Library instruction for high‐risk freshmen

Dona McDermott (CW Post Library, Long Island University, Brookville, New York, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Library instruction is an important component in developmental programs for high‐risk college freshmen. There is little in the literature to describe information literacy programs for these students. Aims to redress this omission.


This article describes a library instruction component that was included in an English department enrichment skills program for university freshmen with low verbal SAT scores. 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 to ascertain their previous experience with using the library. The results of this indicated that library instruction was needed. An assessment quiz given to students at the end of the session evaluated what they had learned.


Two or three library sessions are required to cover the basic skills of library use. In addition, librarians and English professors need to collaborate closely on assignments for the library sessions so that students will have a practical need to focus on the material presented.


This article adds to the body of literature on information literacy programs for high‐risk students, an often overlooked group.



McDermott, D. (2005), "Library instruction for high‐risk freshmen", Reference Services Review, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 418-437.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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