Library Instruction


The reference and instruction librarians work collaboratively with faculty to provide instruction in information literacy, one of the four fundamental liberal arts skills adopted by the college and integrated into the core curriculum and academic disciplines. We want to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to find, evaluate and use information critically and ethically, as well provide them with a solid foundation from which they can carry out independent academic research.


Faculty are encouraged to contact their library liaison to discuss instruction and ways in which information literacy skills and concepts can be worked into assignments and syllabi for courses at all levels. Librarians are eager to collaborate on assignment design, options for delivering instruction, and developing opportunities to work with students outside of scheduled class time.

Instruction Possibilities

Please contact your library liaison to schedule library instruction. Instruction sessions can take place in your regularly scheduled classroom, a departmental computer lab, the library's computer-equipped classroom (LI 112) or in one of the 3 other library classrooms. By attending a library instruction session with your students you are signaling its importance to your coursework, so we do ask that faculty accompany their students.

Multiple instruction Sessions
The reference and instruction librarians have found that multiple instruction sessions over the course of a semester are an ideal way to introduce students to different library resources and research skills. Each session may be a short portion of the regularly scheduled class-time or may last for the duration of the class.

One-time Instruction
If students are working on a assignment that requires knowledge of specific library resources or research skills, faculty may choose to only schedule a one library instruction session. The librarian will cover the relevant print or electronic resources needed to complete the assignment and ways in which they can evaluate the information they obtain.

Individual Appointments and SMP Support
Librarians can also meet with students one-on-one for individualized research support and instruction. This is ideal for students who may have hit a roadblock in their research or need some assistance beginning their research. Students working on their SMP may find this particularly helpful as the librarian can offer support on approaching their research question and using specific resources to carry out their research.

Research Guides
Our online research guides are a great way to support highlight resources or information relevant to a subject area or a specific class. Our reference and instruction librarians have created some research guides for departments and classes and can also work with faculty and students to develop new guides. Please see our Research Guides homepage for examples.

The reference and instruction librarians will occasionally offer workshops outside of regularly scheduled class times to teach a group of students. In the past we have offered workshops on using EndNote, as well as general workshops for SMP students in a particular subject area (e.g. all Psychology SMP students meet together with a librarian to go over basic library services and resources that will help them carry out their research). 

More on Information Literacy

If you'd like to learn more about information literacy in higher education, you might want to take a look at the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education . Project Information Literacy, an initiative from the iSchool at the University of Washington, is also a great resource for studies on how college students understand and carry out research in the digital age.