Library Instruction 

The library instruction program contributes to the mission and curriculum of the College through course-integrated library instruction classes. In partnership with faculty, librarians teach students the information literacy skills needed to attain their academic goals and become lifelong learners. We teach students how to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information successfully. Library instruction nurtures curiosity and exploration of resources while building research skills and awareness of the intellectual and social issues surrounding information. In addition to teaching, library liaisons create support materials such as subject research guides and screencasting tutorials.

Library Instruction Program

FYS: Orientation to the library

Each First Year Seminar (FYS) is assigned a support librarian. 

Learning goals of this program include:

  • Support student growth as writers and researchers in a new academic environment
  • Promote equity among learners by teaching step-by-step research 
  • Support FYS teaching faculty in achieving the FYS learning goals laid out in Information For Faculty (IFF).
    • Read, interpret, analyze and evaluate primary and secondary source materials 
    • Engage in subject-appropriate research 
    • Present ideas in a clear and convincing manner in oral and written formats (and non-verbal formats, when appropriate) 
    • Improve their writing through assignments that require revising and editing 
    • Demonstrate resourcefulness by identifying and appropriately using college resources to inform course projects

The librarian teaches one mandatory library instruction session, preferably during regularly scheduled class time, or the CE period. The librarian also offers research assistance to students throughout the semester.

Each FYS library class is tailored to the themes and learning outcomes of the individual FYS. The librarian and faculty member work together in order to create a meaningful learning experience for students.

Topics include:

  • Navigating the library homepage 
  • Citation information and tools
  • Keyword formulation
  • Primary vs. secondary research, which may include Special Collections and Archives
  • Finding peer-reviewed articles and scholarly research
  • Understanding Shain Library as a physical space (finding books, tour of building)
  • Specialized tools and databases 

Lower Level: Introduction to Academic Research 

Usually connected with a specific research assignment, these sessions provide an introduction to core disciplinary resources and specific strategies for searching subject databases. These sessions are tailored to specific course content and typically consist of a combination of lecture, group brainstorming, practice questions, and worksheets. Instruction sessions may be held either in your usual classroom or in a classroom in the library. We prefer to have a faculty member present at these sessions.

Session Goals:

  • Develop search strings using Boolean operators
  • Browse multiple library databases to find discipline-specific resources
  • Recognize 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 
  • Evaluate resources for accuracy, currency and relevancy

Upper Level: Thesis Research Support 

For students beginning SIPs or honors projects, we suggest a combination of a class visit followed by individual appointments with the librarian. Students can book an appointment with a librarian and are allowed year-long borrowing privileges for materials. The libraries also maintain a digital repository of student thesis work.


  • Field trips to research libraries at neighboring institutions
  • International research assistance
  • Digital scholarship and open publishing 
  • Archives and special collections research