Reinhardt University SACSCOC Compliance Certification

3.8.2 Instruction of Library Use

The institution ensures that users have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and other learning/information resources. (Instruction of library use)

Judgment check box Compliance


Reinhardt University ensures that users have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and other learning and information resources. The Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center’s mission states that it “supports the intellectual development of Reinhardt University students … by teaching the information skills needed for academic success and life-long learning.” Goals and objectives for the library include being the center of teaching and learning pursuits for students, faculty, and staff at Reinhardt University and fostering the lifelong love of learning, enabling students to grow in independence, confidence, and resourcefulness. [1] The library’s multifaceted instruction program provides the means to accomplish these parts of the library’s mission and goals.

The Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center provides instruction for library and information resources through course (group) sessions, individual sessions, and guides and tutorials posted on the library website. Faculty are encouraged to bring classes to the library for instruction or have librarians go to the classroom for instruction of library and information resources. [2] Use of library resources is part of the required RHU101 course that online students take. [3] Students are encouraged to seek individual assistance with library and information resources through one-on-one sessions with librarians either in person, through a telephone conversation, or through an e-mail conversation. [4]

Course Instruction

Course (group) instruction in library and information resources is available to all classes at all instructional levels and locations as well as online courses. The library offers varying levels of instruction depending upon the needs and requests from faculty. Faculty teaching First Year Seminar (FYS) classes are encouraged to schedule an instructional session to introduce students to library resources, policies and procedures, and basic research techniques. Subject specific classes receive more in depth instruction of library resources, information literacy strategies, and research techniques including assignment specific instruction. [5] [6] Library staff works with faculty to tailor instruction to a course’s particular needs. [2] Students in online programs receive instruction on use of library resources as part of the RHU101 course. While the instruction of library resources is administered in RHU101 by the course faculty member, the information on library use and resources was designed by library staff. [3] Library staff offers online faculty the option of embedding library instruction in other classes as well.

Course instruction sessions with librarians include live demonstrations of library resources and research tactics. Sessions also may include PowerPoint presentations. Instructional sessions taught in the library include hands-on experiences for students in use of electronic resources. These sessions usually are administered on the main level of the library with students sitting at computers. As library staff demonstrate research tactics and techniques for finding both physical resources located in the library and electronic resources available through library databases, students seated at computers are encouraged to replicate the demonstrated search methods to find resources needed for their specific assignments. Hands-on demonstrations also are provided in classrooms where the technology is available for students. [2] Periodically, library staff offers workshops on the use of specific library resources, and instruction on specific resources may be posted on the library’s website.

In 2014-2015, forty-four classes comprising 528 students received course instruction from library staff. Of these forty-four classes, nineteen were First Year Seminar classes while the other twenty-five were subject specific classes primarily in business, communication, and English courses. [7] In 2015-2016, thirty-nine classes comprising 468 students received course library instruction. Fourteen of the classes were First Year Seminar sections while the twenty-five other classes included business, education, English, biology, communication, history, and interdisciplinary courses. Two graduate classes also received course instruction from library staff. [8] In Fall 2016, 420 students attended twenty-eight library instruction sessions. These classes included First Year Seminar, business, communication, education, English, and biology. Sessions to graduate courses were included in this number. [9] In the Fall 2016 library survey, twenty-six percent of the students taking the survey indicated that they had attended a course library instruction session. [10] Among faculty and staff taking this survey, thirty percent indicated that they had attended a session with their class. [11]

Individual Instruction

Individual instruction in library and information resources is conducted through one-on-one sessions between library staff and users. [4] These sessions may be in person, through telephone conversations, or through e-mail. During regular library hours, staff is available at the library’s reference desk to assist users with questions concerning library resources, research tactics and techniques, and library technology. Library staff, including both professional staff and trained paraprofessional staff, are assigned reference desk hours.  Users may schedule an appointment for individual instruction with a librarian. [12] In the Fall 2016 library survey, twelve percent of students and twenty percent of faculty and staff indicated that they had had a one-on-one consultation with a librarian. [10][11]

Online and Off Campus Instruction

Students in online programs receive library instruction in the RHU101 course; however, they are also encouraged to contact the library staff by telephone or e-mail for further assistance and instruction in using library resources. Librarians are available to visit all off campus locations to provide course instruction to classes. Assistance for off campus and online users is available through the library’s web page. Instructions for off campus access to library resources are provided on the web site. [13] All online and off campus students and faculty have access through the library’s website to various guides and tutorials to assist in learning about and how to access and use library resources.

Guides and Tutorials

Further instruction in library and information resources is provided through the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center’s website. Links on the website direct users to pages about the library’s reference, library instruction, and research help services. [14] The website includes specific pages to assist graduate students and off-campus users. [15][13] The graduate students’ page on the library’s website directs students by program of study to specific resources which will assist them in finding the best resources when conducting research for papers and projects. The off-campus users’ page instructs users how to access the library’s electronic resources from computers not directly connected to the University’s network. LibGuides provide research tips and suggested resources for specific subjects and academic disciplines. [16]


Assessment of instruction of the use of library and information resources is conducted through a brief post-instruction session survey. A five question assessment tool is administered at the end of the session to the majority of classes receiving course instruction. Classes receiving instruction in specific resources, e.g. a business class learning how to use one specific database to find demographic information, may not receive the assessment survey because the instruction in that class is more specific than the survey measures. The library administers two different assessment surveys. One survey (About the Library), primarily given to First Year Seminar classes, measures students’ knowledge of general information about the library. [17] The other survey (Electronic Resources), given to all other classes, measures students’ knowledge of basic research and use of electronic resources. [18]

Each survey consists of five statements that students must determine if each statement is true or false. In 2014-2015, 238 students were administered the About the Library survey with an average score of 94% correct answers. [9] In 2015-2016, 169 students took the About the Library survey with a score of 94% correct answers. [9] In Fall 2016, 139 students took the About the Library survey with an average score of 94% correct answers. [9] In 2014-2015, the Electronic Resources survey was administered to 107 students with an average score of 94%. [9] In 2015-2016, 209 students took the Electronic Resources survey with an average score of 96% correct answers. [9] In Fall 2016, 143 students were administered the Electronic Resources survey with an average score of 97% correct answers. [9]

In 2015-2016, two classes were chosen for a pilot survey to determine if faculty who had classes receive instruction in use of library resources could determine if the quality of work by students using library resources was better than those students not using library resources. The faculty members for both classes, HIS342 and COM103, were surveyed after students had completed papers. Both faculty members reported that students using library resources and following research strategies taught by library staff produced better quality papers than students not using the resources and strategies taught by the library staff. [19]

In spring semester 2016, a survey was administered to graduate students and faculty concerning the recently developed Graduate Student Resources page on the library’s website. While a majority of students were not yet aware of the web page, those that had used it were overwhelmingly satisfied. Graduate faculty surveyed were pleased with the web page and responded that they would encourage students to use the web page. [20] As a result of comments, the library continues to improve the site and add new guides and tutorials to assist students in their research. In fall semester 2016, the University Graduate Council asked if the Reference and User Services Librarian could develop a web-based tutorial for graduate students that they might use and reuse as they prepare research projects. [21]  This tutorial is in process for 2017-2018.


Reinhardt University’s library combines group instruction, individual instruction, and digital instruction.  The library’s programs of instruction work together as an intentional effort to ensure that all users have access to the resources, collections, and services that will enable them to be successful in the classroom and beyond.


Supporting Documents

[1] Library Mission Statement

[2] Library Instruction Services

[3] RHU101, spring 2017 syllabus

[4] Library Reference Services

[5] Business Resources Handout

[6] Effective Research Handout

[7] 2014-2015 Library AES Annual Assessment

[8] 2015-2016 Library AES Annual Assessment

[9] Library Instruction Assessment Results:  2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017

[10] Fall 2016 Library Survey - Students

[11] Fall 2016 Library Survey - Faculty/Staff

[12] Library Research Help Services

[13] Off Campus Library Users

[14] Library Services Overview

[15] Library Resources for Graduate Students

[16] LibGuides

[17] Library Instruction Assessment Survey About the Library

[18] Library Instruction Assessment Survey Electronic Resources

[19] Pilot Survey Library Instruction Assessment Results

[20] Spring 2016 Graduate Library Survey Responses

[21] University Graduate Council minutes, October 2016