Libraries 28 (4): 325-51.

A collaborative venture between a science librarian and a biology professor, who incorporate library research education in the first-year biology laboratory course. This is multifaceted library instruction with specific aims and requirements embedded in the laboratory manual and weekly assignments. The rationale, collaborative process, and specifics of the program are introduced in detail in the article. Several assessment methods are used to evaluate students’ improvement in research skills as well as their overall satisfaction with the program. The librarian and professor also meet regularly to discuss successes, failures, and possible changes. The authors believe that making library instruction relevant to specific course content is critical to student success.

Harley, Bruce L. 2001. "Freshmen, Information Literacy, Critical Thinking and Values." Reference Services Review 29 (4): 301-6.

Harley describes his involvement with the Freshman Success Program at San Diego State University (CA). Harley describes the activities associated with a section of the first-year experience "university seminar" that he created in collaboration with a classroom faculty member to focus on the relationship between value judgments, critical thinking, and information literacy.

Hayes-Bohanan, Pamela, and Elizabeth Spievak. 2008. "You Can Lead Students to Sources, but Can You Make Them Think?" College & Undergraduate Libraries 15 (1-2): 173-210.

Great case study that describes how a librarian and psychology professor collaborated to develop an information literacy class for first-year students on a theme: the psychology of learning. This thoughtful paper details the teaching techniques that worked and didn’t work and why, and explains how the authors revised the course to make learning objectives more explicit and foster critical thinking about information. The appendix includes a matrix of learning outcomes for the course as well as sample assignments.

Klentzin, Jacqueline Courtney, and Diane Bucci Todd. 2012. "Part-time Faculty and the Academic Library: A Case Study." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 38 (2): 101-7.

The authors discuss the importance of working with part-time faculty because they often teach the writing courses or introductory courses associated with information literacy learning outcomes. The study seeks to understand how part-time faculty use the library; it also identifies the best ways to communicate with part-time faculty at Robert Morris University (PA). 

Lindsay, Elizabeth B. 2003. "A Collaborative Approach to Information Literacy in the Freshman Seminar." Academic Exchange Quarterly 7 (3): 23-27.

Describes the involvement of academic librarians in the Freshman Seminar Program at Washington State University. The WSU program focuses on critical thinking instruction and the integration of print and electronic information resources into a Web-based presentation evaluated by faculty and staff in student affairs, General Education, and the university libraries. Also describes the development of a credit-bearing course aimed at making the FSP "peer facilitators" information literate as part of their training to lead independent FSP sections. Highlights the integration of information literacy instruction, critical thinking instruction, information technology instruction, and peer learning as part of a first-year experience learning community.

Manus, Sara J. Beutter. 2009. "Librarian in the Classroom: An Embedded Approach to Music Information Literacy for First-Year Undergraduates." Notes 66 (2): 249-61.

This case study discusses an information literacy program that was integrated into a first-year survey course for music students at Vanderbilt University. The author describes her experiences collaborating with faculty and the challenge of working in the dual role of instructor and librarian. She also lists her goals for the first year, noting her successes and failures, and then describes the revisions that were made for the following year. Some of the materials the author used in the course are also included in the article.

McMillen, Paula S., and Eric Hill. 2005. "Why Teach 'Research as a Conversation' in Freshman Composition Courses? A Metaphor to Help Librarians and Composition Instructors Develop a Shared Model." Reference Strategies 20 (1): 3-22.

This article introduces a discussion on a new collaborative instructional model between librarians and instructors of freshman composition courses at the Oregon State University. The model emphasizes teaching research skills through the metaphor of conversation, similarly to teaching students to understand research as a process of conversing in a new language or new environment and with various authors or ideas. Students learn to construct meaning from such interactive conversations. The authors provide their rationale for selecting conversation metaphor in research as well as teaching strategies that are consistent with this metaphor. The purpose of this model is to stimulate students to actively participate in the discourse of their disciplines.

McMillen, Paula S., Bryan Miyagishima and Laurel S. Maughan. 2002. “Lessons Learned about Developing and Coordinating an Instruction Program with Freshman Composition.” Reference Services Review 30 (4): 288-99.

This article provides a case study of a collaborative partnership between a library instruction program and a first-year composition program at Oregon State University. The authors’ account details the planning, implementation and assessment of the collaboration, which involved providing library instruction to 60 sections of first-year composition with no additional resources, while also outlining the importance of the role of the instruction coordinator. This article will be helpful to library instruction programs seeking to build relationships with first-year composition programs because of its reflective approach to the successes, challenges and lessons learned from this collaborative approach.

Oakleaf, Megan, Michelle S. Millet, and Leah Kraus. 2011. "All Together Now: Getting Faculty, Administrators, and Staff Engaged in Information Literacy Assessment." portal: Libraries and the Academy 11 (3): 831-52.

In response to a new regional accreditation requirement, Trinity University developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) with a focus on information literacy (IL). A series of workshops and grants launched a campus-wide conversation on IL and promoted the integration of IL instruction into the curriculum. Rubric workshops were then added to incorporate the assessment of student IL skills and promote ongoing discussion of information literacy among librarians, faculty, staff, and administrators. This article also addresses barriers to collaboration, as well as facilitators and impediments to IL assessment.


FYE-specific Courses

Andrews, Theodore, and Rajaram P. Patil. 2007. "Information Literacy for First-Year Students: An Embedded Curriculum Approach." European Journal of Engineering Education 32 (3): 253-9.

Describes how librarians collaborated with learning skills staff and academic faculty in a first-year unit for engineering and industrial design students at the University of Western Sydney. Information literacy and critical thinking are among the key goals for the course; the library research skills learned in this unit were the foundation for team research projects. Librarians provided direct instruction early in the course as well as continuing support for students as they located, evaluated and annotated research sources.

Blakeslee, Sarah. 1998. "Librarian in a Strange Land: Teaching a Freshman Orientation Course." Reference Services Review 26 (2): 73-8.

Blakeslee reports on her experience teaching "Introduction to University Life" (UNIV 001) at California State University, Chico. Like Sugarman and Mosby (2002), the author was responsible for teaching a section of a generic first-year experience course, but, unlike them, the "major focus" of her course was information literacy and computer literacy skills. Blakeslee reports both on the course and on the workshop programming she prepared for other UNIV 001 faculty prior to the launch of the course to help them address their own concerns about having to teach a first-year course with a strong information literacy focus.

Callison, Rachel, Dan Budny, and Kate Thomes. 2005. "Library Research Project for First-Year Engineering Students: Results from Collaboration by Teaching and Library Faculty." The Reference Librarian 43 (89/90): 93-106.

This article reports a collaborative project between the Freshman Engineering Program and Engineering Library at the University of Pittsburg. The collaboration between teaching and library faculty successfully incorporate the Library Research Project into the freshman engineering curriculum. Learning library skills in their first semester enable the first-year engineering students to understand the interrelationship of library resources, the research process, and critical thinking skills. Students are also able to realize the importance of information literacy skills in their undergraduate years and future pursuit of an engineering career. The authors also believe that their approach is transferable to other disciplines.

Cameron, Carol, Linda George, and Margaret Henley. 2012. "All Hands on Deck: A Team Approach to Preparing Year One Arts Students for their First Major Assignment. A Practice Report." The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education 3 (1): 101-8.

Acknowledging that students do not take advantage of already-available services, Cameron, George and Henley recount their attempts to proactively engage with first-year art students at the point of need by arranging targeted “teaching sessions.” Sessions, conducted during the week before the due date of a major assignment, were a collaborative effort between the library, the First-Year Experience program, and the student learning staff. This article presents some interesting ideas for ways that academic libraries can build partnerships for the purpose of engaging students and raising retention rates.

Gawalt, Ellen S., and Barbara Adams. 2011. "A Chemical Information Literacy Program for First-year Students." Journal of Chemical Education 88 (4): 402-7.

The semester-long inquiry-based program described in this article is intended to help chemistry students in honors sections begin to search and explore scientific literature. During the five years in which this program has been conducted, it has evolved based on student assessment, faculty feedback, and new developments in the field. Collaboration with the chemistry and biochemistry department was essential to the success of this program.

McDermott, Dona. 2005. "Library Instruction for High-Risk Freshmen: Evaluating an Enrichment Program." Reference Services Review 33 (4): 418-37.

McDermott examines and evaluates an enrichment program that provides instruction in library use and information literacy specifically for at-risk freshmen with low verbal SAT scores at one university. The library component includes instruments used to evaluate library sessions from the viewpoint of both the English department faculty and library faculty. A pre-session survey was given to students, as well as an assessment quiz at the end of the session evaluating what they had learned. Findings from the article indicate that two or three library sessions are required to cover the basic skills of library use, and that librarians and English professors need to collaborate on library session assignments.

Pedersen, Sarah. 2003. Learning Communities and the Academic Library. Olympia, WA: Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education.

Prepared for the Association of College & Research Libraries and the American Association of Higher Education, this slim monograph provides a broad overview of the evolution of learning communities within the first-year experience and of the contributions made to LCs by academic libraries and librarians. A useful introduction both to the history of learning communities and information literacy instruction, and to the best practices represented by model programs at California State University, Hayward, the University of Hawaii, Bellevue Community College, Portland State University, LaGuardia Community College, Washington State University, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and others.

Sugarman, Tammy S., and Anne Page Mosby. 2002. "Making a Weak Link Stronger: Incorporating Information Literacy into a Semester-Long Freshman Seminar." Georgia Library Quarterly 39 (2): 12-6.

Describes the authors' involvement as instructors in the first-year experience program at Georgia State University. GSU 1010 is a FYE course that covers a number of issues related to student success and the transition from high school to college. Sugarman and Mosby describe their efforts to include information literacy instruction into the broader curriculum required of all GSU 1010 sections. They describe specific assignments, as well as student reactions to the assignments, to the inclusion of ILI into GSU 1010, and to the FYE program, as a whole. Useful for academic librarians who have the opportunity to serve as instructors in a campus-wide FYE program.

Trescases, Ursula. 2008. "The Role of the Library in the First College Year: The Canadian Perspective." Reference Services Review 36 (3): 301-11.

Trescases provides a comprehensive overview of library services offered to first-year students in Canada, including specific examples of courses and programs, based on a survey of 169 institutions. She also identifies the significant publications on Canadian first-year experience library programs, traces the historical context for the rise of FYE programs there, and compares the number and types of programs available with data from the US. This paper will be of interest to librarians looking for examples of how other institutions are teaching information literacy to first-year students.


Online Tutorials

Macke, Barb, and Pam Bach. 2012. “The Dilemma of the ‘Disappearing’ FYE Librarian.” College & Research Libraries News 73 (7): 408-11.

Macke and Bach discuss the impact of budget cuts on the first-year experience program at the University of Cincinnati. Budget cuts in 2010-11 led to the layoff of the First-Year Experience Librarian at that institution. The article examines the effectiveness of a narrated PowerPoint session which was a part of a University orientation for Allied Health Program students. Macke and Bach note that from the faculty perspective, the PowerPoint was somewhat effective, but not as effective as face-to-face instruction. However, librarians were frustrated by the difficulty of updating content. Although unlikely to rely on PowerPoint as a medium of instruction, librarians appreciate the increased interest of faculty in orientation. They anticipate use of a CampusGuide product for the 2011-12 academic year.



Kelleher, Mary, and Sara Laidlaw. 2009. "A Natural Fit: The Academic Librarian Advising in the First Year Experience." College & Undergraduate Libraries 16 (2/3): 153–63.

Case study describing how librarians at the University of St. Thomas participate in the first-year experience program as academic advisers for undeclared students. Argues that librarians’ teaching and reference experience coupled with their familiarity with university policies and procedures make them uniquely suited to this role. The library also benefits from increased visibility among students and faculty though librarians' participation in the program.



Chan, Emily K., and Lorrie A. Knight. 2010. “'Clicking' with Your Audience: Evaluating the Use of Personal Response Systems in Library Instruction.” Communications in Information Literacy 4: 192-201.

Authors Chan and Knight compare the effect of personal response systems (PRS), or clickers, on student engagement and student learning in first-year library instruction sessions. Although students in clicker classrooms felt that use of the devices made the class more enjoyable, students in non-clicker classrooms documented greater retention of the skills taught. The authors recommend that future research on PRS should seek to verify that the use of clickers in the classroom actually helps students to attain higher levels of achievement.

Dabbour, Katherine Strober. 1997. "Applying Active Learning Methods to the Design of Library Instruction for a Freshman Seminar." College & Research Libraries 58: 299-308.

Describes information literacy instruction provided for the University Studies 100 course at California State University, San Bernardino. Argues for the importance of using active learning techniques (e.g., discussion, small group work) as part of information literacy instruction for first-year students.

Daniels, Erin. 2010. “Using a Targeted Rubric to Deepen Direct Assessment of College Students' Abilities to Evaluate the Credibility of Sources.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 17: 31-42.

After designing and implementing a rubric to assess the ability of freshmen to evaluate sources, the author discovered that teaching students how to identify “credibility cues,” those pieces of information that determine the relevance and credibility of a particular source, is a critical first step. As indicated by their annotated bibliographies, students struggled to interpret and contextualize these cues in order to effectively assess their sources. Daniels proposes that instruction librarians concentrate on foundational work before attempting to teach the higher-order interpretive skills involved in source evaluation.

Harris, Benjamin R. 2005. "Credit Where Credit Is Due: Considering Ethics, 'Ethos,' and Process in Library Instruction on Attribution." Education Libraries 28: 4-11.

Discusses the problem of plagiarism and the importance of the library in teaching beginning undergraduates how to give proper attribution to their sources. Includes tips on how to teach both the “how” and the “why” aspects of citing sources. Provides good background information on how writing pedagogy has evolved over time and hypothesizes why librarians might be better suited to doing instruction on plagiarism and citation than teaching faculty.

Hlavaty, Greg, and Murphy Townsend. 2010. “The Library’s New Relevance: Fostering the First-year Student’s Acquisition, Evaluation, and Integration of Print and Electronic Materials.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 38 (2): 149-60.

Composition instructors Hlavaty and Townsend bring an outsider’s perspective to the practice of integrating information literacy instruction and writing. While many instruction librarians will recognize the authors’ recommendations (using active learning in the classroom, requiring a research topic before the instruction session, documenting the research process), this article can be used to promote effective information literacy practices for college and university writing instructors. Appendices include research guide prompts and suggestions for comparing popular and scholarly articles.

Karshmer, Elana, and Jacalyn E. Bryan. 2011. “Building a First-year Information Literacy Experience: Integrating Best Practices in Education and ACRL IL Competency Standards for Higher Education.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 37: 255-66.

This article chronicles the makeover of an integrated information literacy class within a three- credit University Introduction course due to inconsistencies in teaching without a shared curriculum. The article begins with an excellent literature review of three overarching categories as they relate to current IL instruction: active learning/collaborative learning, educational theory/best practices, and activities/games. The redesign process was guided by many of the articles mentioned in the literature review, but in particular the “assessment as learning” framework, the ACRL IL standards, and the McREL instructional strategies. The final redesigned curriculum included pre-session videos, an in-library review, and opportunities for students to engage in active learning situations. This article also includes tables and sample evaluation forms.

Manuel, Kate. 2002. "Teaching Information Literacy Skills to Generation Y." Journal of Library Administration 36: 195-217.

Provides an introduction to current research on "Generation Y" college students and their learning styles. Identifies ways in which differences in learning styles may influence student perception of the need for information literacy instruction, as well as the most effective means of designing information literacy instruction for students. Provides a useful bridge between research on distinctive characteristics of today's college students, the dynamic information environment of the 21st-century university, and best practices in information literacy instruction.

Mery, Yvonne, Jill Newby, and Ke Peng. 2012. "Why One-Shot Information Literacy Sessions Are Not the Future of Instruction: A Case for Online Credit Courses." College & Research Libraries 73 (4): 366-77.

University of Arizona librarians conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of different types of library instruction on first-year English students’ development of information literacy skills. Although one-shot sessions do help students to acquire some of these skills, results of the study showed that a one-credit online information literacy course was more effective in advancing students’ information literacy skills. The extended guidance and distributed practice made possible in the one-credit course provided students with more opportunities over time to grasp complex concepts. The online environment also provided flexibility and convenience.

Orme, William A. 2008. "Information Literacy and First-Year Students." New Directions for Teaching and Learning 114: 63-70.

Good review of learning theory and how it relates to information literacy, within the context of teaching first-year students. Argues that students’ worldviews and beliefs about what knowledge and learning are will affect their ability to develop information literacy skills. Teachers should make their own beliefs about knowledge and learning explicit and explain how information shapes the academic environment.


Related Research

Adebonojo, Leslie, Mark Ellis, Kathy Campbell, and Michael Hawkins. 2010. “Redirecting Library Instruction Based on Socioeconomic Data.” Reference Services Review 38: 398- 416.

Faced with budget cuts, librarians at East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) Sherrod Library used existing national, state, and local socioeconomic data to determine whether traditional library instruction classes were necessary to meet the research needs of incoming freshmen. The incoming class profile showed that although most freshmen at ETSU had access to technology, the majority lacked the research skills required for college-level work. In addition, nearly 60 percent were required to take remedial or developmental courses upon entry to ETSU. Continuation of face-to-face library instruction in first-year classes was therefore deemed essential, and librarians are exploring the use of subject guides and tutorials to expand upon instruction outside the classroom.

Cooke, Rachel, and Danielle Rosenthal. 2011. “Students Use More Books After Library Instruction: An Analysis of Undergraduate Paper Citations. College & Research Libraries 72(4): 332-43.

Examining more than 500 bibliographic references from first-year composition papers, Cooke and Rosenthal show that students who received instruction cited more sources and more kinds of sources than students who did not receive instruction. Implications on how these findings could affect models of library instruction and instruction emphases are discussed.

Dowell, David J., and Felicity Small. 2011. “What Is the Impact of Online Resource Materials on Student Self-learning Strategies?” Journal of Marketing Education 33(2): 140-8.

This study looks at the online learning environment and examines whether first-year on-campus and distance students are incorporating online tools as part of their “self-regulated” learning strategies. The authors found that online tools become more useful to students when they are not learning in the traditional classroom but that they nonetheless have a limited effect on the performance outcomes of the students. These findings bring to question whether the investment in online learning technologies is warranted.

Forest, Kaya, and Sierra Rayne. 2009. “Incorporating Primary Literature Summary Projects into a First-year Chemistry Curriculum.” Journal of Chemical Education 86 (5): 592-4.

Forest and Rayne exposed first-year students to primary literature in chemistry by requiring them to submit two summaries of current primary literature during the final semester of a two- semester, first-year chemistry course. Topics and examples were discussed to help students with their search. Forest and Rayne found that students had a difficult time developing an appropriately focused topic, which inhibited the retrieval of relevant articles. Students also did not know the difference between primary and secondary resources. Overall, students found the exercise useful for later, more intense, research projects.

Geffert, Bryn, and Beth Elaine Christensen. 1998. “Things they Carry: Attitudes Toward, Opinions about, and Knowledge of Libraries and Research among Incoming College Students.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 37 (3): 279-89.

Reports the results of a survey given to first-year students (n=521) at St. Olaf College (MN) to determine the degree to which student demographic characteristics and previous experience with library research relate to demonstrated mastery of information literacy skills. Results suggest a significant correlation between performance on an introductory test of information skills and: (1) gender; (2) high school class size; (3) high school grade point average; and, (4) previous experience with library research. In an interesting complement to the description of "Generation Y" self-assessment of information technology skills found in Manuel (2002), the authors found "little relationship between self-confidence and knowledge of several basic library concepts." As in Manuel (2002), the suggested conclusion is that even incoming students raised in the "information age" require formal information literacy instruction in order to effectively navigate the demands of first-year college instruction.

Gilardi, Silvia, and Chiara Guglielmetti. 2011. “University Life of Non-traditional Students: Engagement Styles and Impact on Attrition.” Journal of Higher Education 82 (1): 33-53.

This empirical study of 228 non-traditional students explored the relationship between the first-year academic experience and the retention of non-traditional students. Results show that engagement, social integration, and meaningfulness of the learning experience have different effects on non-traditional and traditional students' retention.

Gross, Melissa, and Don Latham. 2011. “Experiences with and Perceptions of Information: A Phenomenographic Study of First-year College Students.” Library Quarterly 81 (2): 161-86.

This investigation examined experiences with and perceptions of information reported by first-year college students whose level of information literacy was known. Seventy-seven interviews were performed outside of a classroom or library context; transcripts were analyzed using a phenomenographic approach. The results illustrated: how conceptions of information mask and minimize the need for individuals to attain information literacy skills; the primacy of the Internet and people as information resources; limited interest in information quality; and differences in experience with and perceptions of information when imposed and self-generated contexts were compared.

Klaib, Fadel J. 2011. “Users' Ratings on the Improved Library Orientation Programme at Zarqa Private University: A Comparative Study.” Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science 16 (1): 63-72.

Klaib provides an overview of a quantitative study of a first-year orientation program at Zarqa Private University. The author compared student evaluations of the orientation program prior to the program’s revision to emphasize practical over theoretical concepts. Klaib’s study determined that student feedback validated the need for refocusing the first-year orientation
program to concentrate on practical skill development.

Lupton, Mandy. 2008. Evidence, “Argument and Social Responsibility: First-year Students' Experiences of Information Literacy when Researching an Essay.” Higher Education Research & Development 27 (4): 399-414.

Lupton conducted a phenomenographic study of students in a first-year environmental studies course. She determined a hierarchy of categories based on students’ experiences of researching an essay – seeking evidence, developing an argument and learning as a social responsibility – and proposes that first-year assignments be designed to move students to the second level, where they begin to experience information literacy.

Salisbury, Fiona, and Sharon Karasmanis. 2011. “Are They Ready? Exploring Student Information Literacy Skills in the Transition from Secondary to Tertiary Education.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 42 (1): 43-58.

Salisbury and Karasmanis focused their study not on what first-year college students do not know, but rather what they already do know. They speak to the importance of understanding students’ prior knowledge so as to build on that knowledge and avoid teaching skills that are already known. Salisbury and Karasmanis encourage the use of information seeking behavior
studies in the form of prior experience questionnaires for first-year students. The authors indicate that the results of their study show that educators should not assume that first-year college students are information illiterate and that they do arrive with some information literacy skills that are on par with their educational demands.

Wilkes, Janelle, and Lisa J. Gurney. 2009. “Perceptions and Applications of Information Literacy by First Year Applied Science Students.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 40 (3): 159-71.

Wilkes and Gurney surveyed first-year university students over the course of a semester to determine their preferences for finding information. The researchers then analyzed student bibliographies to corroborate the students’ statements. This study’s findings suggest a disconnect between students’ stated preferences and their demonstrated skill in locating, evaluating, and including peer-reviewed scholarship in their academic work.


Strategies For Integration

Barefoot, Betsy. 2006. “Bridging the Chasm: First-year Students and the Library.” Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 20, B16.

Barefoot's editorial in the Chronicle Review identifies popular first-year conceptions of research and libraries, and surveys common approaches of including information literacy instruction in first-year programming. Barefoot emphasizes the importance of including library instruction in courses taken by first-year students in various disciplines. She ends by listing other strategies for keeping prospective and first-year students aware of the importance of the library in higher education. Barefoot (not herself a librarian) has written an article which could be very helpful to key institutional decision-makers who are attempting to get "up to speed" on the importance of information literacy instruction in the first year.

Dobozy, Eva, and Julia Gross. 2010. “Pushing Library Information to First-year Students: An Exploratory Study of Faculty/Library Collaboration.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 41 (2): 90-9.

The authors embedded podcast and vodcast modules within their institution’s course management system as a means of delivering information literacy concepts to first-year students studying teacher education. The authors discovered that their students were disengaged with the modules, sometimes not even completing them, and concluded that providing information online does not substitute for targeted instruction.

Fisher, Rick, and April Heaney. 2011. “A Faculty Perspective: Strengthening At-risk Students’ Transition to Academic Research Through Embedded Librarianship.” In Embedded Librarians: Moving Beyond One-shot Instruction, edited by Cassandra Kvenild and Kaijsa Calkins, 35-45. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Fisher and Heaney addressed the topic of at-risk students and their particular learning challenges, focusing on how embedded librarian programs can help these students make the transition into college. The authors identified the ways in which embedded librarianship fits within current best practices for helping at-risk students and provided examples of how embedded librarians have worked with at-risk student populations at the University of Wyoming. Fisher and Heaney also described important benefits that have resulted from the embedded librarian program and offered tips for institutions that want to use embedded librarians with first-year students at-risk of dropping out of college.

Gardner, John N., and Larry Hardesty. 2004. “The Reform Movement for the First Year Experience: What is the Role of Librarians?” Library Issues 24 (5): 1-4

Provides a general overview both to the foundations of the first-year experience movement through Gardner's work at the University of South Carolina and to the fundamentals of information literacy instruction as represented by the Association of College & Research Libraries' "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education." Reiterates the call for librarians to be more involved at the level of policy-making for campus-based FYE programs and for faculty and administrators to think creatively about the ways in which librarians and information literacy instruction can be integrated into both academic and co-curricular programming aimed at the first-year student.

Gurney, Lisa J., and Janelle Wilkes. 2008. “Creating a Library Presence in Online Units.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 39 (1): 26-37.

Gurney and Wilkes describe the effectiveness of imbedding search strategies into online course material in encouraging first-year students at the University of New England to use library subscription databases to locate and cite scholarly journal articles. The poor results lead the authors to speculate whether it might be better for first-year students to use familiar Internet sources like Google/Google Scholar to introduce them to scholarly resources.

Jacobson, Trudi E., and Beth L. Mark. 2000. “Separating Wheat from Chaff: Helping First-Year Students Become Information Savvy.” The Journal of General Education 49 (4): 256-78.

Jacobson and Mark provide an excellent overview of the wide variety of ways in which librarians interact with the first-year curriculum through credit courses, General Education requirements, and first-year experience programs. Aimed at a non-librarian audience, this essay effectively introduces the concept of information literacy and its relationship to critical thinking instruction. The authors also describe librarian involvement with FYE programs at the State University of New York at Albany and Messiah College (PA), including discussions of information literacy instruction and the strengths and weaknesses of each program in terms of planning for, and assessing, student mastery of information literacy skills and concepts.

Malone, Debbie, and Carol Videon. 2003. First Year Student Library Instruction Programs: CLIP Note 33. Chicago: College Libraries Section, Association of College & Research Libraries.

In this national survey of small and mid-sized colleges and universities (153 respondents reported student FTEs between 585 and 17,000), Malone and Videon provide an overview of the information literacy instruction provided to first-year students as part of campus-wide writing and first-year experience programs. The authors report that 68% of respondents offered instruction to FYE programs, but identify a number of challenges facing librarians working to integrate ILI into FYE programs, including: (1) diversity of learning objectives within FYE programs; (2) lack of consistency in formal integration of ILI into FYE curriculum; and (3) lack of consistency in faculty commitment to integrating information literacy into FYE assignments. These challenges are consistent with the diversity in FYE programming reported in The 2000 National Survey of First-Year Seminar Programs (2002).

Parks, Joan, and Dana Hendrix. 1996. “Integrating Library Instruction into the Curriculum Through Freshman Symposium.” Reference Services Review 24 (1): 65-71.

Provides an overview of information literacy instruction provided as part of the Freshman Symposium/ First-Year Colloquium program at Southwestern University (TX). Highlights the importance of library administrative support for FYE instruction and involvement of key individuals within the library in the ongoing development of the FYE program. Although the actual IL skills integrated into the FYE program were limited to skills such as use of the library catalog to locate a known item and the use of periodical indexes to locate book reviews, the authors provide a useful description of the ways in which information literacy instruction can become a valuable part of an existing FYE program.

Samson, Sue, and Kim Granath. 2004. “Reading, Writing, and Research: Added Value to University First-Year Experience Programs.” Reference Services Review 32 (2): 149-56.

Discusses a research project from the University of Montana that focused on identifying effective pedagogy for research instruction provided to entry level students. The model of library instruction described is unique because rather than providing direct instruction to students, the librarians teach the professors or teaching assistants the elements of information research which are then fully integrated into the curriculum by classroom teachers. Pre- and post-test assessments demonstrated that this student-centered model was more effective in teaching information and research skills to students in the comfort of a familiar classroom, and also fostered collaboration with faculty.

Schein, Christine, Linda Conway, Rebecca Harner, Sue Byerley, and Shelley Harper. 2011. "Bridging the Gap: Preparing High School Students for College Research." Colorado Libraries 36 (1): 1-4.

The authors from Colorado College Libraries discuss the need to prepare students for college-level research and introduce projects to help students develop and improve their information literacy skills. Ideas include: “train the trainer” sessions where librarians train high school teachers and school librarians (many without library degrees) how to incorporate information literacy into the classroom, outreach for students to visit the academic library, developing an information literacy course at the university/college level, and creating an interest group of librarians and other teachers interested in discussing information literacy.