The Evaluation of Today's Library Instruction in Colleges and Universities

Paper Type: 
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1236 Words
Date:  2021-03-13

Much debate has been centered upon the evaluation of today's library instruction in both colleges and universities. It normally covers all systems in the library that prove to be relevant in organizing materials as well as conduct research. Information literacy skills, the term replacing library instruction is often taught in one-shot, a once and done class with limited time. So how can librarians make these one-shot sessions more efficient with respect to the objectives outlined in the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Standards? (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2002). Measuring the effectiveness of a one-shot library session poses a lot of challenges, yet is essential in validating time and energy dedicated to a students success.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Literature Review

Research papers are often assigned to students during the freshman English class. This is usually done to determine the students information literacy skills. In recent years, the quality of these papers has been under serious criticism due to the lack of scholarly sources. To address this concern, several studies have been conducted to establish the quality of work submitted by students who have received information instructions through a one-shot library visit. Many students suggest that one-shot library instruction session had a positive impact on student learning and those students after a library instruction session made better judgments concerning their research.

Hovde (2000) evaluated student research bibliographies to examine the types of sources selected and how students skilfully and efficiently make use of those sources. The study was carried out among 109 English papers from freshmen with the objective of determining the characteristics of articles used, type of citations and sources of the citations. Using the information obtained she discovered that students, all of whom received library instruction, were using both books and journal articles from the library database system.

Webster and Rielly (2003) concluded that library instruction indirectly improved student research paper bibliographies quality. Their study focused on the student who participated in library instruction and those who did not, they examine both the student and came to a conclusion that those student who participated in library instruction had the advantage. This is because they showed proper understanding on how to employ the proper use of scholarly materials compared to the other set of students.

Likewise, Emmons and Martin (2002) compared research papers before and after an instruction session and found that one-shot sessions led to an increase in the usage of more academic articles and library databases. However, it was noted that there was little change in how the students used respective sources. On a positive note the study showed slight improvement in the way students chose and found academic materials. This is because students needed to perform a deep and thorough research in order to properly fathom their chosen topics this was catalysed by the limited time frame permitted to them.

Saunders (2003) found that library instructions had positive effects on reference services, students who attended an information literacy instruction session were more likely to ask for references assistance, which Saunders attributed to them becoming more sophisticated library users. The library instruction sections provided an introduction to library databases and taught specific searching skills. Student with the library instruction were more likely to cite scholarly articles, while students without instructions were more likely to cite books. On the other hand, there is a body of evidence that suggest library instruction may not be enough to impact student use of scholarly materials (Mohler 2005). A student needs to have the desire to learn more by him/herself and not rely on instructions alone. They need to have the ability to research deeply using the resources provided to them to understand more on how to use scholarly materials.

Howard et al (2014) wanted to determine the effectiveness of one-shot library research workshops; they did this through the use of database of student search findings. The targeted students were those taking part in an English 101 class. Through their research they found out that attendees of the library have a lower mean of citations in comparison with non-attendees. Hence they concluded that research papers written by freshman who received a library one-shot session, increased library use and information confidence, but not the use of scholarly sources.

Ursine Lindsay and Johnson (2004) analyzed final projects from a freshman seminar in a bid to develop effectual methods that may be used in improving the duty of librarians. They used the rate at which students of Washington State University fully utilized items recommended by the librarian-constructed resource guides. From the data they collected they found out that only 8% of the students used resources recommended by the librarian but were more comfortable with the research process after the session. It was thus concluded that even despite numerous efforts to simplify access to librarian-constructed resource guides most students did not use them.

Portmann and Roush (2004) found that only the use of the library increased as a result of the library session, not the students research skills. This was because students had not yet mastered their research skills. Library has proved to very effective in terms of helping students with their research programs. Over the years, the instruction has equipped student with the necessary knowledge on how to do proper as well as use their new acquired skill to make good use of scholarly materials. Often times, freshman students do not have the ability to effectively evaluate sources and therefore, cite questionable and incorrect sources in the bibliographies. Its effectiveness has been a question to many as to whether it really helps the students achieve their set objectives in terms of research. Thus many surveys have been conducted and its to suffice to say library instruction does give the students the advantage they require.

For librarians who wish to evaluate the behaviour of students who have taken part in an instruction program, the analysis of the research bibliographies can provide some indication of skill. After reading the literature reviews, the debate still continues if the one-shot library session will improve the quality of fresh man students research paper bibliographies. It is high time librarians become serious enough and begins to explore other alternative practises (Martin, 2008). Due to the fact that the librarians are only afforded a small amount of library time with the students, it is imperative that educators commence in investigating some of the best practises for the one-shot sessions.


Emmons, M., & Martin, W. (2002). Engaging conversation: Evaluating the contribution of library instruction to the quality of student research. College & Research Libraries, 63(6), 545-560.

Hovde, K. (2000). Check the citation: Library instruction and student paper bibliographies. Research Strategies 17 (3-9).

Howard, K., Nicholas, T., Hayes, T., &Appelt, C.W. (2014). Evaluating one-shot library sessions: Impact on the quality and diversity of student source use. Community &JuniorCollege Libraries, 20 (1/2), 27-38.

Martin, J. (2008). The information seeking behavior of undergraduate education majors: Does library instruction play a role? Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice, (3), 4-17.

Mohler, B. (2005). Citation analysis as an assessment tool.Science 7 Technology Libraries 25 (4), 57-64.

Portmann, C.A.,& Roush, A.J. (2004). Assessing the effects of library instruction. Journal of Academic of Librarianship, 30, (461-465).

Saunders, S.E. (2003). The effect of bibliographic instruction on the demand for reference services.Portal: Libraries and the Academy,3 35-39.

Ursin, L., Lindsey, E.B.,& Johnson, C.M. (2004). Assessing library instruction in the freshman seminar: A citation analysis study. Reference Services Review 32(3), 284-292.

Webster, J., &Rielly, L. (2003). A library instruction case study: Measuring success from multiple perspectives. Research Stategies, 19 (16-32).

Cite this page

The Evaluation of Today's Library Instruction in Colleges and Universities. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism