Library Instruction

Why is library instruction important?

The goal of library instruction is to provide the student with skills to find relevant and timely information from resources for use in research assignments. The model for instruction is based on the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. At the end of library instruction your students will be able to recognize information needs and be able to evaluate the appropriate sources for the assignment. These skills are beneficial to students if they continue to a four- year college or enter the workforce with an associate's degree.

Starting in the Fall of 2012 instructors can choose between a one time classroom session or an "embedded librarian" in the class for the semester.

Library Instruction Classes

What are Library Instruction Classes like?

Library instruction takes the form of a 50-minute class held in the library instruction classroom. The class is a virtual tour of the library’s resources and how to use them for the assignment students will be working on. Students are shown examples of searches for books and the electronic article databases and how to access the articles. Handouts are provided that reinforce the points brought up in the class and to help organize students' research. In addition students learn how to execute effective internet searches that return useful and authoratative results. Library instruction is tailored to the specific class and level from introduction to advanced. Call the library and ask about having a librarian visit your class for a demonstration of subject databases that focuses on the special features these databases have.

Who teaches library instruction classes?

Each class is taught by a librarian who has advanced academic training in both research and instruction. Librarians combine their training with daily experience in teaching the use of the library’s resources in one-on-one reference sessions.

Embedded Librarian Program

What is an Embedded Librarian?

The Embedded Librarian Program provides faculty assigning research assignments with the opportunity to provide their students with a more in-depth research experience.  Participating teaching faculty are expected to meet with the librarian before the semester begins to discuss assignments, learning objectives, and define expectations for the librarian’s participation in the course (and grant Librarian access in Angel, if applicable).  Librarians are available to participate in both classroom and distance learning settings as well as in long and short-term positions. 


Distance Learning – Full Semester

Distance Learning – Limited Participation

Classroom  – Full Semester

Classroom  -  Limited Participation

Embedded Librarian FAQ

What do you mean by embedded librarian? What does an embedded librarian do?

An embedded librarian will work with your class throughout the semester either through multiple, face to face meetings or virtually through the Angel course management system in a distance learning course to assist your students with their research assignments.

An embedded librarian can help the faculty member:

An embedded librarian can help students:

An embedded librarian can also:

How can working with an embedded librarian benefit the instructor and the class?

Having an embedded librarian work with you and your class will result in students choosing better resources for their research assignments, ultimately producing better quality assignments, research papers, and/or class presentations.

Students will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively locate, access, evaluate, and use information in relation to their classroom assignments with a professional librarian as their guide.  The embedded librarian will guide students to credible sources and answer research questions.

With the assistance of an embedded librarian, the instructor will have more time to focus on course content and will spend less time addressing the frustrating issue of grading papers written with unreliable secondary sources found via the free web. Additionally, the embedded librarian can focus on the importance of evaluating information, no matter where it is found, by including lessons that require critical thinking skills. 

What does the library need from the instructor to participate in the embedded librarianship program?

An instructor interested in collaborating with an embedded librarian must first fill out an application (fillable pdf).  Once an instructor application is approved, he or she must be willing to work with the librarian prior to the semester start date to discuss the course’s assignments and learning objectives and to collaborate to include information literacy lessons into the course. This is a great time to work together to improve students’ learning experiences and establish the embedded librarian and professor’s roles in the course.

How can an embedded librarian assist in a distance learning course?

A librarian embedded in a distance learning course provides enrolled students guidance in using the library webpage and online databases.  Without a librarian, students enrolled in distance learning courses often have to find their own way to the library’s resources and often may not choose the best sources of information for their assignments because they are more apt to use Google and other free sources. 

The librarian embedded in a distance learning course will guide students to subscription databases which they have access to as an enrolled student.  The librarian can provide students with an overview of the library’s online resources, suggest possible search terms for topics, demonstrate how to search databases effectively, suggest methods for evaluating websites and other information, and be an overall guide for the research process.

Librarians will be granted access to your Angel course and can set up a discussion forum called Ask the Librarian. This forum gives students a convenient place to pose their research questions and benefit from the answers provided to their classmates.

The embedded librarian will be responsible for responding to the students’ queries within the Angel discussion board or via email, phone, or our instant messaging service. The librarian may also provide lists of suggested resources, tutorials, and strategies for researching specific assignments, and these items may be provided via LibGuides, our web 2.0 content management and publishing system that allows us to create subject research guides.

How can an embedded librarian assist with a face to face class?

A librarian working with a face to face class will plan information literacy lessons or mini-lessons that can be incorporated into the course curriculum. Rather than the one-shot library orientation, the librarian will teach shorter lessons over time that will assist students at appropriate times in the research process. The librarian can work with the professor to include mini-assignments that require the use of the library resources over an entire semester rather than only requiring that students use the library one time for a single, large research project or paper.  Information literacy research has shown that the most effective way to teach information literacy skills is by infusing these lessons into students’ course requirements.

Would an embedded librarian work in my course?

The Embedded Librarianship Program is highly recommended for any course that requires students to use library resources and/or complete a research paper or project. If you are not sure if this program is for you, please contact the librarian you would to collaborate with or Library Director Susan Parry for additional information. 

What exactly does “information literacy” mean?

From the link:* American Library Association.

Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

Information literacy also is increasingly important in the contemporary environment of rapid technological change and proliferating information resources. Because of the escalating complexity of this environment, individuals are faced with diverse, abundant information choices--in their academic studies, in the workplace, and in their personal lives.

Information is available through libraries, community resources, special interest organizations, media, and the Internet--and increasingly, information comes to individuals in unfiltered formats, raising questions about its authenticity, validity, and reliability. In addition, information is available through multiple media, including graphical, aural, and textual, and these pose new challenges for individuals in evaluating and understanding it.

The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively.

Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning. An information literate individual is able to:

What are some examples of assignments that can be added to my course to teach information literacy?

Some examples of assignments may include:

How many classes can the embedded librarian program support each semester?

The library is only able to support a limited number of embedded courses each semester; each librarian can support up to two classes, contingent upon staffing, workload, and other job responsibilities.

What if the library cannot accommodate my full-semester class?

If the library is unable to accommodate your request to have an embedded librarian, we are able to offer several alternative options, including a workshop focusing on creating effective research assignments and embedded support over a one to three week period instead of a full semester. 

Please contact the library if you would like to participate in a workshop, meet with a librarian to discuss a research assignment, or need a LibGuide created to assist your students with their research.  Faculty members are invited and encouraged to reapply in subsequent semesters.