First Year Library Research
Having First-Year students come to see library research as the academic norm is very important at Concordia. Students’ use of library resources results in better quality academic work, and their contact with librarians increases academic performance for first-year students. According to Kuh and Gonyea, "institutions that set high standards for academic work seem to impel students to use a variety of intellectual resources actively, including the library. As a result, students who frequently use library resources are also more likely to work harder than they thought they could to meet a faculty member’s expectations…” (267).
The Library Instruction Program is structured around a list of learning outcomes that librarians have carefully laddered through the Inquiry courses. The program begins with a peer-led tour of the library during Orientation Week, acquainting students with the library building and with the librarians.
Early in fall semester, students then have a Library Launch, which is a hands-on learning opportunity embedded in the Inquiry Seminar. In this session, students are introduced to a few of the library’s basic subscription databases, learn about different research tools, and begin to see the need for evaluating resources critically before using them in their research papers. These introductory library sessions, along with the Inquiry Matters text, create a foundation for students who are novice academic researchers.
Many faculty members also schedule subsequent library instruction sessions during the first year. Some of these sessions are scheduled in the Inquiry Seminar, and are linked to a specific course assignments. Other First-Year library instruction sessions take place in various 100-level classes, introducing students to research expectations within particular disciplines. Some goals for these instruction sessions can include teaching students search techniques to refine a topic, having them utilize Reference sources to build searches, and teaching them strategies for coping with either “too many” search results or the dreaded “I can’t find anything on my topic” problem.
Kuh, George D., and Robert M. Gonyea. “The Role of the Academic Library in Promoting Student Engagement in Learning” College & Research Libraries 64.4 (2003): 256-282. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text. Web. 26 May 2011.