Librarians work collaboratively with faculty to provide instruction in information literacy and critical thinking, two of the fundamental liberal arts skills adopted by the College and integrated into the core curriculum and academic disciplines. Through in-class instruction sessions and workshops, librarians help students understand the nature of the research process, the complexity of the information landscape, and the technical as well as critical thinking skills necessary to carry out independent academic research.
Faculty are encouraged to contact their departmental or First Year Seminar librarian liaison to discuss and schedule library instruction. Librarians can also provide feedback on research assignments and collaborate with faculty who are interested in incorporating information literacy and critical thinking skills and concepts into assignments and courses at all levels.
Librarians are frequently asked, “What can you teach my students?” Given the iterative nature of research and how it is carried out differently in various academic disciplines, the answer is usually, quite a lot, actually. A few topics librarians have covered in instruction sessions and workshops include:
- Conducting an effective literature review using library research resources.
- Evaluating different types of information sources and determining their appropriateness for a research assignment.
- Guided inquiry to identify research information needs
- Using specialized disciplinary resources (e.g. SciFinder Scholar or PsycTESTS).
- The difference between primary and secondary sources (and how to locate each).
- Locating and using print and electronic library resources.
- Blogging, writing for the web, and copyright.
- Citing sources correctly using APA, MLA, Chicago, or other disciplinary styles.
- Using EndNote or Zotero to manage research references.
There are many alternative topics that may be discussed and taught in a library instruction session or workshop. Discuss the full range of possibilities with your librarian liaison.
The Library has one computer lab classroom with 16 desktops, one auditorium style classroom, one seminar room, and one traditional classroom available for library instruction sessions. Librarians can also teach classes for faculty outside of the library in on-campus classrooms and computer labs.
More About Information Literacy
If you’d like to learn more about information literacy in higher education, read the draft Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, currently in its second revision (a third revision is expected in November 2014).
Project Information Literacy, an initiative from the iSchool at the University of Washington, is also a great resource for studies on how undergraduate students and young adults conduct research in the digital age.
Still have questions about library instruction and information literacy? Contact your librarian liaison.