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Agoge: an information literacy game for transfer students

Andrew Kearns (University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)
Breanne A. Kirsch (University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)
Virginia Cononie (University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




This paper aims to describe a successful outreach to transfer students through an interactive information literacy game. While the main purpose of the game is to introduce students to research and university library resources, it also allows for an analysis of incoming students’ information literacy skills.


This case study outlines the evolution of the game from a test-like tutorial administered through the Blackboard course management system to an interactive game in two iterations, describing the game in relation to game design and best practices and discussing how the artwork for the game was created. An analysis of data from student answers to the game questions over time shows what librarians have learned about the information literacy skills of incoming transfer students. Finally, student feedback about the game collected through a survey is presented along with ideas for future modifications.


This paper provides insights into the design and creation process of an interactive information literacy game and a model for how similar games can help librarians assess students’ information literacy skills.

Practical implications

Transfer students are hard to reach as a group at many institutions. An interactive game targeted to transfers during the admissions process is a potentially effective way to reach out to them.


This paper brings together two important issues in the library literature: how to reach out to transfer students and educational library games. Librarians involved with these issues will benefit from the paper’s insights and practical advice.



Kearns, A., Kirsch, B.A. and Cononie, V. (2017), "Agoge: an information literacy game for transfer students", Reference Services Review, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 314-331.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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