Information Literacy Services

Table of Contents


Why Information Literacy in your classroom?

Information Literacy class sessions are designed to teach students how to search, evaluate, and use information; and, how to use the library effectively and independently. Helping students develop their information literacy skills early in their college career will allow them to continue to use them during their undergraduate years at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University; during their graduate work; careers; and, throughout their lives.

"Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning." (American Library Association, Introduction to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education)

The Information Literacy program involves the librarians providing instruction on all levels, from first-year through graduate, generally at the request of the course instructor. Almost all of our instruction is directly related to or integrated with a course. While some of this is provided through reference consultations and orientation tours, student learning is enhanced when Information Literacy goals are integrated into course assignments. Librarians are happy to help you develop such assignments as well as work with individual classes or student groups. Also, librarians are willing to participate in Moodle or other course activities.

Library instructions are usually held in the library or computer lab, where a projection screen and computers are available for hands-on activities or in your classroom where a projection screen is available. Instructions can be for 10, 15, 30 and 70 minutes or whatever length you prefer. Again, librarians are happy to help you develop sessions to be incorporated into your class activities.


Upper Level Library Instruction

All students are introduced to the library and the idea of doing research during their First Year Seminar experience. Students will learn how to search using our general databases (ie, Academic Search Premier). If you have a research paper for your students, scheduling a library instruction will allow them to learn about subject specific databases. The library has access to many resources (primary and secondary) that students are not aware of. Librarians do not have to be involved in the entire class period. Instructions can be for 10, 15, 30 and 70 minutes or whatever length you prefer. Librarians are happy to help you develop sessions to be incorporated into your class activities. Choose an instruction from our Library Instruction Menu to find a class that will work for you. Also available are Library Minutes; tutorials that explain how to renew a book, primary vs. secondary sources, scholarly vs. non-scholarly publications, and much more.

Library Instruction classes will allow students to:

  • analyze and evaluate research sources
  • understand scholarly vs. non-scholarly publications
  • develop search strategies for specific assignments
  • use of the catalog and online periodical indexes
  • find specialized resources relevant to the discipline
  • understand the basics on conducting research (e.g. topic narrowing, using primary sources, citation, etc.)

Read what faculty said about the benefits of library instructions:

"I often ask a librarian to lead a session with my class on how to find sources using online databases. These sessions help create a natural link between the classroom and the library, so students begin to see these as interconnected elements of their education. Plus, having a librarian right there is like being able to 'Ask the Expert'... I sometimes learn helpful hints for searching that I wasn't aware of!"
Rodger Narloch,
Assoc. Professor,
Psychology Department

"I schedule library instruction sessions for my students each semester to help them prepare for their research project. With the librarian’s guidance, the students have the opportunity to learn about the research tools the CSBSJU libraries provide and use them to start researching their own topic during the session. The students appreciate meeting and being able to work with a librarian who understands what their project entails, and is willing to take the time outside the library instruction to work one on one."
Karen Bengston,
Instructor
Education Department

Also, have your students schedule a Research Appointment (make it part of their assignment). Read what faculty and students have said about research appointments:

"Whenever I give my students a research project, I include as one of the required steps that they make an appointment with a research librarian to get help finding reliable sources. My students report that they get excellent help, tailored to their particular research question. Some of them told me that they returned for a second appointment when they ran into dead ends. This service is an invaluable help to them and to me."
Sr. Mara Faulkner,
Assoc. Professor,
English Department

"Well, I have the library to thank for saving my Management paper. I was having trouble finding credible sources for a research paper and the Librarian was able to sit down with me and discuss what I wanted to write about and how to go about doing it. They also helped me find credible sources and I was able to write an amazing research paper, which earned me an A. Without the Library's help I would have been frustrated and lost."
Katie Milroy, CSB Student


First Year Seminar (FYS)

"Discover and practice sound principles of information literacy and effective use of information technology by becoming familiar with library resources and staff." FIRST YEAR SEMINAR: COURSE LEARNING GOALS

Librarians typically provide FYS students with orientation sessions in the fall semester and more in-depth, topic-related instruction in the spring semester.

The fall sessions are an "Introduction to Information Literacy at your Library". This introduction can involve several mini-sessions that include orientation to the building(s), the libraries' web site, general online indexes and journals; or, we can do an orientation session in one class period. It is highly recommended that you incorporate an assignment with these sessions. Students learning and understanding of their introduction session at the library will enhance their information literacy skills.

The spring FYS sessions are more varied and involved, with helping students begin the process of researching and understanding the scholarly articles, books and other materials needed for their research project. Guides by Course web pages can be created at this time to be tailored to an individual class's needs. These pages typically include information on both print and electronic resources with links to resources for citing materials. These web pages can be updated as needed throughout the semester, and students can use it as an active and dynamic "base" for their literature research needs. Guides by Subject web pages are also available as well as a quick list of databases for students to use when doing research.

Plan your library instruction by selecting classes off the Library Instruction Menu. Also available are Library Minutes; tutorials that explain how to renew a book, primary vs. secondary sources, scholarly vs. non-scholarly publications, and much more.

Library Instruction classes will allow the student to:

  • analyze and evaluate research sources
  • understand scholarly vs. non-scholarly publications
  • develop search strategies for specific assignments
  • use of the catalog and online periodical indexes
  • find specialized resources relevant to the discipline
  • understand the basics on conducting research (e.g. topic narrowing, using primary sources, citation, etc.)

The librarians are always willing to work with instructors in helping them incorporate the library into their assignments. For potential ideas, see FYS and Library Assignment Ideas.

Also, have your students schedule a Research Appointment (make it part of their assignment). Read what faculty and students have said about research appointments:

"My students reported that their individual meetings with librarians were very helpful and an excellent use of their time. Many of them had much greater clarity about where they could find good sources for their research papers after those meetings, and quite a few recognized the importance of sufficiently narrowing their topics after their meetings as well. Several students went back for a second meeting when they got stuck in their research. My hope is that they will regularly seek out librarians for future projects now that they know what a great resource they are."
Jeanne Cook,
Professor Communication Department

"The library staff really helped me get started on my research because they provided insightful information on different ways to search for articles and books pertaining to my research topic. They also showed me how to use different tools on the library web site and gave me a lot of ideas for key words to use in my searches."
Lauren Furmanski,
CSB Student


I'd like a librarian to work with my students

Faculty, staff, current students, and members of the Benedictine communities at SJU and CSB may request Information Literacy services. Schedule a library instruction through our Library Instruction Menu. For more information call Sarah Gewirtz at CSB Clemens Library (#5802), or send an e-mail to sgewirtz@csbsju.edu.