Teaching Resources: Library Assistance for Teaching
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 with 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 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 subject matter. They prepare web pages of relevant resources, so that students can become familiar with the key tools they need for research (see a 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 and resources for research questions, with senior thesis writers in contact with their subject librarians throughout the project. Content for instruction can focus on a class research paper, on learning to use particular databases, on resources for a subject area, or whatever will be most useful for students.
Contact the librarian who works with your department or program (from the subject specialist list) to discuss what kind of instruction your students need.