ACRL Liaison to the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition

Editor’s Note: The is the fourth in an occasional series of posts highlighting ACRL’s liaison relationships with higher education groups. This post by Debbie Malone discusses her work with the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition.

ACRL sponsors in-depth liaison activities with targeted professional associations. According to the ACRL website, “Liaisons help target organizations understand the value-added assets libraries and librarians can bring to their respective missions and goals. Further, liaisons bring information and higher education issues of the target associations to the attention of the ACRL Board and membership; develop strategies on issues of significant importance to the profession and implement them among the named liaison organizations.”

As part of this program, I began my second year as the ACRL liaison to the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition by attending the group’s conference held February 5-8, 2011, in Atlanta. I was asked to present a “Focused Dialogue” again this year, and I worked with Colleen Boff (Bowling Green State University) on “Problem based learning.” We had about 20 people in attendance with a nice sampling of librarians, faculty members, and student services personnel.

Colleen and I are also working in collaboration with ACRL and the National Resource Center on a national survey of information literacy practices for first year students for the Center’s new research series, of which our study will be a part. Here is a quote from their press release:

“The National Resource Center is pleased to introduce a new series, Research Reports on College Transitions. The series will showcase original research conducted by the staff of the National Resource Center as an independent research center and in conjunction with other scholars and entities within higher education.”

For a few months prior to the February conference we worked with Ryan Padgett, Assistant Director of Research, Grants and Assessment, from the National Resource Center and ACRL Content Strategist Kathryn Deiss on refining our survey questions. At the conference we ran a 75-minute focus group to test the draft questions. We had eight librarians in the group, and they provided extremely thoughtful suggestions. Jennifer Keup, the center’s Executive Director, attended the focus group and mentioned that this project represented an important collaboration.

In September 2011 we sent invitations to participate in our survey to all members of the ACRL Instruction Section. We are hoping for a wide response, and I encourage any Instruction Section members who have not yet completed our survey to take about 15 minutes to participate. A reminder email message will be sent in the last week of September.

At the February 2012 National Resource Center Conference, I will work with Ryan on a presentation of our preliminary results. In the spring and summer, Colleen and I will complete our literature review, interview librarians who indicated they were willing to talk further about their innovative programs, and complete our survey analysis in time for a fall 2012 publication date.

The ACRL Liaisons program is an important way to engage with various disciplines and to promote the value of academic libraries. More information about the ACRL Liaisons program, visit and

If you would like information about my work as a liaison or the information literacy programs for first year students survey, please feel free to email me at

Debbie Malone is the Library Director at DeSales University, Center Valley PA.