The goals of our information literacy program are to enable students to think critically about the research process and to teach them to hone their ability to find, retrieve, evaluate, and use information at a university level. The instruction librarians offer instruction sessions that will provide your students with information literacy skills which will help them with their research projects, term papers, class assignments, etc.
We find that most of our students are adept at “surfing” the Web and, therefore, tend to believe that they are equally adept at finding scholarly research using subscription Web-based databases. They aren’t quite as skilled at this task, however, as we would like them to be. Using print-based resources presents an even larger challenge to them. It is, therefore, important that they learn how to find information using sources beyond commercial search engines (i.e. Google); that they learn how to manage this information, how to critically evaluate it, and how to use it effectively. Our instruction sessions are designed to teach your students these essential skills.
We encourage you to schedule instruction sessions with us. We can schedule them for almost any time of the day or evening. It is also important that, before you call us, you read the below hints and guidelines.
To make arrangements for a class presentation on library resources, Call/e-mail Jane la Plante--(858-3857), Patty Hunt--(858-3095), or Ben Bruton--(858-3013) to schedule a session.
How to Achieve a Successful Library Instruction Session
[a hint or two]
- Please give the instruction librarian
at least two weeks to prepare your instruction session. Librarians
take these instruction sessions seriously. Giving them time to
prepare a good session for your students is important to its success.
- Professors are required to attend their sessions. The professor's
presence adds importance to what the librarian is covering, it
adds an element of discipline to the class, and input from the
professor during the session is welcomed by librarians and students
alike. If it is impossible to be present during the instruction
session, please call us and we will reschedule it. If the professor
is not present for an instruction session, the session will be
A Few Helpful Guidlines for Creating Effective Library Assignments:
(gratefully borrowed from sCIL---southern California Instruction Librarians, an interest group of the California Academic & Research Libraries.)
Consult with an instruction librarian
before the assignment. Librarians will work with you to design
an appropriate assignment that will achieve your course goals/objectives.
Sending a copy to the instruction librarian will insure that the
staff is ready to help your students when needed.
Assume minimal library knowledge. Although many students will
be familiar with using some library tools (e.g., dictionaries,
the keyword portion of the catalog), few really
understand the intricacies of subject headings or periodical indexes/abstracts;
most have never used research journals, but only Time, Newsweek,
and the like.
Explain the assignment clearly, preferably in writing. Give
students a clear idea of what the assignment involves, suggesting
types of sources to be used. Give complete citations for specific
Always be sure the library holds the needed information. There
are few experiences more frustrating for students than looking for what does
not exist, has been discarded, or has been checked out. Use the
library's Reserve Service through the Circulation Department for the materials that
multiple students will need to use. Send an advance copy of the assignment
and its due date to the instruction librarian.
Understand that many of the library's databases are "on the
web" and therefore, "on the internet." Proscribing
the use of sources "on the Web" and "on the Internet"
is confusing to students. All of the library's frequently-used
databases (full text article databases, the
catalog, etc.) are only accessible via the Internet. Keep in mind
that students often understand instructions quite literally.
Avoid the mob scene. Dozens of students using just one book,
article, or looking for the same information usually leads to
misplacement, loss or mutilation of materials. Give students a
variety of topics and sources. Use the Reserve Service as needed.
Teach research strategy when appropriate. Include a list of
steps involved in the research assigned. Invite a librarian to
review strategies for the assignment with the class, and discuss
appropriate tools or types of material.
- Avoid assignments that promote vandalism or theft of library materials. Requiring or requesting that students collect or turn in original materials (color illustrations, printed advertisements, magazine articles, etc.) usually leads to at least some students taking the "easy way out". Instead, make it clear that ONLY photocopies, printouts, or forwarded digitized images will be accepted for such assignments.
With sufficient lead-time, librarians can provide library instruction lectures, workshops, and written materials geared specifically to your course and assignment, as well as general orientations for more inexperienced students. PLEASE ASK!