Longer face-to-face induction

Library induction should ideally take place at the point of need, i.e. when the first assignment has been set and students need to make use of the library and its resources. This might take the form of a slot within a compulsory ‘study skills’ module in the first semester.

Longer induction: suggested content

  • Library locations: concept of home library, availability of other libraries, opening hours, help points, virtual librarian and further training offered.
  • University I.D. card: library barcode number, responsibility for material borrowed on it, loss to be reported immediately.
  • Library Catalogue demonstration and / or practice exercise: reading lists, finding print and electronic books and journals, making reservations, autmoatic renewals system, viewing own library account, checking email for notifications.
  • Material types and locations: short loan, main, reference, special collections, journals, folios, explanation of classification scheme.
  • Borrowing: at service point or self-issue machine, loan periods, overdue charges, regulations.
  • Printing and photocopying / scanning: location and function of MFDs, networked payment account, wireless printing from own computer, copyright law.
  • Studying: silent, quiet, group discussion areas (and online booking for group study), availability of laptop points, wireless network points.
  • IT: locations, logging in, accessing Learning Central, help and training, wireless network.
  • Safe and responsible use of the library: food and drink policy, noise, mobile phones, personal valuables, location of fire alarms and exits.
  • Availability of facilities and services for disabled users: extended loans, book fetching service, software to assist with grammar and spelling and visual impairments, hardware to assist with mobility impairments, whom to contact to arrange or access the above services.

To ensure students come away with a positive impression of the library, you might want to consider incorporating some element of interactivity / responsiveness to students’ interests. Research has shown that student retention on university courses is enhanced if the students are helped to feel from the outset that they are part of the university community and have a ‘voice’ within their course of study and wider academic environment.[1] Library induction events can contribute to this feeling of inclusivity. To help students feel involved, why not try:

  • an open discussion: for small groups, try initiating a discussion at the start of the session by asking students what they expect from the library service.
  • invite written questions: for larger classes, leave cards and pens around the room. Ask students to form groups or chat with their neighbours and to come up with an appropriate question, then ask as many groups as possible to read out their suggestions for you to answer. Or collect the cards in, and pick out the relevant questions yourself. For a more structured version, try Cardiff’s homegrown Cephalonian Method.[2]
  • voting systems: try using audience response technology, e.g. clickers or online polling, or otherwise coloured cards for voting on multiple choice questions.
  • introducing games: such as library bingo, jeopardy[3] or a detective mystery![4]


In the next chapter we will look at lesson planning for information literacy sessions.


References for this page

[1] Bowskill, N. 2014. Student-Generated Induction – Pedagogy for Belonging. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University. [Accessed: 12 December 2017]

[2] Morgan, N. and Davies, L. 2004. Innovative induction: introducing the Cephalonian Method. SCONUL Focus 32, pp. 4-8.

[3] Walker, B. E. 2008. This is jeopardy! An exciting approach to learning in library instruction. Reference Services Review 36(4), pp. 381-388. doi: doi.org/10.1108/00907320810920351.

[4] Rosenstein, J. 2013. Ghost hunters in the library: using an interactive mystery game for freshman library orientation. [Accessed 12 December 2017]