Students who are assigned projects requiring library research often lack basic library skills or are overwhelmed by the variety of information resources available at the Lafayette Libraries. Tailored to the needs of students, library instruction classes give them an opportunity to learn about the resources and search strategies that are most appropriate for their assignments, topics, and levels of expertise.

A Sampling of Current Instruction

  • Students of international affairs learn how to identify scholarly conversations on their topics.
  • Students in Biology 102 learn to find and identify articles from different perspectives: conversation biology, neuroscience, and physiology.
  • Biology students learn advanced search skills in Web of Science and Medline.
  • Economics students access and download data and prepare it for statistical analysis using Excel.
  • Students in VAST classes compare scholarly and popular sources of science/tech information.
  • American Studies students hone their visual literacy skills using materials in Skillman’s Special Collections.
  • Students using GIS learn how to locate spatial data sets and evaluate metadata information.

When and Where

Sessions can be scheduled during regular class time (evenings as well as days) or as an additional class session during the noon hour or late afternoon. Arrangements can also be made for small groups of students working collaboratively to meet with a librarian outside of class. Most sessions are held in one of the library instruction rooms although librarians can meet with students in their regular classroom.

Tips for a Successful class

  • Contact the library at least two weeks prior to the class to reserve a room and talk with an instruction librarian.
  • Schedule the class close to the time when students will actually need to be using the library. Consider scheduling it after the students have done some preliminary research so they can come with problems and questions.
  • Give a copy of the class’ assignment and/or syllabus to the librarian who will be meeting with your class.
  • Accompany your students to the library class and add your comments and questions.

To schedule a library instruction class or talk about what the library can offer your class, contact Lijuan Xu, Associate Director for Research & Instructional Services, at 610-330-5152 or