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Haverford College

Library Instruction


In support of the faculty, librarians teach students research skills and strategies, including the very critical work of finding and interrogating texts, in both print and digital formats. Librarians also facilitate rich, complex, dynamic, and dialectic engagement with these texts. At all academic levels, librarians foster information literacy, understanding, critical reflection, knowledge production, and scholarship with classes, while also providing intensive, one-on-one support of students throughout their college career and culminating in their senior capstone projects.

Librarians provide a scaffolding of instruction that takes students from the basics of library catalogs and database searching, through an informed use of both print and digital sources, to an insider view of their chosen discipline's literature. Students at each level are encouraged to develop the evaluative and critical skills that will lead them to more complex projects. Librarians help students learn to contextualize ideas, whether on the screen or in print, and to see themselves as active participants in a purposeful conversation.

Librarians work with faculty to provide instruction tailored to the needs of a particular class in terms of its subject matter. They prepare web pages of relevant resources, so that students can become familiar with the key tools they need for research (see the Tri-College list of guides for current courses). In their discussions with classes, librarians bring in examples of content and issues that relate to course readings and to individual student research topics. They also explain strategies for navigating library systems, scholarly literatures, and the hybrid world of digital and print resources.

The Library's instruction format is very flexible. It can be used in the classroom, in the library, or in a workshop outside of class hours. Students also work individually with librarians on approaches to and resources for a research question. Many students, particularly senior thesis writers, remain in contact with their librarians throughout their projects. Content for instruction can focus on a class research paper, on particular databases, on resources for a subject area, or whatever will be most useful to students.

Contact the librarian who works with your department or program to discuss what kind of instruction your students need. See below for information about key library services.


Research instruction sessions:

  • Instruction on research methods and on resources pertinent to specific projects
  • Course guides on key research tools , such as Research Guides
  • Workshops and labs (outside of class) that build research skills

Research assistance for your students:

  • Individual meetings with preparatory work done by librarians
  • Aid in developing a research question and beginning a search
  • Advice on advanced research tools, answers to specific questions, and new sources
  • Access to an array of materials beyond the collections in the Tri-Colleges

Faculty research support:

  • Notifications about relevant new resources from librarians
  • Advice on data manipulation and storage
  • Information about publishing, copyright and the reviewing process
  • Responses from librarians as new needs develop
  • Librarians also will train you student research assistants and work with them.

Digital scholarship:

  • Work with faculty and students to produce scholarship in digital forms
  • Help in incorporating digital humanities tools into courses or assignments
  • Expertise and training for digital tools including Wordpress, Omeka, and GIS software
  • For details, see the Digital Scholarship page

Collection support:

  • Collaborate on building library collections related to your teaching and research interests
  • Use tri-college collections, most materials deliverable within 24-hour
  • Gain access to a wide array of resources beyond the tri-colleges with expedited services through E-Z Borrow, Interlibrary Loan, and Article Delivery

Course Reserves support:

  • Support for Moodle, from start to finish. Also assistance with content: scanning, uploading, and technical support
  • Books, videos, and other materials for Course Reserves
  • For details, see this page

Space in Magill Library:


Events and Programs:

  • Young Academic Lecture Series: subject lecture and class visits
  • Lectures and other events in support of the curriculum
  • Contact us if you have ideas for programs