Guidelines for Secondary School Visits

The Trent Library is happy to provide tours of the Bata Library to visiting secondary school groups. These tours take about 20 minutes, walking students through the 4 floors of the library and explaining the services and resources available at Trent. It is a good introduction to the functioning of a University library.

While groups are welcome to use print (hard-copy) resources during their visit, the Library is unable to provide instruction or access to computers or online resources. If a Secondary School teacher chooses to bring a class for research, s/he must be knowledgeable about our systems and resources, and be capable of helping the students unaided. We will do our best to work with your Teacher-Librarian ahead of time, to help plan a successful visit.

To arrange a tour, please contact libraryhelp@trentu.ca.

Resources Available to Secondary School Students

Our Library catalogue (TOPCAT) is accessible from any location and students should search for call numbers before coming to the Library. Regular books on the shelves in the Bata Library are available for students to use during their visit. Secondary School students are not eligible to purchase Borrower's Cards, but photocopying is available in the Library. The cost is $.10 per page and the purchase of cards is recommended, but not required. Very limited change is available in the Library, so you should be sure to bring change with you. See our webpage on photocopying.

Online resources are restricted to use by current Trent students. Although some very limited access is available for non-Trent users who are on the premises, it is not practical for in-depth or group research. Almost all periodical indexes and 95% of our journals are online; secondary school students should expect to limit their research to print books currently on the Library shelves.

Be sure to consult with your school's Teacher-Librarian if you feel your students need resources not available at your school. School boards (eg. KPRSB) and the Ontario provincial government (through Knowledge Ontario) provide access to many scholarly resources that match the requirements of the Ontario curriculum, and students have access to these from the school and from home.

Teaching Research Skills

There are several things you can do from your own location to help your students learn library search skills.  Research is much more skills-based than it used to be, and it's now more important that students understand the concepts involved in research than it is to be located in a particular building.

Use your own computer lab to teach Information Literacy and Research Skills: 

  1. TOPCAT, our online Library catalogue is available to anyone at any time, on the internet.  Find it at www.trentu.ca/topcat, or from our website.  Use it to demonstrate what information can be obtained from a library catalogue and to discover the types of materials that can be found in a University Library.  Set up assignments for your students to locate items in our catalogue using title searches, author searches, and keyword searches.  Find records for books, journals, microforms, maps, government publications, and reference books.
  2. The Library Skills Tutorials are available online to anyone. Have your students read these online tutorials to develop skills in using TOPCAT, keyword searching, and finding articles using indexes.  Prepare an assignment based on the content of the tutorials.  Keyword Searching skills are especially important to successful research, and these can be taught from anywhere.
  3. Browse through our website for other valuable learning tools online.  We have subject guides, information about scholarly sources, plagiarism, using Google effectively, evaluating websites, how to read a scholarly article, Library of Congress Call Numbers, and other valuable information.  Everything we expect University students to know about our Library is covered on our website - see the Library Skills Tutorials.
  4. Find out what resources and databases are available to you through your School Board.  The Trent Library subscribes to indexes that are relevant to our areas of study and research levels, and our contracts require that we restrict access to current Trent students.  Your school board has done the same for your students, with password access from school or home.  Your School Board may also have ideas for other Information Literacy projects.
  5. Make use of your school's Teacher-Librarian to assist in teaching research skills. Teacher-Librarians know what resources have been licensed for your students and their role is to help with Information Literacy skills.
  6. Find out what databases and programs are available through your local Public Library
  7. Search Google for other useful websites on Information Literacy. For instance, look for sites on Understanding Call Numbers.

Research at a large library requires planning and instruction. Computer work is essential to finding resources, and searching requires skills. Although many students feel they already have these skills, few of them actually do. They need to be taught how to find reliable scholarly content.

 

If you have questions about how your students can use our resources from a distant location, please contact us by email at libraryhelp@trentu.ca.