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Pilgrim Library Instruction Philosophy & Student Learning Goals

Library Instruction at Defiance college strives to develop the information literacy skills of all students through programing that supports the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) framework and definition:
"Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning."



The four goals and specific outcomes listed below are proposed to enhance students’ understanding of the research process and are based on the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The Pilgrim Library works in collaboration with faculty across all divisions to help students develop the skills necessary to achieve these learning outcomes by the time they graduate from Defiance College.


Definition: Students will be able to strategically develop a plan for their information needs using library resources.

Rationale: In order to find the information they need, students must first be able to clearly define their information need and understand what resources are available to them.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Identify library services and resources in order to develop a realistic overall plan for research.
  • Use general information resources to increase familiarity with the topic and disciplinary vocabulary.
  • Define the research topic, question, or thesis to achieve a manageable focus appropriate to the assignment criteria, available resources, and evidence needed to support the thesis.
  • Identify keywords, synonyms, and related terms in order to flexibly search information resources.
  • Identify the range of source types available (such as peer-reviewed journals, newspaper articles, books, reference sources, etc.), as well as their distinguishing characteristics and intended audiences, in order to select those appropriate based on the information need.
  • Identify the features and content of different research tools (such as databases, catalogs, and websites) in order to search those most appropriate to the information need.
  • Develop a strategy for persisting in information seeking despite challenges in order to overcome potential roadblocks in research.


Definition: Students will effectively search information resources, modify their search or topic when necessary, seek out sources from diverse perspectives, and record what they have found.

Rationale: In an era of information abundance, students need to be able to focus on the appropriate sources and target their search effectively in order to find the most relevant information. It is also important that they seek out diverse points of view in order to broaden their perspectives.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Identify and use language, controlled vocabulary or search features appropriate to the research tool in order to retrieve relevant results.
  • Narrow, broaden, or modify their search, research topic, question, or thesis based on initial search results.
  • Seek resources from diverse perspectives in order to broaden their frame of reference.
  • Select appropriate means for recording or saving relevant sources in order to retrieve them when needed.
  • Observe and use pointers to additional information (authors, footnotes, bibliographies, controlled vocabulary, etc.) in order to locate additional sources.
  • Devise a system for keeping up with the latest research on their topic(s).


Definition: Students will critically evaluate information sources for relevance, accuracy, quality, timeliness, authority, and context as well as appraising whether they have sufficient support for their argument.

Rationale: In order to develop an informed community, users of information must be able to critically evaluate what is presented to them.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Examine a work’s citation and abstract in order to determine its relevance to their research
  • Critically examine sources for depth of coverage, quality, and validity in order to select those appropriate to the information need.
  • Recognize the cultural, physical, social and historical contexts of an information source in order to understand how they influence the content.


Definition: Students will demonstrate ethical behavior through their use and creation of information.

Rationale: Cognizance of one’s ethical responsibility to others is critical to developing social responsibility.  When students understand the impact of scholarly communications and see themselves as contributors to a larger conversation, they will better understand the responsibility that comes with participation in that conversation.

Specific Outcomes:

  • Recognize issues related to privacy, ethics, intellectual property and copyright in order to respect the rights of others, comply with laws and contracts, or safeguard personal information.
  • Provide attribution using an appropriate citation style when quoting or
    paraphrasing the ideas of others in order to acknowledge the research sources used.
  • Apply the author’s intended meaning when quoting or paraphrasing in order to
    accurately represent content.


ACRL. (Feb. 2, 2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Retrieved from 

Instruction Checklist

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  1. Contact the Lead Librarian to schedule a session. Please try to schedule at least 10 days in advance to allow for session preparation time.
  2. Provide a copy of the research assignment and your syllabus to the Lead Librarian. This will allow us to prepare the most relevant session possible for your students.
  3. Share resources & topics that you would like included in the session. 
  4. Attend the session with your students. Your attendance emphasizes the importance of the session. Students will also be able to ask you questions about the research project that cannot be answered by a librarian.

Benefits of Library Instruction

Library instruction benefits you and your students.  We aim to support your teaching efforts by working in partnership and reinforcing critical information fluency skills.  We can make sure your students know how to research and use library resources. We also want to work with you to ensure that students know how to evaluate and use information effectively and ethically. The skills we focus on will not only help them succeed in your class, but throughout the rest of their college career and lives.

Don't believe us? Here are some quotes about library instruction from DC students:
  • "It is really hard for me to ask for help so having these sessions is perfect because I get the help I need without having to ask."
  • "They (the sessions) weren't general, they were pretty in-depth, so I figured out a lot of stuff I would never have known without it, like searching for journal articles and more."
  • "Doing the library sessions has made me more comfortable writing and doing research for papers."
  • "It was helpful to have the library in a sense come to us. That took a little bit out of the embarassment of not understanding the process."
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