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Library Information Skills Curriculum: Integrating Information Skills in Your Courses

This guide details how the library's instruction program addresses the learning outcomes of the ACRL Frameworks for Information Literacy.

Intergrating Information Literacy Elements to Your Course

All faculty can incorporate Information Literacy into their courses. We have many options for including Information Literacy skills to assist students in achieving course goals. Librarians can come to your class for a single instruction session, or as frequently as you want. Some of the typical scenarios are detailed below.

Single Session

Many faculty request single-session library instruction.  These sessions are most effective when designed around a particular assignment or student need.  Single-session instruction typically focuses on one or more of the following:

  • Database Instruction
  • Developing a Research Question
  • Brainstorming Keywords and Developing a Search Strategy
  • Evaluating Information
  • Citation information

Librarians can work with you to craft the instruction session that fits the unique needs of your student and class. 


Database instruction is a popular topic, and librarians can instruct a class in using any of the databases, alone or in combination. In a single-session database class, students come to the course with an assignment for which they need scholarly resources.

  • For an in-person session, the librarian walks students through the topic, identifying key terms and asking them to brainstorm keywords for their topics. Using these examples, the librarian demonstrates how to effectively use the database, including tips such as paying attention to database keywords and subject terms, navigating through "Full Text Finder" links, and managing citation information. Librarians can then provide follow-up videos of advanced search techniques for your eLearn page. 
  • For an eLearn session or module, the librarian provides a video demonstration of the features of the database. Students complete a brief online activity and/or quiz that demonstrates their mastery of basic search skills, and receive asynchronous feedback from the librarian. Librarians can again provide follow-up videos of more advanced search techniques.


Multiple Sessions

Research indicates that instruction works best at the student point of need, and that students attending multiple sessions show "improvement in the type and quality of resources used for academic writing" (Henry, Glaunder and LeFoe, 2015, 28). Thus, it can be ideal to incorporate instruction at multiple points in the semester to provide exactly the right instruction at exactly the right time.

Multiple sessions also enable a class to engage more deeply with materials, develop advanced skills, and provide time to address more complex research questions.  Faculty may choose the best times to have librarians come to their classroom, bring the students to the library, or request course-specific eLearn modules. Instruction can comprise a series of anywhere from 15 minute to full-class sessions, depending upon the material covered. 

Sessions can be scheduled at any time in the semester. In addition to the material covered in single sessions, multiple sessions can address topics such as:

  • Advanced database searching
  • Refining research questions
  • Refining keywords based on the resource being searched
  • Evaluating your search strategy
  • Using resources to create original scholarship

In addition to meeting with the full class, librarians can meet with small groups and/or individual students. 


In a chemistry course the students have a library session in which they begin their research to prepare for an upcoming lab experiment. The librarian provides introductory instruction on developing keywords and effectively using a subject-specific database. After they have completed the lab, students return to the library to find additional research to support their findings. The librarian helps students refine the keywords used in the first session and demonstrates advanced search techniques. The librarian attends the class for a third session to discuss citation and proper documentation when writing the lab report.

Integrated Librarian

Integrating a librarian into your course can be an effective way to achieve your information goals. Librarians are available to collaborate on courses throughout their creation, implementation, and evaluation. We can assist during syllabus design with the creation of research assignments, recommend resources, provide in-person instruction at multiple points during the semester, create eLearn modules or participate in eLearn discussion boards to respond to students’ research questions, and provide resources for assessment and evaluation.


A first-year history professor meets with a librarian while revising their syllabus to incorporate a new research assignment. The librarian identifies potential databases, readings, and open-source digital resources. Some of these are assigned to the students by the professor as course readings, and others are incorporated into planned library instruction sessions. The students meet with the librarian for basic database instruction prior to starting their assignment. The librarian provides feedback in eLearn on students' research proposals; using information from those proposals, the librarian conducts a second instruction session on more advanced search strategies and assists students as they brainstorm ways to refine their research questions. Students then meet one-on-one with the librarians for individual assistance, and maintain research logs in eLearn, which also receive librarian feedback. When their assignments are submitted, the librarian provides the professor with an evaluation of students' research practices and the sources used, and the professor uses this feedback as part of the grading process.

If you would like to add a librarian to your eLearn course or discuss a collaboration contact any of the reference librarians.

Lindsay Boezi

Uma Hiremath

Garrett McComas

Trish McPherson

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