Our Manifesto: The 5 Principles

Library instruction at UTC is dedicated to five core principles: engagement, active learning, relevance, transferable skills, and critical thinking. It is our goal to create personalized lesson plans including creative content, student-centered discussions, and search strategies that are relevant to the assignment or course.

1. Engagement

Many library instruction programs are, quite frankly, boring. Students and instructors are dragged into a computer lab, shown four or five databases, lectured-to about peer-review, and sent on their way. Trust us, it’s not pretty. That’s why the librarians at UTC are committed to active engagement. We strive to meet the students on their level and incorporate familiar tools and popular culture into the lesson plan.

2. Active Learning

Of course, there are many ways to engage students, and our preferred method is through active learning. We firmly believe that students learn best by actively engaging with the concepts and resources in question. So, we make it a point to include interactive quizzes, games, discussion, debate, and ample time to experiment with library resources.

3. Relevance

We strive to make library instruction as relevant to student and instructor needs as possible. We understand how valuable your time is, and we will go to great lengths to make sure that the content we cover has direct application to a particular assignment or activity.

4. Transferable Skills

With the sheer number of information sources available to your students, there is not enough time to cover everything. There are simply too many quality tools, platforms, and media, and we can only directly address a handful. To get the most out of library instruction, we focus on teaching skills and concepts that transfer across a range of information sources. Rather than focus on the differences between information sources, we focus on similarities and how resources fit together, from books to Google to JSTOR and beyond. By focusing on transferable skills, we hope that even an hour of library instruction can yield continuous application for years to come.

5. Critical Thinking

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has adopted critical thinking as a core value, and the library instruction program is perfectly situated to address the core critical thinking skill of information literacy. Our program is not merely instruction in where to click or how to find books on the shelf, it is about challenging students to consider where their information comes from, whether it is appropriate for the assignment in question, and how to best understand the information ecosystem.