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Faculty Information Guide: Library Instruction

Request Library Instruction for your Students

While working with students at the Reference Desk, librarians have the opportunity to observe how they approach the research process and the successes and pitfalls they experience as they attempt to do research in the library.

Students often do not know:

  • how the library is organized
  • what the online catalog is & how to use it
  • what an index is
  • what periodicals are
  • that the library subscribes to research databases or how to use a database

Students often believe that all of the information they need can be found on the Internet.

Librarians work with students one-to-one to teach them research skills, but group instruction:

  • is more efficient
  • ensures that whole classes receive the same information
  • reaches more students, including those who never ask questions at the Reference Desk
  • provides the student the opportunity to practice with library resources in the presence of a librarian and receive immediate feedback

Possible topics that can be covered during library instruction are:

  • the services and resources available in the library
  • how the library is organized and how to find library materials on the shelf
  • the advantages of reference sources
  • how to use the online catalog, research databases, and the Internet efficiently
  • the basic steps of the research process, including how to get started
  • how to choose and narrow a topic
  • how to think critically about information resources to facilitate choosing the most appropriate resources for the topic and recognizing resources of lesser quality
  • how to evaluate sources for authorship, accuracy, relevance, timeliness, etc.
  • what the Internet is and what it includes and does not include

Librarians can assist faculty by:

  • developing library instruction sessions for specific subject areas or classes
  • creating research guides to support a specific subject or class
  • designing library research assignments to teach specific research skills
  • offering individualized hands-on training on electronic resources in the faculty member's office

To schedule library instruction for your class/classes:

Complete the Library Instruction Request Form or contact Mary Beth Connor at x8332 at least one week prior to the instruction date so that she can schedule a librarian to teach your class.  Preparation time is essential in order for the instruction to be tailored to your individual needs.

The assigned librarian will conduct an informational interview with you in order to learn more about your course, assignment, students, and expectations.

With enough advance notice, a research guide (LibGuide) can be developed specifically for your course or assignment.

Consider asking your students to complete one or more of the Library Tutorials in preparation for a specific assignment that will require research skills and knowledge of the resources and services available through the library.