Library instruction was developed to assist students with the complexities of research. In instruction sessions, librarians offer students guidance in the use of research tools, demonstrate appropriate electronic databases, and discuss research strategies and critical thinking skills. Through course-related instruction, librarians can assist students in completing more thoughtful, interesting and scholarly research projects and papers.
Typically, sessions are held in the library classroom on the second floor of the library although librarians can also visit your classroom, particularly if it is a smart classroom. It is best to schedule classes two weeks in advance so the liaison librararian will have a chance to prepare for the session, create a Web page, etc. For more information about this program or to schedule an instruction session, contact your liaison librarian.
Information Literacy is an important part of the general education at Willamette University. 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 Competency Standards for Higher Education. American Library Association. 2006. One of the ways to help students with information literacy is through library instruction sessions.
What does a typical library instruction session cover?
Generally, librarians show relevant resources that are useful for a particular class, topic, or assignment. Resources vary from class to class, but they often include searching for books (using library catalogs), articles (using databases), and locating the materials (determining if we own materials and how to get them if we don't). We also try to integrate selected topics that compliment a student's overall information literacy education, such as plagiarism and copyright, differences between peer-review and popular literature, evaluating reliability of information, life cycles of information, etc.
The following are examples of areas we can cover in an instruction session:
Basic Skills: navigating the library homepage, getting research help from the library, subject specific databases (introductions), journals (introduction), library tours (introduction to resources & locations), differences in popular and scholarly literature, requesting materials (ILL), how to develop a research topic, searching for books (local and regional library catalogs).
Using the Internet: effective Web searching, evaluating Web resources, new technology (e.g. wikis, blogs and content creation).
Finding Articles: basic database selection and searching, subject specific databases (advanced), finding a cited article, understanding full-text, using Google Scholar, understanding primary and secondary sources.
Other Areas: Refworks, avoiding plagiarism, citing sources, copyright basics, refining topics, statistics and demographics, tests and measurements, etc.