Healey Library

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Library Instruction

What has traditionally been called library research has become increasingly complex in today’s world. In support of the teaching mission of the university, Healey Library offers a variety of programs and services to help UMass Boston students engage in key, lifelong, critical thinking and information-seeking skills. 

Custom, Course-Integrated Library Instruction Classes

A reference-instruction librarian will meet with your class in your classroom or in the library’s hands-on Center for Library Instruction. Students will learn to maximize their information literacy skills and effectively use and evaluate relevant print and electronic resources. Each session is tailored to your students, the course subject, and your assignment.

  • Course-integrated library instruction is most effective when students have a project to complete for a grade. 
  • Classes typically range from 50 minutes to 1.5 hours.
  • When a lot of material is to be covered, it is recommended that two class sessions be scheduled.

Contact Healey’s Reference-Instruction-Outreach Librarians

How We Can Work With You

  • Information literacy instruction is most effective when it is fully integrated into the goals of your class.
  • We can help you design an effective research assignment that introduces your students to the most useful, logistically feasible resources.
  • We can help you determine the most appropriate type of library instruction: class session, part of a class session, online research guides, print handouts, tutorials, etc.
  • You can schedule library instruction to coincide with the time when students are working on their research assignments and are most motivated to learn.
  • We usually provide instruction in our library classrooms, but we can and will come to your classroom.
  • We know the information resources, but you know your students. We need your presence and involvement in the planning and teaching of a library session to ensure that your students will be actively engaged.
  • With your help, we can stay in touch with your students to provide follow-up assistance after the library session through e-mail and individual consultations.

How We Do It

The following goals, based on ACRL's Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, guide the design of all instructional modules developed for our program:

  • Teach students to define their information needs, identify and select appropriate sources of information, and to evaluate these sources in terms of relevance, reliability, and objectivity.
  • Teach students strategies, as well as mechanical skills, for information seeking.
  • Teach students information seeking as a process that involves critical thinking and decision making.
  • Integrate hands-on learning techniques, including in-class exercises and database searching, using our computer-equipped classroom.

Tips for an Effective Library Instruction Experience

The following provisions can help us create an engaging learning atmosphere and conduct relevant library instruction:

  • Provide students with their assignment before the library instruction session. Library sessions are most effective after students have chosen research topics and when they have an immediate and concrete need for the information literacy skills we teach.
  • Provide us with students' paper topics in advance of the library session so that they can be used as examples during the instruction session
  • Provide us instructions about the types of resources needed to complete assignment. For example: books, popular articles and/or peer-reviewed articles, newspaper articles, etc.
  • Your presence is requested so that you are aware of the sources we've shown and the issues we've discussed and will also be able to answer questions about the assignment. Your presence also indicates to students that the library session is an integral part of the course and demonstrates the importance of faculty-librarian collegiality to you students.

How to Get Started & Get More Information

Effective library instruction takes time to prepare and is in great demand. To ensure that your students will get the instruction they need when they need it, please contact us as far in advance as possible.

Contact Info