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Instruction Ideas and Activities: First Years

For RIO Librarians to share ideas

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Spartan Searching guide - Rebecca @ Manchester

Manchester University's first year seminar program is topic based.  To provide first year instruction to a wide breath of topics a Guide on the Side was created to teach "Spartan Search" was developed.  The guide, along with a EBSCO guide, are linked on the local LMS and required as part of the first year seminar course.  Each student must complete the guide and submit a certificate, which is then sent to a librarian by email.


At the start of class, pass out index cards and ask each student to write a question they have about the library. Usually, they will ask questions you were already going to answer, so you can hold up the card when you answer that question. This exercise almost always yields great questions whose answers are useful for the entire class. This is a great activity for a class without a true "library" assignment.

LC Overview - Jenny Colvin, Furman

LC exercise

  • Divide students into groups of 2-3
  • 12 LC areas
    • Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Religion, World History, Medicine, Language & Literature, Education, Psychology, Technology, Political Science, Science, Music
  • Ask the students: What are specific topics you would expect to find under each broad category?
  • Each group picks an area that most interests them.
  • The group goes to find a book in that area by browsing
  • Gather, show topic and call number for book

Library iTour -- Eric @ Goshen

At Goshen College all first years take CORE 100: Identity and Culture in Community.  There are three library pieces: a physical orientation of the library building, a LMS (Moodle) library workshop on basic searching mechanics, and a library class session on basic evaluation.  For the physical orientation of the library building we developed a "iTour" where students use their iPads to visit several places throughout the library facility.  Students begin by clicking on a QR code on their iPads and then are guided throughout the building.  Each station has a stuffed animal and QR code to direct students to the next area.

Librarian Info

Information Fluency Coordinators's picture
Information Fluency Coordinators
Ruth Szpunar and Eric Bradley coordinate PALNI collaboration and communication on Reference, Instruction, and Outreach activities and develop best practices. They also assist libraries in providing support, services, and product information for learning, teaching, and research, as well as ways to assess and demonstrate that impact. Eric Bradley is the Head of Research & Instruction for Goshen College's Good Library. Both Ruth and Eric are co-founders of Aestiva Solutions.
Subjects:Events, RIO