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This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries LibGuides

Information Literacy Instruction: Planning an Instruction Session

Auburn University Libraries' Information Literacy Program

Plan an Information Literacy Instruction Session

Make an appointment with the subject librarian in your discipline, or contact the Information Literacy Program by email at


Information Literacy Instruction Policy & Procedures

  • Provide at least two weeks' notice and at least one planning meeting for in-person library instruction sessions.
  • Have a relevant assignment for the instruction session. Students are more engaged and interested in library instruction when it is relevant to an assignment. 
  • Send a copy of any relevant assignments and the course syllabi to your subject librarian so they can plan the most applicable instruction session for your students.
  • Your presence at the instruction session is required unless otherwise discussed with your subject librarian.

Developing Research Assignments

Consult with your subject librarian when creating research assignments. Librarians keep up with trends in research and publishing which can affect students' access to information.

Tips for creating effective research assignments... 

  • make space for instruction throughout the entire research process, not just while searching for resources
  • require students to think critically about information
  • Provide to students in writing the types of sources they should use
  • Focus on the content of information, not the format in which it's delivered; for example, a print source isn't necessarily more credible than an online source
  • Ensure that sources you ask students to locate in the library are owned by the library
  • Place items on reserve if all students will be asked to use the same source
  • Refer to databases by their individual names, not by their vendor names; for example, "Academic Search Premier" is the name of a database, while EBSCO is the vendor name

Things to avoid when creating research assignments...

  • Treasure or scavenger hunts; these types of assignments focus on discrete answers and do not require students to work with information in a meaningful or relevant way
  • Relying on tours of the library; this will not teach students all they need to know about the library and research
  • Using words like "scholarly," "reliable," or "credible" to describe sources without explaining what that source is in the context of your course or discipline

What to Expect

Subject librarians want to collaborate with you to create a targeted and relevant instruction session, rather than a standardized, one-shot session that is more generalized. When working with a subject librarian to plan an information literacy instruction session, you can expect to have a conversation about:

  • How many students are in your course and their fields of study
  • What your learning outcomes are for the course, and for a specific instruction session
  • What skills, critical thinking outcomes, tools, etc. you expect students to be able to use after an instruction session
  • If this instruction will be ongoing, a one-time session, what format you would like (online or in-person), etc.