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Information Literacy & Instruction

All about D'Amour information literacy and instructional program.

D'Amour Library has a robust information literacy program that includes first-year, discipline-specific and graduate instruction.

Goals of the program are to develop in Western New England students:

  • The ability to access relevant sources to fit an information need.
  • The ability to critically evaluate information and its origins to satisfy an information need.
  • The ability to use information in an ethical and legal manner.

To schedule library instruction for a class, please contact us at dref@wne.edu.

Every WNE undergraduate participates in information literacy instruction through their First Year Seminar courses. This instruction addresses the Information Literacy General University Requirement (GUR) by providing a foundation for all incoming students to understand how to use the library's information resources, develop strategies for evaluating information for reliability and creditability, and use information in an ethical and legal manner.

As information literacy is a critical thinking skill that spans all disciplines and develops over time and through multiple exposures, the information literacy program for first year students is an interdisciplinary effort to lay a foundation of basic skills and concepts which students will build upon throughout college.

In the Fall semester, all students receive an introduction to the library and its resources in their LA100, LA110, BUS101 or ENG102 course. These sessions teach students to evaluate popular and scholarly information, and to use library resources to find scholarly materials.

In the Spring, students participate in a focused lab as part of their ENGL133 course, which teaches students to evaluate and find primary and secondary sources.

In addition to the library instruction sessions provided during the First Year Program, D’Amour Library offers curated instruction services in a variety of formats to upper-level and discipline-specific courses.

Topics that can be covered include:

  • Research using subject-specific library databases
  • Strategies for completing literature reviews and systematic searching
  • Primary source research
  • Finding data and statistics
  • Research organization and citation management
  • Media literacy
  • And more!

Instruction sessions have the most impact when pared with an authentic assessment. Instruction can take form of in-person classes, use of online learning objects and tutorials, or one-on-one appointments with students. To discuss the best format for your course, get in touch with a librarian today!

The following practices have been found by D'Amour librarians to result in improved success of library instruction sessions:

  • Instruction should complement defined learning objectives and outcomes.
  • In upper level instruction, avoid repeating lessons from GUR courses.
  • Timing of an instruction session is important - 'just in time' not 'just in case.' Sessions later in the semester can have a bigger impact.
  • Pair instruction with an assignment that represents a performative or authentic assessment. Students should be given the assignment in advance of the session.
  • Set clear expectations for citation and plagiarism.
  • Be aware of the cognitive load that library work can place on students - limit instruction to 3-4 major concepts per session.
  • Should encourage self-reflection about the learning process.

The following resources may be helpful for faculty who wish to learn more about information literacy and its benefits: