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Library Instruction

Does your class need library instruction? Check out the information in this guide to work with a librarian.

Association of College and Research Libraries Framework

The primary goal of library instruction at the Jim Dan Hill Library is that as a result of the contact, whether in the form of a one-shot instruction session, or preferably, as an embedded librarian collaborating on student learning outcomes over the course of a class, students gain information literacy skills as outlined by the Association of College and Research Libraries in their Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. To that end, the information literacy librarian and library staff at Jim Dan Hill Library offer several services to students, faculty, and staff as part of the emerging information literacy program at the University of Wisconsin, Superior.

One-Shot Instruction Sessions

The one-shot instruction session is by far the most frequently requested type of instruction librarians at the Jim Dan Hill Library receive. As the name implies, one-shot sessions require that the librarian communicate and students digest all the student learning outcomes in one 50 or 75 minute sitting. Because of the time constraints, these sessions tend to focus mostly on learning outcomes relating to performing functions in the library rather than interpreting and analyzing the information retrieved by a search.

Topics typically covered in one-shot sessions include:

  • The Library Catalog
  • Using a Specific Library Database
  • Retrieving Subject Specific Articles
  • Searching the Internet
  • Using Library Resource Sharing
  • Using the Inter-Library Loan (ILLiad) System
  • Generating Keywords

Embedded Librarianship

Embedded librarianship while, requested less frequently, is a much more effective way to address the underlying issues preventing students from becoming competent, confident researchers. As the name implies, embedded librarians become a part of the class, attending sessions or participating in online discussion boards, among other things. Embedded librarians serve to underscore the importance of inquiry in research, and offer a perspective outside that of the content specialist teaching the course. Librarians can be embedded for a short time in the course to underscore the importance of a unit, or for a long time to collaborate on larger goals.

Topics typically covered by embedded librarians include (but are not limited to):

  • What scholarly discourse should look like in a particular field
  • The evaluation of sources that are essential in a field but not actually "scholarly"
  • Treating research as inquiry
  • Recognizing that scholarship is an ongoing conversation

Assignment/Rubric Creation/Evaluation

Librarians can also collaborate on the creation of assignments and/or rubrics that better measure student learning outcomes related to information literacy. SLOs relating to information literacy can be found on the Association of College & Research Libraries website in their Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Student Learning Outcomes

In addition to providing support for traditional bibliographic instruction (one-shot instruction sessions that are focused primarily on demonstrations of library databases, services, etc.) the library also offers collaborative, cross-curricular solutions to increasing student information literacy through assignment and rubric design.

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual

Information Creation as a Process

Information Has Value

Research as Inquiry

Scholarship as Conversation

Searching as Strategic Exploration


Several points of data will be collected in order to assess the effectiveness of librarian led instruction sessions. At the end of each session students will be asked to reflect on the content of the session, self-reporting data such as “what were the student learning outcomes for this session” and “what was the most useful thing you learned today?”

In addition, student learning outcomes for each session based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy will be measured and recorded as appropriate by learning activity. Several other data points will be recorded as well, including the use of learning objects (libguides, tutorials, links, etc.) by students to determine the utility of the information provided by the guide.

UWS Student Learning Outcomes and the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education