“First years' information literacy backpacks: What's already packed or not packed?”

Joyce Kasman Valenza, Heather Dalal, Gihan Mohamad, Brenda Boyer, Cara Berg, Leslin H. Charles, Rebecca Bushby, Megan Dempsey, Joan Dalrymple, Ewa Dziedzic-Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This survey-based research explores whether first-year college students who have had previous interactions with library instruction, services, and resources at the high school level are better prepared to undertake information literacy challenges and are better equipped to adapt to the rigors of academic research. In this collaborative project, academic librarians across six colleges in New Jersey surveyed first-year students regarding their research preparation and their experiences in high school and in their first year of college. Additionally, the team surveyed a group of vetted, certified high school librarians in New Jersey regarding their resources and instructional practices and followed members of their senior class to college Based on student survey responses relating to their high school experiences, the team was able to identify, study, and compare three groups of first-year students: novice researchers, non-novice researchers, and a subset of non-novices from the high schools with vetted librarians. These were labeled alumni non-novices. The team found that students with prior high school research experiences (non-novices), especially those followed from schools identified as having certified librarians (alumni non-novices), felt more prepared for academic research and performed at a higher level relating to their understanding and use of research tools and strategies. The results point to equity concerns and suggest that students require differentiated attention at the college level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102566
JournalJournal of Academic Librarianship
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • ACRL framework for information literacy for higher education
  • Academic librarians
  • College students
  • Equity
  • First-year experience
  • High school librarians
  • Information literacy


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