The phrase "library instruction session" is a familiar one to most faculty and students in a university setting; however, the expectations of such a session vary depending on the needs of the course itself. At UAH, you'll hear "information literacy session" more often than not, as this concept more robustly encapsulates most research needs of a library user in 2018. Whatever the information need, library instruction sessions are really all about developing skills to efficiently locate and critically evaluate relevant information, better understand how information is created and valued in context, and how to use that information to ethically create and contribute new knowledge to a larger academic setting. 

This is true when researching for an argumentative paper in EH 102, locating data sets for a physics project, identifying potential market applications for emerging technologies, and so much more. Whatever your needs may be, below are three suggested ways to supplement your coursework with information literacy applications.

Primo Pathfinder Discovery Service

This is the Google-like search interface on our library homepage, but it is much more than just a "finding tool". Pathfinder is a personal information management tool as well. Now integrated with UAH's Single Sign-On technology, you can login to personalize your search experience. There is a new "pinning" feature present in result lists one gets via a Pathfinder search. By using the little "pushpin" button on a result, you can save records in your result list that are most relevant to your search, then go back and read them later. This empowers you to prune your list a bit as you search, and since these results are saved to your UAH Single-Sign-On account, you can login again at home, then view these results anywhere. By learning how to leverage Primo's personalized information management system, you can become a much more efficient researcher!

Open web research 

Our job as instructional librarians is to help you learn to locate and evaluate the best information for your needs. Sometimes that's via a subscription database of journal articles or a physical book on our shelves; however, that isn't always the case! Many times the information you really need is found in an openly accessible, "free" resource on the web. This is an area where a librarian can be incredibly useful to consult, as information outside of an academic database makes some users anxious or uncertain about the validity and use of such content. As needed, we meld open web research (exs.-images, primary resource documents, data sets, etc.) with traditional library resources to empower you with access to the best information available. Information literacy is more than finding a book on a shelf or an article in a database. We can help with those "outside the box" resources that need more unique evaluation criteria or search strategies than in a "traditional" tool like an article database. 

Assignment-focused, course tailored

Perhaps most of all, consider that none of our library instruction is done in a generic "out of a can" approach to teaching. Even when learning fundamental, basic ins-and-outs of using the library building or for finding information for the most basic of research papers, we will tailor the subject matter, examples, and approach to your needs as a professor and the specific, practical needs of your students. We encourage collaborative, active engagement in our sessions as needed. If we are going to discuss using library databases, for example, we're going to explore the ones applicable to your course and we are going to discuss why, when, and how to leverage these tools to your benefit. Remember, we are here to supplement your own coursework by infusing relevant, information literacy skill sets that will turn these students into good researchers, regardless of chosen profession or discipline. Many of these skills will vary from discipline to discipline, and that's ok! We will work with you to ensure our visit speaks to your areas of need, of that you can rest assured. 


As you consider how information literacy sessions can best benefit your upcoming courses, feel free to reach out to our Instructional Coordinator Librarian, Michael Manasco, at or at 256-824-6965 to get something scheduled. We're here to help you!