Marilyn Plavocos Arnone

Professor Emerita
Marilyn Plavocos Arnone

Dr. Marilyn Arnone is a professor emerita at Syracuse University’s iSchool. With a background in instructional design, development, and evaluation, her research explores motivation and learning in formal and informal face-to-face and cyberlearning environments. She has a keen interest in the influence of intellectual curiosity, perceived competence, autonomy, and social relatedness on student achievement. An emphasis on teaching and learning principles and practice is also found in courses she teaches such as Information Technologies in Educational Organizations, Storytelling for Information Professionals and others. She has authored or co-authored numerous publications including journal articles, books, and chapters. Most recently, these include a co-authored article in the Spring 2017 issue of Children’s Libraries on summer reading programs and rewards, and a forthcoming chapter on design-based research in Research Methods for Librarians and Educators: Practical Applications in Formal and Informal Learning Environments published by Libraries Unlimited in 2018.

Marilyn received her master’s degree in education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and her Ph.D. in instructional design, development, and evaluation from Syracuse University’s School of Education focusing on interactive learning environments.


As curiosity is critical to scholarship, Marilyn is especially interested in the relationship between curiosity (i.e. willingness to explore until uncertainty is resolved) and perceived competence in information and digital literacies. In AASL Standards, curiosity is considered a disposition to be fostered in learners. Research by Arnone & Reynolds published in School Library Media Research provided empirical support for the inclusion of dispositions in action in the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.

She has served as principal investigator on many research and demonstration projects. Through an ALA Carnegie-Whitney Award, she created, a database of paired literary and informational texts with active learning strategies for K-12 librarians. She enjoys building resources that encourage children’s curiosity, creativity, and information literacy. She was co-director of the Center for Digital Literacy (CDL) from 2010 – 2015 and serves as principal investigator for one its signature projects, S.O.S. for Information Literacy. This research and demonstration project was awarded National Leadership Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2002, 2005, and 2008, and is a multimedia database of information literacy lesson plans and supporting materials for K-12 librarians and classroom teachers.

Marilyn was  vice-chair of evaluation for the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) for five years. IDPP prepares disability policy leaders for the ASEAN region. With colleagues at IDPP, she has contributed to a number of publications and conferences on the research and work accomplished by the organization.  With the help of an IMLS SPARKS! Ignition Grant, Drs. Ruth Small and Marilyn Arnone researched and developed three online automated Web evaluation instruments used by school and public librarians as well as web designers. She is currently co-principal investigator with Dr. Ruth Small on an IMLS National Leadership Grant entitled the Young Innovators Project. One of the main goals of the project is to help school librarians become innovation mentors to their students. Marilyn interviewed more than 50 recognized young inventors in grades 4 – 8 for the project resulting in a searchable database of more than 500 video clips exploring aspects of the innovation process with students. Her passion for protecting the environment is reflected in a website she created called to inspire young learners to write stories and poems that reflect inquiry learning about nature and the environment.

She served as the principal investigator on an IMLS funded project entitled Investigating Self-Determination Variables in Summer Reading Program Participants which explored connections between free voluntary reading and information literacy and intrinsic motivation to read. She is lead author on Are self perceptions measures used in school library research transferable to the public library context of summer reading programs? published in School Library Research, Volume 19, Issue 1, 2016.

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Dr. Arnone served for many years on the National Forum on Information Literacy. Professional memberships include the American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, North Carolina Library Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers. She is interested in inquiry and nature and her professional development activities over the past several years culminated in certification as an environmental educator in September of 2015. She is currently incorporating environmental knowledge and skills into booktalks, inquiry-based projects and course development


In 2009 and 2010, Marilyn received Imagining America Foundation grants to develop and implement a course called Digital Content Creation for Communities in which students work with local community organizations with little funding to solve information needs that can be addressed through digital media.  The course reflects the concept of scholarship in action which is a campus-wide initiative. Other 3-credit courses she has taught or is currently teaching include:

  • Literacy through School Libraries
  • Youth Services in Libraries and Information Centers
  • Motivating 21st Century Learning
  • Information Technologies in Educational Organizations
  • Storytelling for Information Professionals
  • Environmental Programming with Libraries
  • Library Services for Students with Disabilities

In 2015, she piloted a 2-credit course called Literacy, Inquiry, and Nature for Libraries. The course focused on strategies and methods, informed by theory and practice, for working with early and middle childhood patrons that integrate literacy and inquiry skills in the context of nature and the environment. The course also addressed global sustainability issues of environment, social ethics, and economics as they pertained to libraries.