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J. Drake Edens Library: Schedule a library instruction session for your class

J. Drake Edens Library

How To Schedule A Library Instruction Session

Just like you, we want your students to be the best that they can be! Scheduling an Information Literacy session for your class can make the difference between a lackluster paper/project and one that is A+ quality!

How could a library Information Literacy session benefit my students? Is it worth giving up an entire class period?

Absolutely! All too often we assume that any student who enters college must be technology-savvy and can therefore handle herself in the college's library. But oftentimes, that is simply not the case. Many students are indeed 'gadget-savvy,' but this does not necessarily mean they are 'information savvy'; they may be able to acquire a great deal of information, but can often make poor choices in the quality of information they gather. That is where we, the library staff, come in! One 50-minute Information Literacy session at the library can reap enormous short-and long-term benefits for your students.

How do I schedule an Information Literacy session?

Contact Brittany Hickey(786-3570 or or stop by the Reference Desk.

If you've never scheduled a session before, here are just a few things to keep in mind:


  • Contact us at least 2 weeks in advance of the time you'd like to bring your class in. The further in advance you contact us, the better. Most instruction takes place in the Overton Classroom (Rm 120), which can get booked pretty quickly.
  • Provide us with a copy of the assignment with the objective/goal of the assignment clearly stated and a short description of what sources you want/will allow your students to use. (For example, "You [the student] must use at least five scholarly sources, three of which must come from academic journals and two from books. You may also use the Internet for one additional source." OR "You may not use the Internet.") 
  • Provide us with basic information about your class: class size, what year most students are, etc. Even seemingly trivial information, such as "This is a really sharp class; they're really on top of things." Or "This class has been struggling somewhat this semester" can be helpful for us to know. 
  • Attend the session 
    Students take note when their instructor is present at an IL session (and when he/she is not), which sends the message of the importance of the session. Plus, we always like to hear contributions from instructors during our IL sessions! 


  • Last-minute requests 
    Like all CC faculty, we want our lessons to be well prepared, making sure that ACRL guidelines appropriate to the level of instruction for information literacy standards, are followed. 

  • Scheduling the IL session too far ahead of or close to the due date of the assignment
    The longer the period of time between instruction of research skills and the execution of those skills, the more students tend to forget. Students can be very shy to ask for help with that which they've already been taught. So having them use those skills while they're still fresh is best. (But not too fresh!) 

  • Sending students by individually to receive detailed library instruction
    If you have 2 classes of 20 students each and they're all writing a big research paper that will require detailed library instruction...well...that's 40 individual IL sessions for us! (IF, that is, the students do in fact come by the library. If left to their own devices, they may not.) Better to bring each class in for one IL session. 

  • Using a recycled 'canned' "library orientation" assignment, as we find these can be outdated and may not be relevant to the resources at Edens Library. If you do not have an assignment for your students that would specifically bring them into the library, and you'd like your students to do some type of "library orientation" assignment and you don't already have one established, we would be more than happy to work one-on-one with you to custom design such an assignment. 

Information Literacy Instruction Porgram

Information literate students "...recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." (ALA)

Here at Edens Library, we are proud to offer a lively and robust information literacy program, cultivated over many years by a dedicated staff of Research and Instruction librarians who work closely and intensely with our faculty. Information literacy instruction is the primary job of the Research and Instruction Librarians and is accomplished by individual instruction and by class instruction. It is the goal of the library that 90% of graduating seniors will have participated in library instruction.

Library instruction is available to all faculty and staff who request it. The librarians are happy to collaborate with faculty to custom-design information literacy instruction to fit their needs and the needs of their students.

Types of Information Literacy Instruction Offered
Formats of Information Literacy Instruction Offered
Active Learning Component
How To Schedule A Library Instruction Session

Information Literacy Resources of Interest 


Types of Information Literacy Instruction Offered

General Library Orientation 
The Librarians work closely with faculty who are teaching First-Year courses to design and implement library orientation activities designed to introduce them to various library resources and staff members.

This type of instruction focuses on research tasks and techniques in connection with a specific assignment or project.

Example: COMM 100: Persuasive Speech 

This type of instruction focuses on resources within a discipline or supporting a particular course.

Example: ENG 285: Pathfinder
* From the Columbia College Academic Bulletin, ENG 285: Critical Approaches and Methods of Research. "...An introduction to methods of literary criticism and literary research."

This type of instruction can range in scope from a general overview of discipline-specific resources to an exploration of advanced, comprehensive research techniques.

EDUCATION: General Overview: EDU150 
EDUCATION: Advanced Research Techniques: Scholarly Research For Education Graduate Students 

Formats of Information Literacy Instruction Offered

Library Instruction Session 
Single face-to-face (F2F) session

Library Instruction Series 
Two or more F2F sessions during the course of a semester

Research Workshop 
An intensive workshop designed to provide comprehensive, hands-on experience using advanced research techniques. (Usually for Upper-Level/Graduate-Level Students)

Informal Classroom Instruction

1. In the the spring and fall semesters, Research and Instruction Librarians are available to answer questions from students, faculty, and staff 56 hour each week. Hours are reduced for summer interim periods.

2. The library's Course Guides are point-of-use guides which are designed to aid independent research and are divided into disciplines according to the departments on campus. Both print and electronic resources are identified, and links to searchable electronic databases and carefully selected Web pages are provided.

3. The librarians notify departments about new resources in their disciplines and invite faculty and staff to come to the library to learn how to use the resources. 

Active Learning Component

The librarians construct purposeful and relevant exercises, based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, in order to incorporate an active learning component into each Library Instruction session.

Below are examples of such exercises. The librarians can incorporate any one or a number of (or variation of) these into your class. These can be done as a class, in groups or individually during dedicated periods of class-time.

Generating Effective Keywords and Conceptualizing A Research Topic 
By completing one of these worksheets, students are able to more clearly articulate the following:

  • Clear focus of the topic
  • List of synonymous topic terms
  • List of key concepts related to the topic (ie. the "Five W's")

Hands-On Database Searching 
Under the guidance of a librarian, students are given the opportunity to explore both general and discipline-specific databases.

  • Search Techniques
    Various search techniques as appropriate to the level of instruction are introduced.

- Use of Boolean operators
- Other 'Field' searches (Subject, Author, Journal Title, etc.)
- Date-span
- Other search modification tools the database may feature

  • Information Management Tools
    Various database tools and features - such as Save Search, Save Article to Folder, Email, Share, etc. - are introduced.

Scholarly Journals vs. Popular Magazines 
Under the guidance of a librarian, students will analyze one article from of each type of publication and compare and contrast the following features:

  • Title (length, vocabulary used)
  • Abstract (present vs. non-present)
  • Author(s) (number of, information about)
  • Body (length, organization, format/presentation of information
  • References (present vs. non-present, types of sources presented)
  • Overall Appearance (visual appeal, presence vs. non-presence of advertising, type of advertising)

Reference List Analysis 
Under the guidance of a librarian, students will analyze a list of References from a scholarly journal article and perform the following tasks:

  • Identify the format and type of each item
  • Determine if each item is retrievable and if so, identify the most effective and reliable method of retrieval (ie. online database, library catalog, World Wide Web or other)

Website Analysis 
Under the guidance of a librarian, students will critically analyze a website, using the following evaluation criteria:

  • Purpose and Audience: Who is the information designed to reach? Why is it on the Web?
  • Authority: Who is responsible? What are their credentials? Do they provide references? Do they credit other information sources? Is there contact information for the author or producer?
  • Scope: What is the time period covered? Is the coverage general or detailed? Are there relevant and helpful links to other websites?
  • Accuracy: Are the facts reliable given what you already know about the subject? Is the information objective or does it contain bias? How does it compare to other sources (print and non-print)?
  • Currency: Is there a date of creation on the website? How frequently is it updated? Is there obviously out-of-date information? Do the links still work?
  • Design: Is it easy and quick (less than three clicks) to navigate? Is it easy to locate pertinent information? Is it cluttered? Does it have distracting backgrounds or too many graphics that slow it down? Can you search it? Does it require plug-ins or players?
  • Commercialism: Is it trying to sell something? Are there hidden costs? Do you have to provide personal information? Is the site secure?
  • Evaluation by Others: Is it favorably reviewed? 




Information Literacy Resources of Interest

Columbia College is proud to be a member of the Project Information Literacy Volunteer Sample