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16. Using the Library Assignment

The goal of this assignment is to get students comfortable doing research independently in the library. It has the secondary goal of helping students see that books, journals, and online databases can serve as resources for one another. If I can, I invite a research librarian come to class and lead us in a workshop on using the library before we begin. I find they are much better at explaining how to use databases than I am.

When I originally did this activity, I would assign it as homework, but I found that doing it in class was beneficial for two reasons.

  1. I was teaching at a community college and my students had a difficult time getting on campus and finding the library.
  2. The time with my students at the library afforded me the chance to have casual conversations about their projects as we looked for the sources they needed.

The worksheet is linked here and you are free to use and adapt it. You even get to see how many tabs I have open at any given time. The activity is rather simple:

  1. Use the online catalogue to find a book on your topic.
  2. Go to the shelves, find that book or another book on your topic from the same part of the library.
  3. Find the bibliography and identify a journal article the author used to write the book.
  4. Find the article in the library’s online database.
  5. Write a short reflection piece on your experience using the library.

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