Library Instruction at NMSU:
A Guide for Faculty, Instructors, and Teaching Assistants

Why library instruction? | What is library instruction? | What is available? | Scheduling an instruction session | Tips for effective library research assignments  

Why library instruction?

In the Information Age, library research has become increasingly complex. Today the NMSU Library offers various databases that lead students not only to information found in the NMSU Library but also to vast resources of information available from libraries, archives, and databases around the world. Because most students come to NMSU with little or no knowledge of how to access information, library instruction is a crucial part of their university education.


What is library instruction?

Library instruction is not touring library buildings. Instead, NMSU Library offers a program of hands-on instruction that promotes effective use of the library and other information resources. Library instruction gives students the skills to locate, use, and evaluate information. These skills lead to increased academic success, better papers, and higher quality research projects while reducing library anxiety and the incidence of plagiarism.


What is available?

Basic Library Skills
English 111 students receive instruction in basic library skills: searching the library's online catalog, using basic periodical indexes (InfoTrac and WilsonSelect), and developing library research strategies.
Course-specific Instruction
Course-specific instruction is available for all NMSU undergraduate and graduate courses. Working in cooperation with you, a librarian familiar with your subject area provides instruction tailored to the needs of your course.
Small-group Instruction
Groups of NMSU students may schedule a library instruction session. Small-group instruction is especially beneficial when a group of interested students wants to learn to use a specific information tool (a database, the catalog, a periodical index) or wishes to learn about a specific area of the library (Government Documents, Archives, Special Collections).
Drop-in Workshops
Each semester the Library offers workshops on topics (such as advanced Web searching or citation styles) related to students' research needs. Schedules of topics, times, and locations are posted at the start of each semester. Reservations are not required.
Outreach Programs
Librarians provide orientation or instruction for NMSU groups, including those from diverse cultural or educational backgrounds
Beginning of the Semester Tours
During the first two weeks of every semester, the library gives tours. Tours last 20-30 minutes and are publicized in advance. 
Distance Education Classes
Librarians are happy to work with you using whatever technologies you are employing to provide library instruction for DE classes.
Library Publications
Library research guides are published for various subjects ranging from art to education to engineering. A number of guides to the library's databases and other information tools are also available. Publications are kept on display racks in the reference areas of both library buildings.  
Assistance in Designing Library Research Assignments
If you are planning a library research assignment, please consult with a librarian while drafting it. Librarians can give you lots of tips on resource availability and students' information skills.

Scheduling an Instruction Session

Because library instruction sessions require planning, preparation, and reservation of the library's instruction rooms, you should arrange library instruction sessions as far in advance as possible. Have a back-up date in mind in case your first choice of date is not available.

You should be present at the scheduled session to help answer students' questions and reinforce the importance of learning to use the library.

Given the complexity of today's information universe, you may want to schedule multiple sessions to cover research strategies and processes, as well as evaluation of materials.

Contact the Instruction Coordinator at 646-3079 or, for more information or to schedule an instruction session.

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Page last updated on Monday, August 13, 2009 10:46:05