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York University Libraries > Instruction Information & Guidelines for Faculty

Instruction Information & Guidelines for Faculty

We believe that students who have the benefit of attending a library research workshop, or who have the opportunity of hearing a librarian deliver a guest lecture in their course, are better equipped to attain higher grades and, more importantly, engage themselves as active learners in the courses they are taking.

Time & Place…

We offer in-library classrooms that can be booked for information literacy classes. Most accommodate about 25-30 students and allow pairs of students to share a computer for a hands-on learning experience. For large classes, we can save your tutorial time by speaking to everyone at once right in your lecture hall.

In order to cover even the basics, we require at least an hour of either lecture or tutorial time. Lectures tend to be focussed on general orientation to York University Libraries and the overarching research process. Workshops tend to be more focussed on providing hands-on opportunities for searching in relevant finding tools like the library catalogue or specific periodical indexes. We also offer lectures or workshops dealing with more conceptual and critical issues, such as the evaluation of sources, the nature of and distinctions between scholarly publications, or in-depth looks at particular specialized tools for research.

Book early…

The advent of the Internet, the growing size of our collections, and the increasing number of demands being made on students, all mean that professors are calling on us more frequently to speak to their classes. In spite of this, however, the number of librarians available for guest lectures is not growing.

For scheduling purposes, we ideally require at least two weeks notice for any class. If possible, we also ask that professors supply us with a current course syllabus and list of assignments; having this material allows us to customize our workshops and lectures so that we meet students at point of need. The fall and winter terms are very busy for us. If you call and discover that we have reached our maximum number of classes for a given week, we would encourage you to consider an alternate week and, if that is not possible, to use of our online tutorials and guides.

To request a lecture or workshop from a librarian, please visit this web site to identify who you need to contact. Note that most libraries provide the name of a librarian to contact, though Scott Reference also gives you the option of requesting a class using an online form.

Integrating the session into your course …

Over the years librarians have seen some sessions work and others fail. The best sessions tend to be ones where the professor has contextualized our session for the students. In other words, the students and librarian should know why we are there. Even more importantly, the session tends to be of no or little value to the students if they don’t have some immediate reason to practice the skills we’ve shared with them in the session. A well-designed library research assignment is an essential counterpart to our sessions. For more information on designing an effective library research assignment, take a look at our guide. We are also happy to consult with you on the design of the assignment and to speak with you before the session to clarify our respective learning objectives for the session.

Show up! …

Students take our workshops or lectures much more seriously when their course director and/or teaching assistant attends the session.

For more information on how best to collaborate with the libraries’ instruction programs, please contact our Information Literacy Librarian, Sophie Bury.