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Library Instruction

This guide provides goals, activities, planning tools, and instruction resources for planning and delivering instruction at Brooks Library.

Reading Suggestions

Carder, Linda; Patricia Willingham; David Bibb. “Case-based, problem-based learning: informa tion literacy for the real world. ” Research Strategies, 18 (2001) 181 - 90.

Gedeon, Randle. “Enhancing a Large Lecture with Active Learning.” Research Strategies, 15 (1997): 301 - 9.

Watkins, K., & Elder, K. (2006). The Google Game. School Library Journal , 52(1), 52 - 54.


Title:    Think, Pair, Share*
Activity: Pose a question or problem to the class and give each student a short time to think about the question and write down some possible solutions. Have students pair up to discuss their thoughts. After the students have had an opportunity to discuss in small groups, come back together as a class and ask for volunteers to share their ideas.
Audience:  Anyone
Time:  5-15 minutes
Tech Needed:

 No tech required, but could be added


Flipped Classroom*   

Activity: After demonstrating how to search something, give the students time at the end or in the middle of a session to search for something for their research. After 5 minutes or when everyone has found something, ask a volunteer to come up and demonstrate how they found their article/newspaper/monograph.



10-15 minutes

Tech Needed:

Individual computers and projector.


Search Limiters


Provide the class with a topic to search for, example "Mozart". Have everyone search the same database, or assign databases to sections of the room. Have a 5 minute search where the point is to see how everyone can limit the search down to a specific topic about Mozart. The point is to practice using search terms as a narrowing tool. Follow up with a conversation about how many results people ended up with and what they used to get there.




5-10 mintues

Tech Needed:

Individual computers.   


Cephelonian Method*


"Prior to class, prepare index cards with questions relating to the material you plan to cover in your session (i.e. How do I locate books in the stacks?; What is a subject guide? ) Color code or number each index card. As the students arrive, randomly pass out the index cards to the class. During your presentation, use the cards as a way of generating student participation. At the appropriate time in your presentation, call out a number or color and have the student holding that card read the question aloud. Use the student’s question as an opportunity to discuss the library’s services and resources or to cover simple information literacy concepts. This method is a good way of incorporating humor into a lesson as well."




10-45 minutes

Tech Needed:



Website Evaluation


Select two websites/sources (for example, Science Daily vs. Popular Science). Conduct a side-by-side comparison of the two resources. Talk about what to look for when evaluating whether it’s a reliable source: Who is the author? Who is the audience? (look to the venue of publication) How recent is it? Has this been evaluated by anyone else? Can be done as one big group, or on individual computers.




5-10 minutes


*McKeen, Lauren. Library Instructors' Toolkit. Northwestern University.

Types of Active Learning

The goal of active learning is to engage students in the learning process through doing and experience. Active learning does not translate into everyone doing cardio in a computer lab. Think of it as anything that's not lecture. Here are some methods of engagement:


This could be as simple as asking the class questions during the lecture. "If I wanted to get less results, what search techniques could I use?" Discussion can be done as a large group, or you can break the class out into small groups. "In teams of 3, compile a list of resource evaluation methods that you find most valuable. Then we'll regroup and come up with a master list on the whiteboard."

Small Group

Having students work in teams is another way to incorporate active learning. Design a small problem, search, evaluation project that requires them to work together to complete a task.

Individual Work

Allowing students to work by themselves to start or further a research project can give them a chance to  use some of the techniques you just demonstrated. 

Suggested Books