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Policy on High School Visits to McKeldin Library

This policy took effect February 1, 2007.
This policy supercedes all previous guidelines for K12 visits to McKeldin Library

Last revised: November 20, 2007

Librarians at the University of Maryland have a long history of working with the K12 community. We have been favorably impressed with the print and electronic resources available in middle and high school library media centers, including databases that cover scholarly and popular literature. In addition, we have great confidence in the ability of our colleagues in high school libraries to teach students information literacy skills, such as: topic development; information search & retrieval; and information evaluation.

As instructors, school library media specialists play a vital role in introducing students to the wide variety of print and electronic resources available through their media centers, local public libraries, and community college libraries. School library programs not only contribute to student achievement but they also improve test scores. Librarians at the University of Maryland value the opportunity to work with our high school librarian colleagues in developing targeted instruction sessions that have measurable student learning outcomes, so long as certain criteria are met (see below).

We encourage teachers to take full advantage of the expertise of their instructional partner -- the high school library media specialist -- to develop customized in-house research sessions for students, and plan appropriate visits to non-University libraries. If after these steps are completed, high library media specialists and teachers jointly believe that some students need access to unique and specialized university-level resources to supplement previous research findings, the library media specialist will need to review our policy then consider submitting a request to visit. Be mindful that requests are not automatically guaranteed.

Our Mission and Requirements

School library media specialists are asked to carefully review this policy before submitting a request to visit McKeldin Library.

The University Libraries does not offer walk-through tours of its buildings, services or collections. We do not offer library orientation sessions to school groups. Special Collections departments, at the University of Maryland Libraries, may provide specialized tours and instruction for groups. See: Special Collections, Instruction and Tours.


Our mission is to serve the University of Maryland's students, faculty and staff. In deference to the needs of thousands of tuition paying University of Maryland students who require unrestricted access to limited library resources, Teaching & Learning Services (T&L) will closely examine all requests submitted and will ultimately decide on the feasibility of a formal library instruction visit, in order to avoid undue congestion on taxed library services & collections, and the needs of our students.


UM librarians are confident that research for high school assignments and extended essays can be accomplished using the sophisticated community college resources in conjunction with the excellent resources at your high school media center and at local public libraries.

Our requirements are:

  • that the high school library media specialist will serve as the school's liaison to the University Libraries.
  • that the high school library media specialist will justify the purpose for requesting a visit beyond the goal of wanting high schoolers to "experience what it's like to use a large academic library." The high school library media specialist will have a specific purpose for requesting a formal visit to McKeldin Library, articulating what unique resources your students need to use at the University of Maryland Libraries that compels you to arrange a formal visit.
  • that the high school library media specialist will have guided students far enough through the research process to be towards the end (not beginning) of this process.
  • that no more than 25 students be brought to any campus library per day.
  • that students enrolled in Grades 11 and 12 only are eligible. In our experience, most students below these grades are likely to find McKeldin Library and its collections overwhelming and overly challenging. Middle school teachers are encouraged to work with their library media specialist(s) to provide research strategies and resources, and help arrange trips to local public and feeder high school libraries.


Please send your request to visit UMD libraries by email to Teaching & Learning Services.