February 16, 2018


Recognizing the Importance of FYE in Academic Libraries

by Raymond Pun

Credo_image_Students_800pxAs the focus on student success in the first year grows, librarians are being asked to play a critical role in promoting services that will help improve academic performance and strengthen connections between students and their institution. Building information literacy skills, cultivating student engagement, and providing embedded librarianship are all ways librarians can affect newly-arrived students.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) identifies providing “first year seminars and experiences” as one of its ten High Impact Practices. A growing number of schools offer special programs for first year students–especially first-generation college students–to improve their transition and retention. These efforts often integrate multidisciplinary skills and fields including intensive writing courses, information literacy, and learning communities in the first year seminar. Information literacy is viewed as increasingly vital to first year students beginning their academic journey, particularly as a means to counter fake news and information overload.

Assessment is another important component when measuring the value of academic library services in support of student retention, transition, and persistence. Qualitative methods, such as focus groups, ethnographic studies, and annotated mapping can shed light on the FYE and guide libraries to enhance and adapt services to meet student needs. Quantitatively, libraries can improve the FYE by analyzing the correlation of first year students and library usages through statistical measurements.

A recent report by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) titled “The Impact of Library Resources on First Year Students’ Learning Outcomes” by Krista M. Soria et al from the University of Minnesota found that “first year students who used a library resource at least once were significantly more likely than their peers who did not use the library to report development of critical thinking and analytical skills, written communication skills and reading comprehension skills.” This case study outlines a useful research framework for those interested in conducting a similar study on their first year students.

Recognizing the inspiring work being done to meet this need, Credo Reference, in partnership with the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University, will honor outstanding libraries and librarians with the new First Year Experience Innovation Awards. Every year, one library and one librarian will receive a prize of $1,500 and an award plaque honoring their outstanding achievement. The first awards will be presented at the 2018 Personal Librarian & FYE Library Conference in Cleveland, OH. Subsequent awards will be presented at ACRL, and the Personal Librarian & FYE conference, which occur in alternating years.

Nominations will be accepted until October 1, 2017. Individuals can self-nominate or choose another person or library for the awards. Winners will be selected by a committee of five judges representing vast experience in the library industry and FYE space.

Sponsored By



The Latest Trends in Library Design
Hosted in partnership with Salt Lake County Library and The City Library—at SLCo’s Viridian Center—the newest installment of our library building and design event will let you dig deep with architects, librarians, and vendors to explore building, renovating, and retrofitting spaces to better engage your community.
Facts Matter: Information Literacy for the Real World
Libraries and news organizations are joining forces in a variety of ways to promote news literacy, create innovative community programming, and help patrons/students identify misinformation. This online course will teach you how to partner with local news organizations to promote news literacy through a range of programs—including a citizen journalism hub at your library.
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