Students need sound information skills to be successful during their college career and throughout their lives. The instruction librarians at King's College welcome the opportunity to collaborate with faculty to help students effectively complete class assignments and develop research skills. Instruction classes are available to faculty as a means of achieving this important goal. A few simple guidelines are offered to facilitate the scheduling process and to create the most positive and effective instruction sessions that are best suited to meet the needs of the student community.

Suggestions for Faculty

Contact a at ext. 5641 at least two weeks or more prior to the desired date to schedule a library session. Sufficient time is required for the librarians to tailor a class designed to meet your students' needs. Sessions are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserving your time well in advance ensures that you will obtain your preferred date or time.

  • Faculty attendance and participation in each instruction session is highly recommended. Your presence helps to focus the students' attention and demonstrates the value you place on information literacy instruction.
  • Instruction sessions can be designed to meet the requirements of your course and the information needs of your students. Students are more focused if they have a personal stake in the instruction sessions if they are geared toward specific assignments, topics or projects. Consult with the librarians who will be conducting your session to discuss course objectives, particular assignments and the information resources that would be most beneficial to the students.
  • Please provide the librarians with a copy of your syllabus and student assignment beforehand to enable them to properly prepare.

Effective Use of Instruction Time

The instruction librarians endeavor to make full use of an instruction session, especially when the session is limited to 50 minutes. Faculty are asked to follow these suggestions:

  • Ensure that your students know the date, time, and location of the instruction session.
  • Encourage students to arrive a few minutes early to make certain that the session begins on time.
  • Class announcements and the distribution of assignments or other materials should be done at the end of the instruction session so that students may concentrate solely on the presentation.

Characteristics of Library Instruction Sessions

  1. Instruction sessions can be provided for most classes and are taught in the library's computer lab by one or more reference librarians. Faculty are welcome to schedule more than one session if the need arises for a particular class. Librarians may also visit individual classrooms to provide instruction on search strategies, the online catalog or other information sources.
  2. Twenty-eight computers provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. The sessions feature handouts, visual demonstrations and practice activities presented in a variety of teaching and learning formats. 
  3. Sessions are created to assist students to successfully meet their course/assignment objectives and improve their research skills.

  4. Instruction to meet particular course assignments or objectives can be prepared. However, instruction sessions frequently contain the following segments:
    • Database resources
    • Online catalog
    • Print sources
    • Search strategies
    • Internet searching
    • Web page evaluation

Recommendations for Creating Effective Library Assignments

  • Create assignments that
    • contain clear instructions.
    • develop the skills required to design an effective search strategy.
    • lead to the successful achievement of course objectives.
    • demonstrate how research is performed for a specific subject. 
    • require the integration of knowledge.
    • encourage critical thinking skills and evaluation of resources.
    • require a bibliography that is due before the paper's deadline.
    • require information from a variety of formats.
  • Some faculty may want to create a different type of assignment for their class rather than the traditional research paper. Suggestions for alternative assignments can be found in Term Paper Alternatives: Ideas for Information-Based Assignments from the University of Newfoundland.
  • Be certain that the library owns the resources required to effectively complete your assignment. The library collection is constantly changing, and many resources are either added, updated periodically or may no longer be available. Reference librarians can provide you with suggestions for materials needed for the assignment and can tell you if an item is available.
  • Do not assume that your students have previous experience in using a library's resources. Many students may have computer experience, but not the necessary skills to utilize various information sources.
  • The use of the web is expanding, and library materials are increasingly web-based. Students often tell us that they are not allowed to use web sources for some assignments, yet many full text journal articles are available on the web through our subscription services. Please be precise in your instruction for student use of the web for research, and reinforce the distinction between these library sources and general Internet searching.
  • Avoid issuing assignments that require the use of information from specific print materials for an entire class. A temporary misplacement of materials may be an unfair inconvenience to students. You are welcome to place items on reserve by contacting the Circulation Desk in the library at ext. 5640.
  • Students may not be familiar with assignments that contain library terminology. A glossary of terms is available to assist students in understanding the standard language used in an academic library.