|Alden Library Instruction Sessions FAQ|
What is library instruction?
Library instruction empowers students with the skills to:
The library staff encourages faculty to integrate library research into students’ educational experience. Learning to locate and evaluate news, essays and scholarly research is a basic part of information literacy and a skill imparted by a college education. We believe that it also offers a valuable means for preparing students to become independent life-long learners who can always find the information needed for any task at hand.
As faculty, you are preparing students to be professionals in a 21st century world where they will constantly need to update their skills. Familiarity with the professional literature of their field is one of the main ways they can keep up.
Why is library instruction so important to college students?
Students used to have a problem finding enough information about research topics. Now they have the opposite problem: how to sort through and determine the usability and reliability of the flood of information available to them. That is why library instruction sessions are so important.
In addition to an ever growing reference and circulating book collection, the Alden Library provides access to thirty electronic periodical and reference databases which are accessible on and off campus. The use of these resources is not particularly intuitive and our librarians know and can demonstrate valuable approaches to successful research.
Why should I schedule a library instruction session for my class?
The quality of research papers improves dramatically when students use reliable, comprehensive resources. The skills they learn as they research their topic help them think critically, first about the sources, and then about the topic itself.
What happens during a library instruction session?
During the instruction session, a librarian will discuss and demonstrate access to resources pertinent to a specific assignment and focus on search strategies, including (but not limited to):
Handouts and bibliographies are normally prepared for each class. These classes are tailored to meet your specific class needs.
My students say they have taken a library research class and don't need another.
Students may not realize that we "customize" every class specifically for the assignment you have made. Just because they learned to find and interpret literary criticism for their English class does not mean that they have searched the professional literature of business, nursing, or criminal justice. You know how different your discipline is from all the others at the college. And you know how different the assignments and requirements are of different faculty within the same discipline. Please let your students know this.
How do I prepare a class for a library instruction session?
The best preparation for an instruction class is for the students to have clear idea of what the research assignment is. What materials are appropriate for the assignment: books, encyclopedias, journal articles? Are only peer-reviewed articles acceptable? How many sources are required to complete the assignment? You would be shocked to know how many students arrive at the library without the slightest idea what the assignment is or with a misunderstanding of what is expected. A printed outline of the assignment helps students stay focused on the project and gives librarians clues about how to connect the student with available resources.
One of our skilled librarians will work with you to identify the main areas of instruction that best meet the objectives of your research assignment. We will make an appointment with you for a specific day and time so we can give your class our undivided attention.
When is the best time to schedule an instruction session?
Library instruction is most effective when it occurs at or very near to the time students are expected to begin their research projects. As you know, students retain more of what they have been taught when they apply it immediately.
When should I set up an instruction session?
Scheduling is done on a ”first come, first served” basis. The quality of the session will be greatly enhanced if we have sufficient lead time to prepare presentations and written materials designed specifically to support your course assignments. We request the professional courtesy of at least two weeks notice prior to the instruction date.
We will make every effort to accommodate your needs. It is best to make your appointments for instruction sessions early, even to schedule in September those sessions which will take place much later in the semester.
Will I need to devote a whole class session to library instruction?
Most sessions are 50 minutes and, if part of that time is taken in getting the class settled in the classroom, time is even more limited. (During 90 minute sessions, there is time for students to get a start on the project using the computers in the instruction room.) Be sure to tell us how much time you will want to spend. Courses with a significant research component may necessitate more than one session and we welcome that.
Can I schedule the session for a time when I cannot attend or must be out of town?
We strongly recommend that the instructor be present in order to emphasize the importance of learning these information retrieval skills. Questions about the assignment frequently arise and can be addressed right away. You can learn a lot about your students information-seeking skills by seeing them in action. Instructors can follow up in future classes if they know what research strategies were covered in the instruction session. And, ultimately, the "take home" message sent by an absent instructor is that this activity (and the research assignment) is not important.
Where will Library Class Instruction Sessions be held?
Sessions are held in the Alden Library in room 303L located on the third floor of the Alden Library in the Harrington Learning Center. Room 303L is used exclusively for the hundreds of Library Instruction sessions taught by library staff each year. Sessions can also be held at the Southbridge campus. We can also accommodate sessions during hours the Alden Library is not typically open or in your regular classroom if there is a need. Please request sessions outside of 303L at least 3 weeks in advance so we can make staffing arrangments.
How do I schedule a session?
To schedule a library instruction session, fill out the Library Instruction Session Request Form (http://www2.qcc.mass.edu/library/onlineForms/LibInstSessFm/LibInstSessFm.asp) located on the Library’s Resources for Faculty web page (http://qcc.mass.libguides.com/content.php?pid=121937&sid=1163620). Please submit one class section per form submission. Multiple class sections submitted on one form may result in only one session being scheduled. After your instruction request has been submitted, Matt Bejune, Coordinator of Reference and Instruction, will schedule your session with one of the five QCC Librarians.
The scheduling process will give you two points of confirmation. After you submit your instruction request you will receive an immediate response telling you your request was submitted. After the session is scheduled, typically within 1-2 business days, you will receive an email with an attached calendar appointment for your session from Matt Bejune. Please accept the calendar appointment and it will be added to your Microsoft Outlook calendar if you use one.
If at anytime you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reference Librarians, by phone (508) 854-4366, or email email@example.com.
George I. Alden Library, Quinsigamond Community College, 670 West Boylston St., Worcester, MA 01606 (508) 854-4366
Update Wednesday, September 17, 2013