The Library: top ten ways to make the most of available support

Are you aware of the range of support and services that the Library offers you and your students?

Consider the impact on the Library (information skills teaching, resources (print and online books, journals, databases etc), services, and study space) of new or revised programmes and units and involve your Subject Librarian in the discussions.


Take the opportunity through Curriculum Transformation to map students’ skills development and requirements across their whole programme of study, and talk to your Subject Librarian about embedding information skills teaching at the most appropriate points in programmes for your discipline and Department. Consider the availability of appropriate teaching facilities, e.g. PC labs, for skills teaching sessions.


Subject Librarians can teach and support students in developing skills in:

  • Literature searching
  • Effective use of relevant specialist Library resources, eg for data, statistics, financial info, software
  • Evaluation of resources/material found: relevance, authority, balance(bias), timeliness
  • Referencing
  • Awareness of plagiarism issues:  What it is, how to avoid it
  • Awareness of copyright issues and terms of resource licences, also relevant IP and related requirements

Allow time at the start of academic programmes for Library induction - new undergraduate students are generally not familiar with the type and range of academic resources and services offered in University Libraries.  They can lack the general techniques and understanding needed to successfully navigate and interrogate these resources independently.


Incorporate induction and skills refresher sessions for visiting students and students returning from placement (services and resources can change significantly over a year).


Talk to your Subject Librarian about Library resource requirements for units and programmes as soon as possible. Subject Librarians can advise on current collection strengths as well as likely availability and costs of additional provision.


Ensure there is a reading list for each unit (even if it is a short list or shared with others), and supply the Library with this information at least 8 weeks before the unit starts. Talk to your Subject Librarian about how you will be making lists available to students.


If you intend to provide electronic copies of journal articles or book chapters for students, talk to your Subject Librarian.  The Library can obtain authorised copies, copies are unlikely to be legal if sourced elsewhere.


Adopt one style of Referencing throughout all Department units and programmes.  Using different styles and changing between units or over time causes confusion to students, difficulties in providing consistent support materials, and sometimes issues in marking.  Subject Librarians can help in teaching students referencing principles and particular styles, and in providing individual advice and support materials. The Library maintains referencing style guides, including for the most generally used – Harvard (Bath).


Consider the study space and equipment requirements for the independent learning students will be expected to undertake (e.g. are group work and shared IT facilities required, and is there currently sufficient provision?).