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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Library Instruction Program

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Instruction Program Goals

Librarians offer a variety of library instruction sessions for MSU students at all levels, faculty, and advanced high school classes in the University's service region. These sessions are designed to introduce students to a wide range of electronic and print resources as well as to research strategies for the successful completion of class assignments or projects in a field of study.

All sessions are given at the request of the class instructor and are tailored to the assignments and projects for the specific class or major. The library background of the students is also taken into consideration. The librarian conducting the class works closely with the course instructor to develop a session based on the goals and objectives of the course.

Additional goals of the program are to enhance the research skills of students in general and to increase their ability to locate and evaluate information resources effectively. Attendance at one or more of these sessions should benefit students in all of their academic work at the University and as lifelong learners.

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General Sessions for Lower Division Classes

An instruction session is held during the time the class regularly meets and usually lasts fifty minutes. A typical session for beginning and lower division classes may cover some, but not all, of the following:

  • a demonstration of the library catalog and/or journal databases, and explanation of effective searching techniques,
  • a description of library services such as interlibrary loan and reference assistance,
  • an introduction to relevant reference sources,
  • a discussion of the difference between scholarly and popular periodicals,
  • a look at ways to find points of view on a topic,
  • a brief introduction to evaluation of web sites.

Hands-on activities at computers in the library classrooms may be included, using exercises the librarian or class instructor has prepared. Although time does not always allow, a brief tour of the first floor may be given.

Appropriate general library handouts are distributed to the students, and the librarian will frequently prepare special guides related to the class assignment.

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Advanced Sessions

Sessions for upper division and graduate students may include several of the points covered in the general sessions. However, these classes are usually tailored more specifically to the students' major area of study. The sessions may focus on:

  • an introduction to specific subject databases and other library resources essential to the field of study for the class,
  • an in-depth introduction to a specific database of major importance to these students, or
  • extensive hands-on work at the library classroom computers, concentrating on one or a number of databases or on Internet searching.

Sessions such as these are offered to faculty as well. They are often designed to introduce faculty groups to an important new database in their subject fields.

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High School Sessions

Library instruction is also offered to high school classes in the University's service region. Generally, these sessions are designed for advanced level classes with extensive research projects. They will often include the following:

  • an introduction to searching the library catalog and journal databases,
  • hands-on instruction at the library classroom computers, using the students' topics, and
  • a tour of the library, emphasizing how to locate books and periodicals.

Following this introduction, the students will use the library's collections to locate materials for their research. Special arrangements must be made in advance to have a Memorial Library barcode added to the students' public library cards. Please contact Jenny Turner at 507-389-2771 for information about the procedures to be followed in scheduling the visit.

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Online Library Guides (Class & Subject Guides)

Librarians create customized online guides that contain instructions and links to valuable library and information sources for class assignments and research projects. These guides are posted on the Class and Subject Guides section of the Library's web site. To learn more about online library guides, contact Jenny Turner at 507-389-2771 or
See also our LibGuides Use Policy.

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Library Tours, Workshops, and Orientation

Part of the Library Services’ mission is to provide continued outreach to the campus community. In response to this mission, we offer tours and workshops to the university community (students, faculty, and staff) on a first come, first served basis.

Fall 2018 Tours

Take a brief tour of Memorial Library to learn about our labs, study areas, and items you can check out! 

Tours start in the library lobby and are approximately 20 minutes long. 

  • Friday, August 24 from 11am-1pm
  • Monday, August 27 at noon
  • Tuesday, August 28 at noon

Want to schedule a tour or workshop?
Contact Jenny Turner at 507-389-2771 or

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Requesting a Library Instruction Session

If you are an MSU course instructor and wish to schedule a library instruction session for your class, or if you have questions about the program, please contact Jenny Turner by phone at 507-389-2771, via email at, or by filling out the Online Request for Instruction Session. Every effort will be made to respond to your request within one to two working days.

Sessions must be scheduled at least one week in advance to allow time for preparation. If you would prefer to have a specific librarian conduct your session, this will be taken into consideration. However, previous time commitments, an equitable teaching load, and the librarian's subject background must be considered when scheduling sessions.

Points To Remember When Requesting a Session:

  • Provide specific details about the information and skills you want your students to learn.
  • Schedule the session as close as possible to the time your students will work on their library research assignment.
  • Inform your students about the assignment before the session.
  • Provide the librarian conducting the session with a copy of the assignment and/or your class syllabus.
  • Inform the librarian if you have prepared a follow-up library exercise, or request the librarian to provide one if you choose to include this as part of the instruction.
  • Identify an alternative time for your session, if possible, in case of scheduling conflicts.
  • Attend the instruction session with your class.
  • Feel free to participate actively by asking relevant questions and in assisting students with their computer searches if this is part of the session.
  • Every effort will be made to accommodate students with special needs. Please inform us when you request a session.

We look forward to working closely with you to develop an informative, productive, and enjoyable library instruction session for your students.

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