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Top Ten Ways to Create a Successful Library Assignment

1. Why are we doing this?

Explain the objectives of the assignment to the students. Create a sense of its importance, emphasizing the relevance of library work to the course and to a college education

2. What are we supposed to do?

Provide students with a written description, including what the assignment involves, and what types of sources you want them to use....

3. Make it relevant.

Develop a library exercise that is directly applicable to course content as well as to the specific assignment.

4. Match the assignment to the skill level of students.

To be safe, assume your students have minimal library knowledge.

5. Teach research strategies.

Construct library instruction assignments so that students learn to develop appropriate strategies for approaching library research, including an understanding of the steps involved in the research process, discussion of different types of material, and the means of assessing it.

6. Be able to do the assignment yourself.

After you have written it, try it out!

7. Make it fun.

If possible, relate the assignment to the student's own interests/needs.

8. Involve a librarian.

Involve a librarian in the planning and/or presentation of the library instruction assignment. Librarians can provide useful insights into potential problem areas. Schedule an orientation with a librarian for your class, after you have shared the assignment with your class and the librarian. The librarian will point out specific resources that your students may not know exist.

9. Leave a copy of the assignment with a librarian.

Knowing what to expect helps the library staff to be prepared and better able to help your students.

10. Give the assignment early.

Introduce the library assignment early in the semester so that students may take advantage of interlibrary loan services, if library resources need to be supplemented.

"Top 10 Ways to Create a Successful Library Assignment" taken from "Making the Grade: Academic Libraries and Student Success", edited by Maurie Caitlin Kelly and Andrea Kross, p. 61 (Z675.U5M326)
and also: 

Designing Meaningful Library Assignments (Concordia University)

Prepared by librarians at Concordia (Canada) University, these webpages give additional insight into assignment