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Faculty Guide to Library Instruction

This guide will introduce you to options available to incorporate information literacy instruction into your courses.

Quick Question

What do your students seem to struggle with most? 

Quick Question
Citations: 17 votes (27.42%)
Finding Appropriate Research: 17 votes (27.42%)
Evaluating Websites: 10 votes (16.13%)
Reading Academic Journal Articles: 7 votes (11.29%)
Using Microsoft Office Apps: 3 votes (4.84%)
Using Google Apps: 2 votes (3.23%)
Creating Dynamic Presentations: 2 votes (3.23%)
Using Information to Answer a Question: 4 votes (6.45%)
Total Votes: 62

Checklist for the Design of Effective Assignments

Want to improve the information literacy-related instructions in your assignments but not sure where to start? This checklist is designed to help identify common pitfalls in assignment design and is divided into three sections that align with the Project Information Literacy report, Assigning Inquiry: How Handouts for Research Assignments Guide Today’s College Students

These tools have been adopted with permission from Maricopa Community College Library Instructional Council and Maricopa Center for Teaching and Instruction 

About the Program

Niagara University Library's reference librarians train students to use Library resources to their fullest. Through personal attention and professional training, students learn to conduct research themselves and solve research problems.

To schedule a training session, please contact Melissa Langridge, User Education Coordinator, at or 716-286-8028.

Mission Statement

The Library Instruction Program attempts to:

  1. Cultivate information literacy skills in students, including the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively.
  2. Support faculty by providing their students with the research skills needed to successfully complete specific assignments and coursework.
  3. Foster campus productivity by making faculty and staff aware of information resources and providing training in the use of those resources when necessary.


  1. The Library commonly provides information literacy training to groups but also considers every reference interaction to be a teaching opportunity where students are encouraged to think critically and analytically about their research.
  2. Successful learning is active and participatory. Therefore group training sessions should be hands-on and include problem solving and critical thinking exercises. Large classes need to be broken down into smaller classes, and the length of time allotted for training should to be sufficient to allow for interactivity.
  3. Group Instruction should be tied to actual course work. Research assignments should be introduced as a precursor to the Library Instruction session. The presence of the faculty member at the training session is crucial for the collaborative process to work well.


  • Request library instruction sessions at least 2 weeks in advance.
  • Send the assignment to the assigned librarian instructor at least 1 week in advance.
  • Plan to attend the session; experience has shown that students are more engaged when the instructor participates in the session.

Niagara University Library adheres to the standards and guidelines developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Teaching Philosophy

Project Information Literacy has indicated that students' lack the ability to give context to their research papers and projects and don't know where to begin (2009). The creation of problem-based learning within the library allows the library, and librarians, to begin to integrate the library more fully into student learning. Problem-based learning is based upon the philosophy of John Dewey who claimed that: ". . .only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem firsthand seeking and finding his way out, does the student think" (1928, p. 188). Implementation of this technique creates an environment "for active, self-directed learning; develops critical thinking skills; and integrates context with technology" (Rockman, 2004, p. 48).


Dewey, John. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York : Macmillan, 1928.


Head, Alison J and Michael B. Eisenberg. "How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age: A Project Information Literacy Progress Report." Project Information Literacy: University of Washington, 2009. 

Rockman, Ilene F, Ed. Integrating Information Literacy into the Higher Education Curriculum: Practical Models for Transformation. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2004.