Library instruction: Mission statement and goals

Mission Statement

The library instruction program contributes to the mission and curriculum of the College through course-integrated library instruction classes. Librarians, in partnership with classroom faculty, teach students the information literacy skills they need to attain their academic goals and become lifelong learners.

When Lafayette's faculty voted to approve the new CCS in May 2011, four information literacy outcomes were formally adopted. These outcomes will be incorporated into the FYS courses, and "students will make further progress toward these outcomes in other courses in the CCS and their major." The library's instruction program therefore has two core levels, one designed for First-Year Seminars and introductory courses and a second level designed for specialized or advanced coursework in majors and minors. As a complement to the structured program, librarians provide instruction during personalized research assistance ("PRA") appointments with students.

Goals for First-Year Seminars

All first-year students will be introduced to the Lafayette Libraries and their basic resources, develop an understanding of the types of sources appropriate for college level research, and learn strategies for managing the library research process.

In a minimum of two class periods, student will learn:

  1. The scope of resources and services available through the libraries.
  2. How to use the library catalog and a basic periodical index (Academic Search Premier) to find references to books and articles on a topic.
  3. How to obtain books, periodicals, and other materials via the libraries and Interlibrary Loan.
  4. How to evaluate print, electronic, and web-based sources for authority, accuracy, currency, and usability.
  5. How the scope of a project affects the types of sources that should be used.
  6. That librarians are available for assistance at all points in the research process.

Goals for introductory level courses:

Building upon the library research skills they have developed through the First Year Seminars, students in introductory level courses will learn:

  1. How the purpose and characteristics of scholarly literature differ from general interest literature.
  2. That most databases follow a common structure that facilitates information retrieval through features like controlled vocabulary, keyword searching, Boolean operators, and special search operators.
  3. How to develop an effective search strategy.
  4. How to use reference sources such as subject encyclopedias to define research questions and to expand research.
  5. That the library research process is recursive.

Goals for upper level courses

Students working in their major or minor will be introduced to specialized resources in a field of study and gain advanced understanding of the scholarly communication process. They will learn:

  1. How new information is produced, reviewed, and disseminated in a field.
  2. How to identify and use major indexing tools in a field.
  3. How to use advanced search techniques like cited reference searching and field limits.
  4. How to find and use primary sources as defined by a field, e.g. data sets, government documents, and rare or archival materials.
  5. How certain factors affect the value of information in a field, e.g., author's credentials, publisher's or sponsor’s reputation, and number of times cited in literature.