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Library Instruction  

A new guide to information literacy and library instruction at the University of the District of Columbia
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Library Instruction Print Page


The Learning Resources Division is here to help students and faculty find and use information. 

The UDC Library Instruction Program is founded on the Framework for Information Literacy produced by the American Library Association and its subsidiary, the Association of College and Research Libraries. Information literacy is the defined as the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." [1] This ability will not only serve students thoughout their academic careers but will also serve them in their professional careers as well.

PLEASE NOTE: This website is intended for faculty seeking information on library instruction. If you are a student, please visit our Library Orientation guide for assistance navigating the library. 

[1] Association of College and Research Libraries. (1989). Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report. Retrieved from


Instruction Options

The Learning Resources Division is committed to supporting student learning. We recognize that each course is different, so we offer six different models for instruction from which you can choose based on your class structure, assignments, and needs. Each model includes a demonstration of the library website and UDC resources, as well as active learning activities on your choice of information literacy issues (see options to the right). A library guide can also be requested for the course.

Research shows that library instruction is most effective when paired with an assignment. Please keep your assignments in mind when considering your choice of model, your chosen information literacy activities, and the timing of the session. If you would like assistance in creating assignments that incorporate information literacy skills, please contact Faith Rusk at

Instructional Format Options:

1. In-Person Instruction (single or multiple sessions)

  • Bring your class to one of our e-labs in LRD for one or multiple sessions, depending on how many information literacy issues (see option to the right) you would like to cover. How many issues we can cover in a session depends on the length of the class and the depth in which it is covered. For more information, visit our FAQs.

2. Flipped Classroom (single or multiple sessions)

  • A flipped classroom shares video tutorials and/or readings in advance of class, freeing up class time for active learning instead of lecturing. In providing students with guided instruction in advance, this format allows students to come to class with basic information on the topic, and the full class session can be devoted to active learning for your choice of information literacy issues (see options to the right) as well as class time for hands on work and questions. For more information, visit our FAQs.

3. Entirely Online/Homework

  • If you are teaching an online course, some your students might not be able to come to campus for an in-person or flipped instruction session. We can design entirely online instruction to meet your needs. Online tutorials can be paired with quizzes or assignments to assess student learning, which will include short answer/discussion questions to address your choice of information literacy issues (see options to the right). If students do not score highly enough on the quiz/assignment, they will be required to meet (in person or via phone) with a librarian, who can provide additional one-on-one instruction for the student. Meeting with a librarian will be available to all students who are interested. For more information, visit our FAQs.

4. Embedded Librarian

  • An embedded librarian works closely with the course to provide ongoing information literacy instruction. These courses are often designed around scaffolded research assignments, but it is not a requirement. The librarian participates in assignment design so that assignments effectively use and assess information literacy skills. Portions of multiple classes will be designated for information literacy activities (see options to the right) that support assignments. This option is ideally arranged in advance of the start of the semester. For more information, visit our FAQs.

If there is an instruction model you do not see here, but would like to have offered, please email Faith Rusk at to discuss.

To request instruction, fill out the Library Instruction Request form. Requests must be made at least one week in advance.


Other Instruction Services

Curricular Support
  • Librarians are happy to consult on integrating information literacy into your syllabus

Individual Sessions for Students and Faculty

  • Assistance with research is always available to you. Students and faculty can stop by the Reference desk, or make a one-on-one appoinrtment with any of our librarians
Professional Development Opportunities to Faculty
  • Professional Development Week presentations
  • Brown-bag lunch presentations
  • Other presentations as requested

Request Instruction

To request library instruction, fill out this form.

Requests must be submitted at least one week in advance. Each instruction session is carefully tailored to the class and requires advance notice to prepare.


Information Literacy Issue Descriptions

Topics and Research Questions

Students often struggle to come up with a topic or to narrow down a broad topic into a research question. A bad research question can make the rest of the research process feel inaccessible. We want students to start their research with a strong foundation.

Research as a Conversation/The Research Process

This issue introduces students to the idea that the research they are doing is part of a larger scholarly conversation. Why is this important? It can change the way they think about their sources, how they use them, and how they find them. It also addresses the research process as a whole and the fact that there is no one right way to approach it (or one wrong way) and that research is a fluid and iterative process. 

Search Strategies

Most students are used to searching with Google, and while each database the library subscribes to is a little different, none of them operate like Google. This issue helps students understand different strategies for finding the information they need in this different environment.

Evaluating Sources

Finding sources is important, but it is essential that students know how to evaluate the sources they find. Is it a scholarly source? Is it a primary source? Is it reliable information? Is it relevant to my topic? This issue covers all these questions and more, and teaches students to think critically about the information they find.

Citations and Plagiarism

Citations are an essential part of scholarly work. This issue covers both the nitty gritty side of citations, such as identifying the type of citation and finding errors, as well as the more abstract ideas about why we cite, and why it matters. 

Subject Specific Issues

Different subjects have different needs. For example, in nursing, when evaluating sources, one must consider levels of evidence, in counseling one must consider the ACA Code of Ethics. We want to make sure that what students learn in the classrooms matches what is discussed in library instruction. If you have any Subject Specific Issues you'd like to make sure are addressed, we can accommodate.


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