The University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library
Library with Yellow Flowers
Center for Research Libraries
Ask A Librarian

Instruction for Faculty

Library Instruction Sessions for Classes

What are they?

Request a session for your class

Request a one-on-one session

Faculty can schedule library instruction sessions for their classes. We can work with you to decide what you would like us to cover in these sessions. The classes are usually taught in the library’s electronic classroom. These are "hands-on" sessions, to encourage the students to learn about and feel comfortable with the library’s resources. Generally, students are introduced to research strategies, and learn how to use the library’s resources and evaluate their results.

Tours of the Library

Tours of Gleeson Library | Geschke Center are given at the beginning of the semester, and on the first Monday of each month. These tours introduce you to the building and many of our services. Meet in front of the Circulation Desk at the entrance of the Library.

Tour Schedule

  • Monday, Oct 6, 3 pm
  • Monday, Nov 3, 3 pm
  • Monday, Dec 1, 3 pm

What actually happens in these classes?

We tailor the content of these classes to meet your specific objectives. Realistically we can’t cover everything in one session, but there are several combinations of areas that we can focus on depending on how much time we have and what you and your students want.

Some of the possible areas we can cover:

  • Physical tour of the library
  • Using Ignacio effectively to find books and journals available in the library
  • Using general databases, such as Fusion or ProQest
  • Using subject specific databases, such as PsycINFO, ERIC, or Medline
  • Searching for and evaluating information on the web

How can I make library instruction sessions more effective?

  • Have the students working on specific topics so they will be able to apply and understand the concepts more readily.
  • Faculty should accompany the class for the session, so we can have a more dynamic, three-way interaction.
  • Let the librarian know the topics beforehand: it helps them to more effectively use examples that draw the students in to the process.

How long do the sessions last?

Library instruction sessions usually take one class period. We have experimented with offering two sessions, one on more "traditional" library resources like the catalog and journal indexes, and a second session just on using search engines more effectively and evaluation of web sites. We can work with you to determine the optimal amount of time your class will need.

Who teaches the sessions?

Librarians have been assigned subject liaison areas. Generally, your subject liaison, working with the Coordinator of Library Instruction, will teach them.

When should I schedule a class?

Library instruction sessions are offered throughout the year. They should be scheduled at least one week in advance. As you put together your syllabus, it is better to contact us as early as possible, because the class schedule fills up.

Our experience has been that a common mistake is for faculty to schedule the class too early in the semester, before the students have a clear sense of what is expected of them and what they will be working on. Rather than speaking in broad general terms about information, it helps the learning process of students to be working on a topic that matters to them and learning these concepts by applying them in these sessions.

How do I schedule a class?

You can schedule library instruction sessions in several ways:

To request a session at one of USF's branch libraries, contact the librarian at your branch site.

How many sessions does the library teach?

In the academic year 2007-2008, we taught 330 course-related library instruction sessions, and had 288 one-on-one sessions. Of the instruction sessions, 133 were for Rhetoric & Composition and Literature, 22 were for Business, 26 for Education, 17 for Nursing and Health Sciences, and 16 for CPS. The remaining classes were from a variety of subjects: Sociology, History, Computer Science, Politics, etc.

One-on-One Instruction

In addition to teaching group instruction sessions, librarians are available to meet with faculty, staff, and students for one-on-one to assist with your research needs. These sessions can be general ("How can I get full-text articles from the library’s databases?") or specific ("I need information on this particular topic.")

To request a one-on-one session, fill out this form and we will attempt to get back to you within two business days to suggest a time to meet.

To request a session at one of USF's branch libraries, contact the librarian at your branch site.

Information Literacy

With the growth of new information technology, there has been a growing perception of the need for information literacy competencies. Here are some links to different aspects of information literacy.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has published a set of Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

A seminal article published in 1996 looked at "Information Literacy as a Liberal Art."

The American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy was appointed in 1987 and in 1989 issued a report on information literacy.