LibraryServicesInstructionInstruction Literacy Program

Instruction Literacy Program

In the spring of 1998, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences worked with English professors and librarians to integrate an information literacy program into the core curriculum. First Year English courses were selected among all other courses for this purpose, because nearly every student at Fairfield University must take EN 11 and EN 12, the core First Year English courses. In exchange for smaller class sizes, the English faculty committed to dedicating two class sessions, one from EN 11 in the fall semester and another from EN 12 in the spring semester, to instruction at the library. These face-to-face class sessions, taught by librarians in conjunction with two online tutorials, serve as a foundation for research and critical thinking in upper-division courses, as well as for lifelong learning.

  • In the first session, held during the fall semester, students develop familiarity with a range of basic library resources and services of immediate and future relevance. Activities include:
    • small problem-based learning group exercises evaluating types of sources,
    • using library search tools to locate resources,
    • class discussion of search techniques and results,
    • an introduction to citing sources,
    • and plenty of hands-on practice and Q&A.

    For Fall 2014, the web-based tutorial, The Plagiarism Court, is assigned to students in the First Year Experience Program. Students can access the tutorial through Blackboard.
  • In the second session, held during the spring semester, students work through the Research Tracker, which entails:
    • planning the research process
    • articulating their topic,
    • selecting appropriate print and electronic background materials,
    • brainstorming keywords and synonyms,
    • distinguishing scholarly journals from popular magazines,
    • choosing subject specialized databases to find literary criticism related to an assigned course text,
    • and formulating database search queries using both simple and sophisticated search techniques.

    The web-based tutorial, Critically Evaluating Information, is assigned to students at the end of class.

For information regarding the information literacy program, please contact Dominic LaFlamme (, 203-254-4000 ext. 2138).