Intentional librarian-student interactions during COVID-19

A clear bridge to developing first-year student information literacy skills


  • Heather Dalal Rider University
  • Leslin Charles Rutgers, the State University of New York
  • Megan Dempsey Raritan Valley Community College
  • Cara Berg William Paterson University
  • Rebecca Bushby University of New England
  • Joan Dalrymple Bergen Community College



college students, COVID-19, distance learning, information literacy, library anxiety, librarian-student interactions


As part of a research study to examine first-year college students’ preparation for college-level research, students at six U.S. institutions of higher education were surveyed in the spring semester of 2021. The pandemic continued to affect the delivery of information literacy (IL) instruction and library services across the United States throughout the 2020–2021 academic year. When students completed this survey in April and May of 2021, the majority of instructional services were offered in synchronous and asynchronous remote formats. The students' engagement with librarians and librarian-created instructional resources were captured via the survey and analysed to determine whether students were able to leverage these interactions and materials despite the remote contexts. Students who did not interact with an academic librarian were less likely to use library resources, had more problems accessing information, and felt more overwhelmed by the quantity of resources and services offered by the library. Results show that intentional student-librarian interactions are a bridge to the acquisition and development of knowledge practices and dispositions of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The findings suggest considerations for moving forward when it comes to communicating with students and delivering IL support in academic libraries around the world as countries emerge from pandemic conditions.






COVID-19 special issue