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Y-Search is a new web program designed to benefit first year writing students.

Leanna Fry Balci, instructional design librarian and current Instructional Psychology and Technology PhD student in the McKay School, has changed the way first-year students will learn and write in their writing classes by helping develop a new program called Y-Search.

The American Library Association selected the Harold B. Lee Library as the recipient of the 2017 Innovation in Instruction Award. The HBLL was chosen specifically in recognition of the Y-Search program. Y-Search was also selected as the May 2017 Site of the Month by the Association of College and Research Libraries. 

Each semester, roughly 130 first-year writing classes are taught. This program allows for blended teaching to take place between students and librarians as students work on their papers.


Balci described Y-Search as “a website with different teaching modules and interactive elements.” There are currently five modules available on Y-Search: background research, topic development, search strategies, source evaluation, and critical reading. Each module is accompanied by two brief videos that are targeted toward helping the students develop necessary writing skills.

Balci began this collaborative project with Elise Silva, the freshman programs librarian at Brigham Young University. The Y-Search program was created by Balci and Silva, along with the assistance of student employees. 

The program took four months to develop with work taking place during the spring and summer terms in 2016. Balci spoke highly of the student employees, stating that they “were invaluable.” The students helped bring the idea to life by working on the technical side with their individual skill sets. 

Y-Search will continue to expand. Balci and her team have been working on an additional module that will be added this coming fall. She hopes to see the program become a stand-alone product. This program can benefit students who are not in first-year writing courses at BYU, as well as students at other universities around the country. 

Leanna Fry Balci has worked as the instructional design librarian/assistant librarian at Brigham Young University since 2011. Prior to this she worked as a librarian at the Provo City Library and spent two years on a teaching fellowship in Turkey, where she taught in the English literature department. Balci earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English at Brigham Young University, completed a second master’s degree in information studies at Florida State University, and is now working on her PhD in the IP&T program with an emphasis in second-language acquisition and specialization at Brigham Young University. 

Writer: Camilla Rowe
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922