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Iowa State University

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Library Instruction


The mission of the ISU Library's Instruction Program is to advance the information literacy of Iowa State University students and faculty, addressing both immediate curricular needs and lifelong learning. Information literacy is defined as knowing how best to access, evaluate, and ethically use information for a broad range of purposes. The desired learning outcomes of the Instruction Department include helping patrons learn how to know what kind of information is needed; to know the broad range of information resources that are likely to provide the necessary information, and what are the best means to gather that information; to evaluate critically the information that's found; to think critically in incorporating the new information into one's work, and to use that information ethically and appropriately.

Components of the Instruction Department

Library 160

Library 160 is a 1 credit-bearing course required of all undergraduates at ISU. Students in Library 160 learn basic information literacy concepts and research skills, focusing on knowing the broad range of available information resources, and learning how to use web search engines, library catalogs, and periodical indexes to best advantage. Understanding plagiarism and how to avoid it, evaluating web resources, understanding citations, Library of Congress subject headings and call numbers are also included.

Library Guides

Library Guides include course-related instruction guides, research guides aimed to help you get started with research in a specific subject area, information literacy guides, and other instruction guides on topics such as using EndNote. Course-specific Guides help faculty introduce their students to discipline-based research databases, print resources and authoritative websites relevant to class needs and assignments. Partnering with a subject librarian, the faculty member can tailor resource lists for specific projects or assignments, and also arrange for the librarian to deliver in-class instruction sessions and work individually with students needing research assistance. To initiate a collaboration or to learn more about Guides, contact your subject librarian, or Susan Vega Garcia, Head of Instruction.

Course-Related Instruction

In-class course-related instruction sessions are also offered by subject librarians. These sessions focus on introducing students to subject-based research materials relevant to their class or discipline, and learning the best means to gather and evaluate information from them. Depending on availability, the sessions may allow students to have hands-on practice with the databases and resources being introduced. Course-related instruction sessions often include a course-specific library Guide. To arrange for an in-class course-related instruction session, faculty should contact the subject librarian in their area at least two weeks prior to the date the instruction is desired.


The Library's Reserve Processing staff work with hundreds of faculty and courses each semester, and place faculty course reserve lists online in the Library. The vast majority of course reserve material is available full-text online via course reserve lists. However, a small "hard copy" reserve collection maintained at the Circulation Desk of Parks Library, includes books, DVDs, and other items. Faculty wanting to place items on reserve for their courses can submit requests via online forms found on the Reserve web pages or come in person to meet with Reserve Processing staff in Room 140, Parks Library.

Distance Learning

The Instruction Department is strengthening the Library's distance learning outreach by consolidating information relevant to ISU students and faculty in DL courses in one easy to access place.

Tours & Research Visits

Tours of the ISU Library can be arranged for groups of ISU students, staff and faculty, as well as for alumni and other adult groups, when these can be accommodated. Request tours at least two weeks in advance of the desired tour. 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.

Questions or Comments? Contact:

Susan A. Vega García, Head of Instruction
Phone: (515) 294-4052

Iowa State University

University Library, Ames, Iowa 50011, Email Webmaster
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