Beyond Searching: Librarian/Faculty Collaboration and Student Success
Librarian/faculty collaboration improves outcomes for all--students develop a better sense of the research process, from pre-search to evaluating challenging sources; librarians help students at point of need for the specific research project at hand; and you as faculty partner with experienced librarians who assist you in developing assignments and teaching and assessing information literacy.
Starting with basic research skills in LSFY, and continuing to build discipline-specific skills through majors, library instruction can provide students with skills which will allow them to succeed not just in college but in the workplace and beyond. Librarians do much more than just "finding stuff": we help students narrow topics, develop questions, evaluate sources (and decipher arguments/abstracts), get started when they have no idea what to do! Our ideas about instruction are broad and cover all aspects of the library, so a visit to Special Collections is not "in addition to" information literacy and library sessions. Information literacy includes, for example, learning how to use primary sources in Special Collections. And Special Collections isn't just for upper-level or history classes, just as information literacy instruction isn't just for LSFY students. Special Collections can be a laboratory for working with sources for just about any discipline; library instruction can be an exploration of how to use advanced techniques for in-depth research in the disciplines.
Library instruction is best tied to a particular assignment, so that students can immediately begin practicing the skills they gain in the library session. In addition to the content of the library instruction session, the timing of the session and student preparation before it can have a major effect on the success of the session. Plan the timing of instruction sessions carefully. Students should already know about the assignment, and they should be at a point in the term or project where the day's "activity" makes sense. They should also have plenty of time after the session to complete the assignment.
We have prepared a handout emphasizing the most important points about library instruction. You can find it here. Have questions or want to schedule an instruction session? Contact your liaison librarian!