Library Curriculum

Staff providing teaching support

Through our curriculum, we teach students to value who they are and what they know, while questioning the forces that shape their learning. We help researchers search for knowledge and seek out multiple voices to expand their worldviews. We encourage our partners to use their privilege as university community members to influence others responsibly and lend their voices to important discussions about social justice.

We teach students about:

  • Knowledge justice
  • Critical reflection
  • Searching
  • Identifying and evaluating sources
  • Responsible use of knowledge
  • Creation and dissemination of knowledge

Download a printable version of the library curriculum, which includes our learning outcomes and helpful glossary.

Using our learning outcomes

Faculty and staff are invited to integrate the library curriculum into your course and program outcomes. Western Libraries' Teaching and Learning team are also available to consult on curriculum and assignment revision.

Are you a member of another university or academic library? Our curriculum document was created with a CC-BY-NC-SA licence. We invite you to deposit your adapted versions of our learning outcomes to Western's institutional repository.

Email us at for more information. 

Example instruction topics

We use our library curriculum to design and deliver instruction by: 

Knowledge justice

  • Exploring the many different forms of knowledge (Eg. spiritual, scientific, land-based, and creative) and evaluating how they are valued and used differently according to context. 
  • Examining and critiquing information privilege, both generally and our own as members of university community.
  • Reflecting on how to integrate multiple worldviews with our personal ideas and practices. 

Critical reflection

  • Assessing how our personal knowledge is influenced by our positionality and lived experience.
  • Commiting to seek out multiple perspectives.
  • Identifying whose perspectives can fill our knowledge gaps and recognizing where and how they are allowed to speak.


  • Identifying keywords or controlled vocabulary and evaluating them for bias.
  • Using the library website, catalogue, and academic databases and navigating Western's physical library spaces.
  • Examining how the biases of search algorithms (Eg. Google, academic databases) can impact research.
  • Finding non-dominant voices both inside and beyond academic sources.

Identifying and evaluating sources

  • Assessing creator positionality, their purpose in creating, and the audiences they reach, to determine whether and how to use their ideas.
  • Differentiating between various source types by examining their characteristics and creation processes (Eg. academic journals, newspapers, meta-analyses, maps, music scores, GIS information, blogs, and social media posts).
  • Choosing specific sources according to personal need and context (Eg. Scientific studies for a systematic or scoping review).

Responsible use of knowledge

  • Using culturally appropriate forms of attribution, including citation and academic integrity, Creative Commons and Traditional Knowledge labels. 
  • Ethically managing search results and using citation managers (Eg. Zotero).
  • Critically evaluating the impact that sharing knowledge and ideas can have on ourselves and others. 

Creation and dissemination of knowledge

  • Creating and maintaining an online presence (on social media, scholarly platforms, etc.) that is consistent with our personal values, identities, and life goals.
  • Evaluating how our words and ideas can be used, misused, and shared by others (Eg. understanding mis- and disinformation). 
  • Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of various academic publishing options to decide where to share results or knowledge.