How Librarians Can Support Your Course

Information Literacy at Musselman Library


How Librarians Can Support Your Course

The library supports students learning in a variety of ways. The following examples illustrate the range of support that librarians are providing for courses and assignments. Consult with an instruction librarian to discuss the best approach, and any other ideas you have for your course.

  • Develop customized, course-integrated instructional sessions. In collaboration with faculty, librarians create an information literacy session for your course. These sessions are usually held in the library instruction room (room 014).
    Example: Librarians met with lab sections of CHEM 204, Organic Chemistry. Professor Don Jameson and the librarians created a research exercise designed to help students write a lab report in the style of a scientific paper. Students were introduced to the scope and structure of scientific information, as well as to a specific research tool in chemistry: SciFinder Scholar.

  • Discuss ethical and social topics related to information. Librarians meet with classes to discuss topics such as copyright, freedom of information, and evaluating information sources.
    Example: Research & Instruction librarians have served as guest discussants, engaging students in conversations on such topics as copyright law, scholarly communication, the PATRIOT Act, and reliability of information. This provided students with an opportunity to explore complex issues related to information.

  • Hold research appointments. Faculty may encourage students to sign up for an individual research consultation with a librarian to develop research strategies for a particular research paper or project.
    Example: Librarians met individually with students in Professor Bill Bowman's HIST 418. Librarians helped students identify and utilize primary and secondary sources for their research on Nazism and life inside the Third Reich.

  • Assist in the development of research projects. Librarians and faculty work together to develop or modify research papers and projects that will encourage the development of information literacy skills.

    Example: A librarian worked with Professor Monica Ogra to modify assignments in GS 440, the Globalization Studies Capstone. The new assignments are designed to offer students repeated opportunities to practice and refine critical information literacy skills.

  • Consult with faculty or departments in the integration of information literacy into a course or a major/minor. Librarians assist faculty in planning to integrate information literacy skills and knowledge into a course. The faculty member is responsible for conveying the information. The librarian does not meet with the class, but serves as a consultant for the professor and individual students as needed.  Librarians can also work with departments to identify appropriate information literacy skills within their discipline and incorporate the teaching of those skills into courses taken by majors/minors.

Instruction Guidelines

  • Schedule sessions at least 2 weeks in advance. We design each session to suit the unique needs of your course. Schedule as early as possible to reserve the time slot that best fits your students' needs, even if the class won't be coming to the library until later in the semester.
  • Plan to attend the entire session with your students. Interaction between faculty members, librarians, and students enriches the learning process and emphasizes the importance of the library and information literacy to the students. In addition, students are often more attentive and engaged when the faculty member is present.
  • Connect the library session to your students' coursework. Library instruction is most effective when it is tied to a real academic need. Try to schedule the library session at a time when your students can apply skills and concepts to their course assignments.
  • Consider different approaches to information literacy instruction. There are a variety of ways to integrate information literacy into your course. Consult with a librarian about what options would work best for your class.

Bringing Your Class to the Library On Your Own

  • Notify any of the Research & Instruction Librarians at least a few days before the library visit.
  • If room 014 is unavailable, we may be able to reserve some of the computers in the reference area for your class. During busy times, we ask that at least 1/2 of the computers in the reference area be available for library users. If it's a large group (20+), consider bringing students in two groups.
  • Use of classrooms, portable labs, and other electronic resources is guided by Information Technology policies.

For more instruction information, contact:

Clint Baugess

For Special Collections/Archives instruction, contact:

Carolyn Sautter

Ask Us