Library Instruction & Information Literacy: Faculty Best Practices

Best Practices for Library Instruction

BCC librarians provide in-person and online assignment-based instruction sessions for all disciplines.  While every session is different, we will always show students how to successfully navigate library resources and provide time for student-directed searching with our guidance.  Whether you are new or familiar with library instruction we ask that you check out the best practices below before you schedule a session.   

Faculty must be present during the library instruction session.

Your presence is crucial to student learning.  The teaching librarian will lead the session and direct students to appropriate library resources, but only you can answer questions about the assignment.  We have noticed that when faculty are engaged (listening/asking questions/contributing your own experience) during the library session, students are more on-task and attentive.

Instruction sessions must correspond to an assignment or project.  We don’t give resource overviews or library tours.

It is well documented that students are more likely to learn and retain research skills at their point-of-need, e.g. when they are confronted with an actual research assignment and are prepared to work.  Every library instruction session includes hands-on time for student searching; this works best when they have a specific research question or topic to investigate.

Schedule your library session after students have chosen topics. 

The best time to schedule library instruction is after students have chosen their topics and done some “pre-research” on their own.  Google and Wikipedia are great resources for students to build a general familiarity with their topics and connected issues.  During the library session we can help them dig into their area of focus.

A written copy of your assignment, provided in advance, is essential.

We strongly encourage all faculty to send us their written assignment as we prepare our instruction and choose resources based on the specific assignment requirements.  Even if you have given students the assignment information orally in class or through Moodle, a written copy is essential to our preparation (and can also help struggling students find accurate support at the library reference desk and tutoring center!). 

We can help you craft research assignments that make the most impact.

Talk to your library liaison to develop or refine your research assignments.  Sometimes small changes can result in high impact for students.  Also, you do not need to assign a research paper to help students improve their research skills; research is a process with several steps, but all steps do not need to be included in each assignment.  Your liaison can also work with you to make sure the Library has the appropriate materials for the assignment

If you have questions about what we will cover or particular needs, we’d love to hear from you.

We welcome faculty participation in lesson planning for the library session.  Let us know where students need help, what resources you like and we will share our ideas too.  Interested in how a LibGuide dedicated to your course or assignment can help students?  See an example here

Instruction requests should be submitted two weeks in advance.

We need this lead time to ensure smooth scheduling and to prepare for your class.  We tailor our instruction to your particular assignment and may prepare additional materials such as handouts or LibGuides. 

Library instruction is generally one 75 minute class session unless other arrangements are made.

© 2010 Sidney Silverman Library
Bergen Community College
400 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07652
201-447-7436