James H. Thomason Library

Guidelines for Faculty Requesting Library Instruction

WHO? You and your class.  We prefer that professors accompany their class to the library session, as students are more involved in the learning experience when you attend. Experience shows that professors stimulate discussion, highlight points, and add additional information.

WHAT?  Instruction on the use of the Library's print and electronic resources. The Reference staff will work with faculty to produce a course-specific guide (see examples here) with relevant resources that can be used in the instruction session, and can be utitlized afterwards as students conduct research for class assignments & projects..

The Library Instruction Classroom seats 30 students, with 15 student computers.  We will provide opportunities for active learning, with instruction on search techniques and features and functionality of relevant databases.

Let us know if there are specific resources you would like addressed in the  session OR you can select instruction components from the à la carte menu below. This list is not exhaustive, so if there are other topics you would like included, please let us know.

  1. Introduction and conclusion [5 minutes] Recommended
  2. Search strategy techniques [10-15 minutes]
    Use of keyword searching, synonyms, Boolean connectors, truncation, subject searching
  3. Library catalogs [10-15 minutes]
    ThomCat, Thomason Library’s catalog of all materials.                          PASCAL Catalog: search library holdings for SC colleges & Universities.
    WorldCat, a worldwide catalog of books, media, and WWW sites.
  4. General database(s) [15 min] Recommended  
    • Library OneFile -- the Library's new discovery service allows users to search across multiple article databases as well as the library catalog in a single search.                                                                                              • EBSCO’s Academic Search Complete - a multi-disciplinary database indexing with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. Finding Full-text elsewhere in library databases will be incorporated  
  5. Subject database [10-15 min each]
    PsycARTICLES, MLA International Bibliography,, Science Direct, newspaper indexes, business resources, others listed by subject
  6. Browse full text journals [10 minutes]
    Use Journal Finder, the library’s journal management software program to browse the library's collection of full-text journals
  7. Scholarly vs. popular journals [5 minutes]
    A hands-on activity on how to distinguish between these in the electronic environment
  8. Evaluating websites [5 minutes]
  9. Interlibrary Loan and PASCAL Delivers [5 minutes]
    Borrowing books from other SC colleges and universities through PASCAL and information on ILL for articles and books not available in SC
Please supply the following information so we can prepare for your class:

  • course name & the number of students enrolled
  • date & time you prefer
  • sample topics or assignment sheet that will provide us with appropriate search examples for your assignment
  • a copy of the course syllabus, if requesting a library course guide
  • item numbers of topics to include in session (1 & 4 recommended)
  • subject databases to include in session or we can discuss the most effective choices with you
We’ll be glad to provide more than one instruction session or to host a work session for your students, after an initial instruction session, as some professors have recently requested. We will also provide “Short Shots” - 20 minute database demos after which you take over for the remainder of the class period. Just let us know what suits your needs!

WHEN? Timing is everything!  Ideally, the session should occur close to the time your students begin their work. Sessions held too far in advance of the due date lose relevance for the student; however, guidance is needed before they begin searching. Typically, the beginning of the semester is heavily booked with classes. Please give the Reference Staff at least one week notice so that we can prepare for your class.

WHERE? Our place or yours?  The library instruction classroom offers a computer projection system necessary for demonstrating our electronic resources. We have 15 networked workstations and seating for thirty students working in pairs. We'll be happy to come to your classroom if you have the technology or if electronics are not required.

WHY? We hope to guide your students toward quality resources so that they produce quality work. We provide one-on-one research assistance at the Reference Desk; however, students can do more research on their own from labs and dorm rooms and they may experience less frustration if they get some instruction before starting an assignment.


To schedule a research instruction session, call, e-mail, or stop by our offices to discuss how we can help you and your students.

Dan Lee

Reference Librarian/Associate Director for Public Services



Betsy Byrd

Reference and Instruction Librarian



Reference Desk



Search Library Catalog


PASCAL Catalog

Journal Finder