Library Instruction Policy
Purpose and Availability
The ability to find, evaluate and use information is just as important as any of the other skills that students are expected to acquire during their college experience, and “information literacy” is essential, not only for academic achievement, but also for a successful career, good citizenship, and lifelong learning. For those reasons, the Thomas More College Library offers instruction in the use of library resources to students and faculty in both group and individualized settings. A basic introduction to the facilities, resources and services of the Library is given to all incoming freshmen during their First-Year Seminar classes. However, more specific, in-depth training is available at any level and for any course, upon request.
The Library Director and the Reference/Government Documents Librarian share the responsibility for providing library instruction. See the Contact Us page on the Library’s web site for contact information.
Instruction is usually given in the Library’s computer lab, but sessions can be held just about anywhere on campus—wherever it is most convenient for the instructor or the individual student. In addition, Library staff members are willing to go off campus to orient students at the Blue Ash TAP site, whenever a new cohort is formed.
Format and Content
While the typical length of a library instruction session is fifty minutes (the duration of a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class period), Library staff can tailor the session and the amount of material covered to the time allotted. Library staff members always prepare course-specific handouts to accompany and reinforce their oral presentations. Normally, a session begins with a tour of the Library’s web site, including relevant Research Guides, and then proceeds to a discussion of the online catalog, followed by an overview of the principal databases to which the Library subscribes. If possible, students receive hands-on experience in the use of the Library’s electronic resources, following the lead of the librarian instructor. They are taught the difference between basic (keyword) and advanced searching, the use of Boolean operators and the role of wildcard symbols and other techniques in locating information pertinent to a given topic. Depending on the nature of the course and the materials at hand, Library staff may also incorporate other print and electronic resources into their presentations. Library staff stress the importance of going beyond popular search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, and they provide students with some basic rules for evaluating web sites.
Please adhere to the following guidelines, when scheduling a class for library instruction:
- Submit your request for instruction as far in advance as possible, to avoid scheduling conflicts and to give Library staff adequate time to prepare. Supply the staff with alternate dates.
- Schedule the instruction to coincide with a specific research assignment, so that your students are motivated to pay closer attention during the session and so that they can apply what they learn immediately afterwards.
- Plan to attend the library instruction session yourself, not only to help keep your students on task, but also to enhance the effectiveness of the presentation by your active involvement.
- Avoid unnecessary duplication. If your students have already received library instruction in one class, especially during the same semester, they may not need a repeat session, unless it is important for them to become acquainted with more specialized resources or sophisticated search techniques.
To request library instruction, please complete the form that is available at the circulation desk or use the Library Instruction/Orientation Request Form.