Library Skills Instruction for Courses

This page has been prepared for Trent Course Instructors.

An important role of the Learning & Liaison Unit is to help students learn to use the Library's resources effectively. We do this by offering help with using the Library (online and in-person), providing instructional guides and webpages, giving classes, and working with course instructors.

  • Our most valuable work is done in conjunction with course instructors.

The students we see at the Library are NOT usually "information literate". It's difficult to imagine how they would be, since these skills are not generally a part of the Secondary School curriculum. They don't know how to find what they need, and sometimes they don't even know what it is they need. In only a few hours, we can teach them skills that will change the way they think about and perform research. But they won't invest those hours without incentive from a course instructor.

  • Consider making research skills a part of your course.
  • Talk with us about what you are doing and how we can help.

Outlined here are some of the services we can offer you, but we'd also like to come up with something creative just for you. 

Library Skills online course (Blackboard)

Originally created for first year courses, this online mini-course provides students with the background and experience they need to use an academic library. They read tutorials that include hands-on testing in Blackboard.

  • The tutorials explain general principles on how information is organized and how to go about finding what you need.
  • They include text, graphics, and videos.
  • There are 3 sections of general material: how to find Books, using the online catalogue; how to find Reserve readings; and how to find Articles using scholarly indexes.

To participate in this program, contact your Liaison Librarian or email

In-Class speaker

For upper-year courses, we can provide group instruction in your classroom. We customize this instruction to what's required for your course, so this is most effective when a research assignment is due soon.

Our ability to provide this service depends upon the availability of space and staff. Evening classes are more difficult to arrange. We invite the course instruction to be involved in applying what we teach to the course expectations.


We prepare online guides specific to your course needs. These pages can include links to valuable resources, tips on searching, and instruction. They can also include links to specific articles available online - your suggested reading list!  Send us the citations and we'll create and maintain the page of links.

We'll work with you to ensure we understand what your students need for the course. See our Subject Guides.  

Talk to Us

Nothing is more important than your communication with us. The more we know about what your students are doing in the Library, the better we can help them. If you're assigning something that requires use of the Library, please let us know. We appreciate phone calls, email, and copies of course assignments. They help us know what to expect.  Your Liaison Librarian is your best contact person.

  • If we know that an entire class needs to use one specific book, we can make sure it's available and accessible, and we can refresh our own skills in using it.
  • If we know 100 students need to find articles on a particular topic, we can check it out ahead of time and be aware of which strategies are most effective for finding them.
  • We can help you design a Library assignment that familiarizes your students with our resources. We can often bring a different perspective to the work, seeing it from both the Library's and the students' point of view. We're aware of many of the problems that can result from Library assignments and we may be able to help you avoid them.

Please don't assume that if you spoke with us last year we'll remember it and prepare for it again this year. We need to hear from you each time. Send us a reminder email or call your librarian and we'll follow up with you.


Do you have any other ideas? We'd like to be involved. We want to help you and the students in an informative and useful way.


Each undergraduate academic department has been assigned a Liaison Librarian to assist with instructional needs. For general questions, contact