For immediate release | April 23, 2019

Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College chosen for LIRT 2019 Innovation in Instruction Award

CHICAGO — The Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) of the American Library Association is pleased to announce that the 2019 Innovation in Instruction Award will be presented to the Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College at the ALA 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The award will be given at the LIRT Awards Ceremony and Reception from 5 - 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 23, in the Howard University Room at the Marriott Marquis.

Created to recognize a library that demonstrates innovation in support of information literacy and instruction, this year’s award recognizes the assessment-driven overhaul of Dickinson College’s instruction program.

The Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College revamped three areas of their instruction program: First-Year Seminar, Global Education and Diversity Awareness, and English 300. While the First-Year Seminar and the Global Education programs were impressive accomplishments in their own right, the Awards Committee was especially impressed by the English 300 program. English 300 is a required, non-credit-bearing research lab for English majors. What set English 300 apart was its innovative solution to the problem of repetition and consistent library instruction. As they describe it, “each semester, the lab brings together all students who are taking their first research-based English course, as identified by the Registrar, allowing them to work independently on vastly different projects while learning skills common to the literary studies discipline.” This novel approach allows students transitioning to upper-division English courses to receive discipline-specific, course-relevant instruction at point of need. Dickinson College Library’s approach is readily adaptable to any instruction program able to offer credit-bearing classes and that serves a sufficiently large student population to warrant such a program. This instructional innovation exemplifies the use of appropriate technology, novel delivery methods, and low cost reproducibility, which are all aspects of library instruction that LIRT promotes and values.

When notified of the award, Christine Bombaro, associate director for Information Literacy and Research Services at the Dickinson College Library, stated, “This award represents decades of hard work, dedication, and persistence on the part of all our staff members who have participated in our information literacy programs. In addition, we could not have achieved success in IL without the help of our enthusiastic faculty partners from all across campus. The external validation of our work tells us that we are not simply following best practices but creating them.”

The Library Instruction Round Table was started in 1977 with the intent to bring together librarians who provide library instruction across all types of libraries -- academic, public, school, and special libraries. 2019 marks the sixth year that the Innovation in Instruction Award has been awarded. The Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College will be presented with a $1,000 cash prize and a plaque at the LIRT Awards Ceremony and Reception scheduled for 5 - 6:30 PM on Sunday, June 23, at ALA Annual in Washington, D.C. The Waidner-Spahr Library will also receive a $500 travel stipend for its librarians attending ALA Annual.

Find out more about LIRT, its mission, and the awards at:

The LIRT Innovation in Instruction Awards Subcommittee included Joshua Vossler of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Chair and LIRT Awards Committee Chair-Elect), Kelly Ansley of East Georgia State College, Yi Han of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Emilia Marcyk of Michigan State University, and Elizabeth Webster of Michigan State University. The ALA Office for Member Relations (AOMR) serves as the staff liaison to the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT).


Danielle M. Ponton

Program Manager for Round Tables