About Library Instruction

Why We Teach

The ability to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively is critical for today’s students to flourish in academic, professional, and everyday life. Yet as sources of information continue to increase in number and complexity, these critical skills –referred to collectively  as information literacy – become more difficult for students to learn independently.

What We Teach

Washington University Libraries offers classes, presentations, and workshops to prepare students for self-directed critical inquiry. These instruction sessions are available in your classroom, in the library, or online and are taught by the appropriate library staff member.

While many courses have an assigned class librarian or subject librarian, in-person and online instruction is also available via our Instruction Request Form.  If you’d like to use materials in Special Collections, please complete and submit a Special Collections Request.

How We Teach

Since learning to find, evaluate, and use information is most effective in the authentic context of a course assignment.  Library instruction is most successful when the course instructor and librarian work together to clarify learning outcomes, schedule the instruction, and identify specific abilities or resources to cover.

Information Literacy

While our library instruction is customized to specific needs, we also consider the standards and concepts recognized by The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Specifically, we apply the  Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) and the more recent Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2014) to design our instruction so that students gain a greater understanding of “the reflective discovery of information, how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.”

Library Instruction Statistics

Fiscal Year FY14 FY15
Library sessions 646 677
Attendees 8,583 8,033