Integrating Library Instruction into the Curriculum

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about library instruction. The art history department at my university has invited me to help develop a new course, tentatively titled “Information Technology for the Art Historian.” The course will focus on a variety of skills that are needed to be successful academically, such as conducting research, acquiring and using images, preparing presentations, and writing research papers. I’m really excited about this opportunity to include the library in the art history curriculum!

There seems to be a trend toward integrating library instruction in the curriculum, rather than the more traditional one-shot approach to library instruction. At the recent ARLIS/NA conference, I attended a discussion group that focused on making library instruction an integral part of student’s educational experience. Some suggestions included, using assessment tools such as Survey Monkey for pre-and post-testing during library instruction, incorporating games and group-work, and using visual mapping/mind mapping to teach the research process.

I’m wondering what other tips and tricks librarians can try to make the research process fun and interesting for students, especially in a semester-long course. Has your library integrated library instruction into course curriculum or developed a course (either required or for extra credit) for students at your institution? If so, what challenges and successes have you experienced?


  1. In the latest ACRL IS newsletter [PDF], they feature Bucknell University’s World War II Poster Project.

    The project won the 2009 ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award, and it was a six-week embedded learning module that relied on an “intense collaboration between faculty, librarians, archivists, and technologists.”

    It’s interesting that, not only did they use various facets of information literacy instruction, they also had students create a digital repository of WWII poster images. In doing so, they also taught the students “the importance of arranging and describing information”–something usually reserved for beginning MLIS students.

  2. For everyone reading this thread, there are a couple of really good resources out there for instruction (especially for ARLIS folks).

  3. I’ve seen some nice Wikipedia assignments in the past two or three years that assign students the responsibility of creating a new Wikipedia page. It is a good assignment, because it covers how to cite different kinds of media and reference sources, authorship of research sources, etc. And there’s the added pressure that the student’s work is then a live document for all to see and use.

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