Arranging Library Instruction at the Gould Library


Library instruction aims to develop students' critical thinking skills in the context of information seeking. Successful library instruction serves not only as an orientation to the library and its resources, but also as an introduction to research skills and the intellectual and social issues surrounding information.

The value of library instruction at Carleton lies not only in the skills and concepts covered in class, but also in the resulting interactions between students and librarians outside of class. Students who have been introduced to librarians through classroom instruction often seek them out when they wish to learn more about library resources and research techniques.


Before the instruction session, librarians consult with the faculty member about the objectives of the course and the assignment. One or more instruction sessions are then designed specifically for the course. Usually instruction sessions are scheduled during the regular class period, although other arrangements can be made.

Most instruction sessions occur in the Library Instruction Room, 306. However, librarians can visit your classroom, or schedule time in a different classroom.

Faculty members often choose one or more of the following instruction options:

  • One-time Instruction -- A librarian leads one class session in the library, computer lab, or classroom. Typically, the students are given an assignment that requires certain resources and research skills. The librarian introduces relevant print and electronic resources and teaches students how to choose search tools, construct search strategies, evaluate results and obtain materials.
  • Multiple Instruction Sessions -- Because many research skills cannot be taught in one session, some faculty members request multiple sessions. Resources and skills are covered in depth, and students usually are given some time to begin their research with librarian assistance as needed.
  • Individual Appointments -- Faculty members may suggest or require student appointments with a librarian. Librarians give individualized instruction to students, teaching them how to approach their research questions and use specific resources.
  • Course Research Guides -- A librarian will provide a customized guide that highlights the library's resources and/or research strategies in a course or subject area. (examples of past guides available here)


Faculty are encouraged to schedule library instruction as far in advance as possible. At least two weeks' time between the date of the request and the date of the instruction session is preferred.

Contact your Library Liaison to discuss or schedule an instruction session.

Other information literacy initiatives

Check out the other information literacy intiatives our librarians are involved in at Carleton.