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Instructional Services

Thomas Cooper Library, Research & Instruction Department, Instructional Services

About Instructional Services

The Research & Instruction Department's instructional services focus on developing the information literacy abilities of students as outlined in national standards.

Information literacy, as defined in the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, defines information literacy as "..the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning."

Furthermore, instructional services aim to equip students with transferable skills that can be applied to academic, career, and lifelong learning pursuits.

Library Instruction

Library instruction sessions can cover topics such as developing search strategies, identifying source types, selecting and searching general or discipline specific databases, locating and accessing e-books and print books, evaluating information for reliability and accuracy, and more.  The following list is not exhaustive and topics covered are dependent on several factors including what you hope your students will take away from the library instruction session, length of session, and prior exposure to library resources and services. 

Search Strategies 

Broad and narrow aspects of a topic

Databases that can help students further refine a topic (i.e. Opposing Viewpoints in Context)

Identify keywords and synonyms 

Create a database search statement

Identify Source Types

Discuss publication process

Compare and contract academic/peer reviewed and popular sources

Compare and contrast primary and secondary sources

Classic Catalog Search & Quick Search

Locate and access books in print and e-books

Locate and access films including streaming films

Request books from other South Carolina academic libraries using PASCAL

General Databases

Introduction to databases such as Academic Search Complete

Use general databases to locate articles and other sources

Database navigation including locating full-text and emailing sources

Discipline Specific Databases

Identify and select subject specific databases

Unique search features specific to subject specific databases

Reading Citations & Locating Sources from Citations

Identify parts of a citation

Determine common source types (i.e. book, book chapter, journal article, dissertation, etc.) from a citation

Determine if University Libraries has access to a source

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) adopted a new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in January 2016. Rather than taking a standards-based approach to information literacy instruction, the Framework offers a series of interconnected core concepts about information, research, and scholarship.

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards

ACRL has also drafted information literacy standards for a variety of disciplines taught at colleges and universities. These standards predate the adoption of the Framework and take a more prescriptive approach to the enumeration of information literacy competencies than the Framework does. Nevertheless, we believe that instructors working in these subject areas can still find guidance and inspiration from these documents when attempting to integrate information literacy instruction into a curriculum.