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Faculty Services

Library Instruction

Library instruction sessions are customizable based on the course content or the needs of a specific research assignment. To guide the planning of library instruction, faculty may choose from the pre-set options listed here, or scroll down to build your own custom library session.

Pre-Set Library Sessions - These sessions are designed to be a full class period, 50 or 75 minutes, and will cover a defined set of library concepts or research skills. These sessions can also be customized based on the subject of the course or in relation to a research assignment.

Custom Library Instruction - Create your own custom library instruction session based on the concepts or learning outcomes that you would like the session to cover. For a 50 minute class, we can cover up to 3 concepts. For a 75 minute class, we can cover up to 5 concepts. Choose concepts from the list below, and submit using the Library Instruction Request form.

  • Develop a research question
    • How to use reference sources and background research to develop a viable research question
  • Identify keywords and search terms
    • How to pick effective keywords and search terms for searching library databases
  • Identify source types
    • How to recognize different types of sources, scholarly vs popular, primary vs secondary, etc.
  • Find sources using OneSearch
    • How to use the Library tool, OneSearch, to search the library catalog and databases
  • Find sources using subject databases
    • How to navigate and search in specific databases based on subject or discipline
  • Navigate the Library website
    • How to locate resources on the Library website and access Library resources and services
  • Journal Search and citation tracking
    • How to use the Library tool, Journal Search, to locate and access journal articles by citation
  • Web searching vs. Library databases
    • How to search Library databases and why it's different from searching Google
  • Research strategy
    • How to make a plan for research, including skills such as note taking and iterative searching
  • Synthesizing information
    • How to use information from multiple sources in a research assignment


How do I request a session?

Use the Library Instruction Request Form or contact a reference librarian to request and schedule a session. To help with scheduling, we ask that you submit your instruction request about 2 weeks prior to the date of your session. 

Library instruction is most effective when scheduled during a research assignment. Also, it is helpful if you can provide us with some information about the course, for example a syllabus or an assignment sheet for research assignments, so we can highlight the most relevant resources during the session.

Where will the session be?

Library instruction sessions are usually held in the library’s instruction classroom – Room 39 on the lower level. The classroom has 15 computer workstations and seating for 30 students.

We’ll be happy to come to your classroom if you prefer, given that students have their own laptops. It is important for students to be able to follow along with the demonstrations and get hands-on practice using the library's resources.

Do students get a grade?

For customized library instruction, there is often a hands-on activity of some kind. These activities are designed to give students some practice implementing the concepts they learned in the session, so they are usually graded on participation, and we can share the results with faculty upon request.