Library Instruction Program Overview

Library Instruction Sessions:

  • One time or multiple sessions in the library classrooms taught by a member of the library faculty
  • Classroom professor contacts librarian to design a session(s) to address specific learning outcomes related to an assigned research project; usually the students need orientation to discipline-specific library resources to help them with their research
  • We are happy to meet with your students more than once. We've had success with multiple sessions, especially if students are doing advanced research and/or are struggling.
  • We have additional recommendations if you are teaching an FTS or 100 level course, as well as upper level courses.

Other Methods of Instruction:

  • Preparing a course Web page for a particular assignment
  • Meeting with groups or individual students by appointment to work on their projects
  • Working with students on their projects at the reference desk, especially if you assign them to meet with us
  • Consulting in advance about resources for an assignment you're considering
  • Offering advice on designing effective research assigments

For any additional information, please feel free to contact your department liaison.

To see if one our labs is available, view the library's instruction calendar.


When's the best time to bring students in for a session? Right when they pick topics or later?

  • Sessions work best when students have topics they are researching. Students are much more invested in the session when they see the direct benefit for them and have a topic they can use during class. However, this depends on the students & the project; please consult with a librarian for tips on timing your session.

Where do the session(s) happen?

  • Instruction sessions usually take place in the library's e-classroom (seats 20, although we can accommodate a few more, if necessary) or the smaller lab (seats 10). We have also done sessions off-site from time to time.

How far in advance should I schedule the session?

  • Generally, we'd prefer at least a week to prepare for the session(s), although we've worked with shorter notice. Try to schedule the session(s) as far in advance as possible to avoid conflict with librarian & library classroom schedules.

There are six librarians. Who should I contact for a session(s)?

  • You are welcome to contact the librarian of your choice to lead the session. (We share instruction responsibilities.) You are not required to only work with your library liaison. However, starting with your library liaison can be beneficial. Your library liaison will have a strong sense of research materials in your area, as well as insight into the common issues students in your department face.

If I ask you for a session(s), aren't I just adding to your workload?

  • Not at all! Instruction sessions are part of our teaching load as faculty members.

Should I plan on being at the session(s)?

  • Sessions work well when students see your commitment. When you are present and attentive, they pick up on the cues that this session is important. For the most part, librarians welcome occasional interjections from you about specific research tools and tips.

What kinds of things have other faculty members done to help students develop research skills?