Library Instruction 

The library instruction program contributes to the mission and curriculum of the College through course-integrated library instruction classes. Librarians, in partnership with classroom faculty, teach students the information literacy skills they need to attain their academic goals and become lifelong learners. Library instruction sessions include: course-integrated or course-related library instruction, classes on specific research tools such as electronic databases, and instruction on effective use of the Internet for research. In addition, subject liaisons create print and online support materials such as subject research guides and screencasting tutorials.

Tiers of Library Instruction

FYS: Orientation to the library

Scholarship as Conversation

The library’s approach to FYS library modules is to engage first year students in the idea of “scholarship as conversation” (ACRL Framework). Students participate in a sustained discourse with a community of scholars, researchers, and professionals, with new insights and discoveries occurring over time.

Session Goals:

  • Explore the library homepage in order to find help for research projects through reference appointments, reference desk hours, FAQs, chat and email
  • Search OneSearch to find books and articles 
  • Explain the difference between a database and Google
  • Use the Databases page on the library website to find discipline-specific resources
  • Browse one or more library database to find articles
  • Develop a list of keywords and add their own ideas for further research
  • Practice citing the ideas of others

Introduction to Academic Research 

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual 

Students are introduced to the concept that “authority is constructed and contextual (ACRL Framework). Authority of information depends on where a source comes from, information need, and how the information will be used. Authority should be viewed with an attitude of informed skepticism and an openness to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought.

Session Goals:

  • Develop search strings using and, or, not in order to find relevant resources using the library’s search tools
  • Browse multiple library databases to find discipline-specific resources
  • Explain the differences between primary and secondary sources
  • Recognize and define scholarly articles and describe the differences between popular magazines and academic journals
  • Create citations using the appropriate format for their discipline
  • Use RefWorks or another reference manager to create a bibliography and describe the value in citing sources to avoid plagiarism

Developing Research Skills 

Information Creation as Process

Information can be encountered in different formats which has an impact on how it is used and shared. This frame refers to looking at the underlying processes of creation and the final product to critically evaluate the usefulness of the information.

Session Goals:

  • Select and use databases specific to their fields of study
  • Browse websites and periodicals to identify professionals adding to the scholarly literature.
  • Create a list of important scholarly publications in their discipline and locate full text of those journals
  • Refine communication and presentation skills 
  • Evaluate resources for accuracy, currency, relevancy and authority
  • Practice data collection and statistical analysis 

Beyond the library 

Research as Inquiry

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers prompt additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.


  • Participate in field work 
  • Learn how to create and locate oral histories 
  • Find sources for visual and literary criticism 
  • Research using archives and special collections