Designing Effective Library Assignments

Putting Library Research in Context

An effective library assignment does more than just get students into the Library and into the stacks. It should, ideally, both flow from and advance the goals of the course as a whole. While "scavenger hunt" style assignments have been used to introduce their students to a variety of sources, unless designed carefully, these assignments do not always provide the kind of experience that make the sources meaningful to students or help them understand how they might use these materials for their research. The most effective library assignments are those that directly relate to texts or other assignments.

How Librarians Can Help

Subject bibliographers or reference librarians can help faculty design assignments meaningful to students and also can advise faculty if the assignment needs advanced preparation. In addition, the librarians can be aware of the project and be prepared to assist students when they come for assistance.

In many cases the collaborative relationship between an instructor and a librarian can result in assignments and class sessions that help further the goals of the class, allow students to understand the role of the Library in their College experience, and stimulate class discussion. Here are some examples of how the Library worked with faculty on class assignments:

To learn more about how the Library can be integrated into your course, contact the Library.