Library Instruction Overview

Coordinator: Jeffrey Kushkowski, 515 294-2408, kushkows@iastate.edu,

Our Mission: ISU librarians and the Library's Instruction Services staff teach information literacy concepts and research skills that enable researchers at all levels to identify, access and use high-quality information. The Library's instruction services advance the land-grant mission of the University and support the teaching and learning needs of ISU faculty, staff, and students. 

Lib 160: Information Literacy: At the undergraduate level, we teach an effective and successful information literacy foundations course that is a graduation requirement. The course examines the use of research libraries and information resources, with an emphasis on finding, evaluating, and using scholarly information. See the Library 160 class guide for more information. 

Work with us! The Library 160 course is just the beginning of our instructional outreach to students. For many of our undergraduate and graduate instruction efforts, we rely on collaborations with ISU faculty and instructors. Librarians can work with instructors and faculty to integrate information literacy concepts and Library resources into your ISU courses in several ways:

Online Research and Course Guides

The ISU Library's liaison librarians are subject specialists who create and update Research Guides for many subject areas taught at ISU. These guides provide information about locating research-specific research databases, journals, print resources, and authoritative websites in disciplinary areas.

ISU librarians can also partner with instructors to develop course-specific Class Guides that will introduce their students to information resources that are relevant to class needs and specific assignments. Partnering with a liaison librarian, instructors can tailor resources for specific projects or assignments.

The Library’s online guides are listed in the Research & Course Guides tab on the Library website. Instructors can also embed research guides and course guides in their Canvas classes to give students direct access to library resources.

In Canvas, you can also visit the My Library space (under Help section in global menu) to review the helpful Library tools we've made available for you to embed into your Canvas course pages. Adding the “ISU Library Resources” page in your course level navigation bar will provide your students with relevant guides, databases, and links to their liaison librarian.

To initiate a collaboration or to learn more about course-specific Class Guides, contact your liaison librarian or Jeffrey Kushkowski, Instruction and Information Services Coordinator.

Course-related instruction sessions

You can collaborate with your liaison librarian to teach or co-teach an in-class course-related instruction session. These sessions focus on introducing your students to subject-focused research materials relevant to your class or discipline. Students also learn strategies to effectively gather and evaluate scholarly information. Whenever possible, active learning strategies and a student-centered approach are customary.  When you collaborate with a librarian, you can also opt for the course-related instruction session(s) taught by your librarian to take place in one of the Library's computer labs, allowing students to have authentic hands-on practice with the databases, resources, and activities being introduced.

To arrange for an in-class course-related instruction session, please contact your liaison librarian at least two weeks prior to the date the instruction is desired. The earlier the contact, the more you and your librarian can discuss your student learning goals, assignments, and plan meaningfully toward the desired outcomes.

Course Reserves

The Library's Course Reserves Processing staff work with hundreds of faculty and courses each semester, and will link instructors' Course Reserve lists online in the Library website. Digital items that instructors request will be linked on these lists.  Any books, DVDs, and other physical items requested will be listed on the Course Reserve list and available for students to request at the Library's Circulation Desk.

Instructors wanting to place items on Reserve for their courses can submit requests via the online forms found on the Course Reserves web pages or come in person to meet with Reserve Processing staff at the Parks Library Circulation Desk. Library research and class guides are also linked to Course Reserves lists.

Distance & Online Learning

The Library continues to strengthen our distance & online learning outreach by consolidating information relevant to ISU students and faculty in DL courses in one easy to access place.  We especially recommend all distance learning students review our Distance Learning Guide to learn how to access our library resources and services from off-campus and to review our instructional materials that cover the most asked-about basics. 

Embed your Librarian!

Your liaison librarian can also work with your distance or fully online course! You can enroll your librarian into your Canvas or Moodle course for providing feedback to students in discussion boards or blogs, or work with your librarian to develop a live or archived instruction session via Adobe Connect or other video conferencing software. Contact your liaison librarian for more information.

Online instruction resources

Flipping your course? Interested in collaborating with us to develop Library tutorials and online library instruction resources for you and your students to use?  Contact Jeffrey Kushkowski, Instruction and Information Services Coordinator.

Tours and research visits

The Library's Instruction Department coordinates annual Freshman Orientation tours as well as tours for new international students.  New faculty and staff wishing to have a tour should contact their liaison librarian for a specialized tour and review of the collection resources and services for the relevant subject area. 

For non-ISU groups, tours of the ISU Library can be arranged for groups of alumni and other adult groups, when these can be accommodated. Request tours at least two weeks in advance of the desired tour.  Contact Jody Kalvik for more information.  See also our Tours and Research Visits page.

Note that ISU Class instruction needs are best met through instruction sessions (see above) rather than a building tour. Visiting high school classes planning a research day in the ISU Library will also want to review our Research Visits guidelines, and make arrangements well in advance of the planned visit.

Train the trainer

No time for Library instruction in your course? Contact your liaison librarian to discuss and refresh your own skill sets so that you can address the information literacy and library research issues relevant to your course assignments. Library databases, resources, and services change frequently and you'll want to be up to date.  Your students will thank you!  We look forward to working with you!

Other Library instruction

See also:  Library 160 

See also:  Library Workshops