Role for Librarians

There are two key roles for librarians – direct teaching and advocacy.

Direct Teaching

librarian teaching

Mary Wickline teaching at UCSD.

Ideas and strategies for direct teaching can be found on the Challenges and Strategies page of this blog.


We speak with instructors all the time, often in regards to their research expectations for students. This is an ideal chance to bring up the challenges students face in meeting those expectations. Such discussions might include:

  • Asking if the instructor is satisfied with how well students are using the materials they find, and how they’re assessing that beyond correct citations.
  • Alerting instructors to other kinds of resources that can bridge the gap for students, such as subject encyclopedias.
  • Asking for an overview of the key threads in the discussion section of the article, so students can recognize where or if what they find fits in the scholarly conversations in the discipline.
  • Working through a search that a student might do to illustrate the kinds of things they’ll find – and asking the instructor how they would choose which resources to use – this could also be modeled in a class.
  • Raising faculty awareness of the level of materials students find in a typical search, comparing it with the reading level of the students in their classes.

We can also serve as advocates for and in wider discussions of reading at our institutions. As librarians we often hear from instructors about the difficulties students in their classes have, but without wider conversations this won’t be recognized as a systemic mismatch between student experience/abilities, instructor expectations, and available resources.


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