Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011


Service-learning is a high-impact educational practice that engages students (Kuh, 2008) and is a growing trend in higher education (Campus Compact, 2011). In 2008, my coinstructor and fellow library staff member, Cheryl Lauricella, and I incorporated service-learning in our for-credit information literacy (IL) course because we recognized that connecting information literacy to the real world through service-learning would lead to increased skill retention and engagement with the curriculum (Barry, 2011). Before this realization, when I taught my first few for-credit information literacy courses as a new professional, I asked my students to research a hobby or something related to their major. I thought that choosing a topic of interest to them would be the best way for them to engage with the course. While it was helpful, inevitably a good portion of students conducted research about such weighty topics as Ohio State University’s football team. No offense to the Buckeyes, but I began to realize there must be some way to make better use of the students’ research. After talking to a faculty member on campus who teaches several service-learning courses, it occurred to me that I could incorporate service-learning in the information literacy course. Based on the success of that IL course, I took the initiative to incorporate service-learning into other parts of my job at Wright State University (WSU) as coordinator of library instruction for first-year seminars and composition courses.

Drawing from my experiences at WSU as a service-learning instructor and librarian-partner for two service-learning projects, in this article I discuss two case studies that describe the librarian’s role in service-learning courses.