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Benefits of Librarian-Faculty Partnerships for Instruction

Overview

Generally speaking, librarians and faculty share similar concerns and goals. They want students to:

  • Become information literate and technology fluent;
  • Become effective writers, problem solvers, and critical thinkers;
  • Become self-directed, lifelong learners; and
  • Contribute to the social & learning community on campus.1

Arranging a library instruction session

Why should I schedule a library class?

Librarian-faculty partnerships can help reduce the anxiety that students feel when required to navigate the University of Maryland's large and complex library system. The value of scheduling a library research session includes:

  • Students' frustration will be reduced by giving them confidence and concrete direction;
  • Library research is not a clear-cut linear process. Students will be able to take new directions or unexpected turns in the research process if they understand the basic steps in researching libraries, databases, and the Web;
  • For a small time commitment in the beginning, faculty will save time later, answering individual questions about the research process, and the appropriate resources and online gateways to use;
  • Students may earn better grades, because they will know how to find more and better information resources to support their research papers, projects, proposals, and other assignments.

How do I find a librarian to partner with?

You can find out the librarian(s) for your college or school and then contact them via e-mail or phone to schedule a library class.

When should I schedule a library class?

It has been proven repeatedly that students master library and information skills better when those skills are integrated into their courses. Beyond that, faculty should work to:

  • Tie a library instruction session to an assignment or schedule it when your students have chosen topics to research.
  • Do not arrange to have a session too early in the semester before students have been assigned or selected topics.
  • It is recommended that you arrange the time and date of the session as early as possible, even before the semester begins. The schedules of librarians and instruction labs fill up quickly!

How do I plan an effective library class?

Review the Directory of Librarian Subject Specialists to contact your librarian to develop targeted research classes with meaningful student learning outcomes. Here are some ways you can work with a librarian to tailor the session to maximize its impact:

  • Customize Content
    The content of the library instruction session can be tailored and designed to produce specific student learning outcomes.
  • Meaningful Assignments vs. Scavenger Hunts
    Work with librarians to develop realistic and workable research assignments: Creating Effective Research Assignments. The least effective assignment possible (i.e. Scavenger Hunt) asks students to locate random facts. It lacks a clear purpose, does not teach students to do meaningful library research, and may be frustrating. Librarians rather than students frequently end up locating the answers.
    Librarians are eager to partner with faculty to build customized research resources pages for students; these pages are referred to by librarians as Course Guides. These pages are used in conjunction with scheduled library instruction sessions, and are not substitutes for instruction workshops.
  • Become Involved
    Library instruction can happen almost anywhere. Librarians can bring laptops to Internet-wired classrooms. Or, can go to a classroom already equipped. Librarians can conduct library instruction in spaces in other equipped libraries (Performing Arts Library, Architecture, Art) and although there is no hands-on activities for students, resources will be demonstrated to your class.
  • Extra Credit Exercises or Integrated Library Assignment Into Course Grade
    Work with a librarian to design a library assignment for extra credit outside of regular class time, or better yet, add this assignment to the overall grade for your course.

Source Cited in Footnotes 1

Hollander, Sharon A., Barbara R. Herbert, and Karen Stieglitz De Palma. (2004). Faculty-Librarian Collaboration. Retrieved October 27, 2006, from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/getArticle.cfm?id=1541