Library Instruction Curriculum

Woman teaching

The Teaching and Learning Team provides instruction to help students develop Information Literacy skills. Information Literacy is key to student success and helps them sort through data or research and interpret it critically. Western Libraries partners with faculty to provide instruction in five key areas of Information Literacy:

  • Discovery and critical evaluation of information
  • Responsible creation and use of information
  • Enduring research skills
  • Communication
  • Civic engagement

These five components, known as undergraduate Information Literacy Learning Outcomes (ILLOs), align closely with Western Degree Outcomes, detailing expectations for information access, assessment, and application.

Our Information Literacy topics are adaptable for undergraduate and graduate levels, with customized instruction sessions to fit your students’ needs. This allows you to create and adapt lessons that work towards ILLO achievements.  

Discovery and critical evaluation of information

Under this area of our Information Literacy instruction, Western students will define information needs and design search strategies. They learn how best to use online resources and assess the scope and variety of their sources, investigating for information gaps and conflicting information. Students will also learn to question norms of authority and recognize creator perspective.

The Teaching and Learning Team can help with:

  • Foundational search skills
    • Developing concepts and keywords
  • Resource-specific searching, building searches, and managing results
    • Western Libraries
    • Databases
    • Government, map, and other data resources
    • Accessing archival and special collections material
    • Other information retrieval: newspaper articles, systematic and scoping reviews, meta-analyses, patents, standards, handbooks, theses and dissertations, industry reports, data, maps, music scores, GIS information, grey literature, etc.
  • Effective internet searching
    • Evaluating and using specific internet sources (Wikipedia, Google and Google Scholar, DuckDuckGo)
  • Methods of evaluating sources and determining credibility (CRAAP test and RADAR)

Responsible creation and use of information

With this element of Information Literacy instruction, students analyze and apply the legal and ethical limitations or considerations when using information, including creator rights, the concept of the public domain, and privacy concerns. Attribution and accountability are also taught as part of this training.

The Teaching and Learning Team can help with:

  • Creator rights (public domain vs. intellectual property)
  • Plagiarism and academic integrity
  • Citation styles and resources
  • How licences and subscriptions work
  • Research data management
  • Identifying different types of sources and research
  • Copyright and licences
  • Predatory and scholarly publishing
  • Use and copying of archival material

Enduring research skills

As students develop their research skills, they must develop an understanding of the information landscape and learn to be flexible, creative, and curious researchers to best manage their time, stress, and information overload.

The Teaching and Learning Team can help with:


Strong written and verbal communication skills underpin student success. Our instruction will teach students to demonstrate critical thinking and learn to tailor their information to various audiences. They will also better understand the value and persistence of online identities – including their own.

The Teaching and Learning Team can help with:

  • Research publication and dissemination process
    • Scholarly publishing
    • Predatory publishing
  • Measuring the impact of your research (e.g. bibliometrics and altmetrics)
  • Reading strategically
  • Strategies for completing specific assessment and assignments

Civic engagement

Being responsible citizens, Western students must learn to examine and critique their own information privilege. With our instruction, students will take part in discussions about how and why some people are marginalized within systems that produce and disseminate information. They will also seek out other perspectives that challenge their own views, and address information needs through collaboration and cross-cultural connections.

The Teaching and Learning Team can help with:

  • Information privilege
    • Western access
    • Under/misrepresented groups or perspectives in collections
    • Role of scholarly research and public intellectuals
    • Getting access to resources after graduation
  • Accessing archival and special collections material
  • Relationship between controlled vocabulary and systemic discrimination
  • Privacy
    • Use of primary information
    • Cultural appropriation
    • Managing online identity
    • Managing online scholarly identity

Additional support

The Teaching and Learning Team can also help your students navigate the libraries on campus, including how to access Archives, physical collections, and using library rooms. We also walk students through how to book a consultation to assist with their research and our Ask a Librarian service.