Social Work: Teaching Practices

Best practices for library research teaching

Welcome to the guide!  This isn't intended to be a one-stop-shop, but merely a starting point for communicating with and getting the most out of your academic library.  The goals of this guide are to help you get up and running asap with online class support, offer learning objects that can be customized for your class and easily placed into canvas, and to reach out to offer my continuing help.  This is an exciting time, no matter how you slice it, and I want to be part of the group that's helping out.  Let's talk! reach out at

Library Basics every student should learn

Beckman Instruments, and Charles Bowes Advertising. “Four -- Count 'Em -- Four,” 1959. Beckman Historical Collection, Box 49, Folder 16. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. 4: what you need to know about the academic library (5m37s)
description: Basic toolkit for the university student at any academic library. The library catalog, databases, library guides and interlibrary loan basics.  
canvas/assignment ideas: [QUICK/EASY] from the catalog interface, you can have students send you an e-mail of a particular book record OR they can generate a citation of the book record and cut-&-paste into a canvas assignment.

Charles Bowes Advertising, inc. “Four -- Count ’em -- Four.” Science History Institute Digital Collections.,

Expanded Videos are Below:

undefinedLibrary catalog fundamentals (12m53s)
description: Performing research using a body of millions and millions of things; how can we manage that and even use it like a pro!
usage: research projects, accessing required readings, basic library research skills

undefinedDatabase(s) research basics (11m59s)
description: How to use the best features of an Ebsco database to gather secondary sources in a research project/paper -includes boolean operators, keywords selection.
usage: this is probably the most popular resource in a class where research is required, but it can be used for class discussions, annotated bibliographic entries, and more (see 'greatest hits' below for ideas).

undefinedResearch Guides: who can help, curated guides to topics (5m36s)
description: Research using a body of 3-4 million books, then narrowing down to current e-books on your topic -and how to get access.
usage: research projects, accessing required readings, basic library research skills

undefinedHow to use interlibrary loan (5m43s)
description: A walkthrough on how to request/receive items via ILL -plus one cool trick!
usage: a core academic library resource to know about for all students.


Assignments & Instruction: Potluck!

undefinedI've repackaged class assignments below, take and use what you like -I can also make custom assignments for your class context (happy to do so!) 

Olympic Swimmers. 1971. International Collection of Child Art (ICCA),

What's a scholarly article, how can I tell? + mini annotated bib assignment

VIDEO: how to use an article

Assignment: find any article, Citation , what you think is a main point(s), find a quote to back it up


How to use Interlibrary loan? You can request articles, and here's an example of how to request a book chapter:

VIDEO: Interlibrary Loan, requesting a book chapter


Census demographics on side-by-side maps (Social Explorer demo)

VIDEO: Migration from state to state

Assignment: use the Social Explorer database to compare different times/eras in a Utah county using any data metric (population, religion, poverty, etc.).


Library Pandemic Specials

Ongoing Services Available

Marriott Library services remain open via a virtual option. Exceptions are services that require face-to-face interaction. Stay up to date with resources and expanding service options at

Contact us from home via chat, phone, Ask Us, or through your subject specialist.

All circulating collections are available online or through home delivery by emailing

If a book is available online, we will direct faculty and students to the online copy

If a book is not online, we will mail the physical copy to faculty and students

Library laptops and hotspots are available for loan through the Union Services Desk

Book drops at Eccles, Faust, and Marriott are open. Marriott Library due dates have been extended to the end of summer term so nothing needs to be returned.

Course Reserve has moved exclusively online. With permission, or under fair use, entire books are being placed online when an electronic copy cannot be purchased. When no option for e-reserve exists, students will receive guidance on alternative options.

Best practices for library research teaching

undefinedI have a short list of what helps and hinders library research instruction based on my experiences over the past 10 years: please take with a grain of salt, this is just my opinion. 

Bridgewater Normal School. “Unidentified Female Student.” Clement C. Maxwell Library at Bridgewater State University, ca 1857.

Self-determination (motivation) theory: When I've done "canned" research sessions, students tend to glaze over and check out.  When I ask for their interests (in the context of the class curriculum) and work with those, students will tend to stay with me.

Synthesis of scholarship (critical thinking exercise): I've seen a few totally arbitrary articles cited in papers, maybe to meet a 'works cited' quota, but what's to do?  A simple exercise (thanks to Dr. Sara Yeo and her quantitative classes) is, for each item cited, students must read/analyze the source for what they think is a main point, then provide a quote from the source backing up that point. It sounds simple, but this simple method has changed much of the work I see.
Include a librarian: Libraries and librarians exist to support student and faculty success. Bring me (and/or other librarians) in on student conversations, forward students to me via e-mail, ask for a library video or guide just like this one for your class, request specific resources -and when we're all back on campus, we can all meet up for coffee!


Subject Guide

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Dale Larsen

I love to help with your research: from just seeing the assignment, to wrapping up with citation management -drop me a line or come by 1726C on the first floor of the Marriott Library

Send me an e-mail -I'd love to hear from you!

What can the librarian do for me right now?

Dale the Librarian can offer;

  • online student consultations: initiated by a student e-mail -or feel free to cc me in a conversation “let’s bring the librarian in on this…”
  • supplementary curriculum (library assignments): I have developed many course-aligned library research assignments that can be performed by individuals or groups of students and handed in via canvas with grading criteria (I’m happy to grade them, too).
  • Stand-alone online library classes: I have the resources to create a single-day online class to support your curriculum goals, especially for research assignments.  Topics: general library usage, specific applied databases research, argument/rhetoric, primary/secondary sources, searching for impact, etc. etc.

Sincerely (and to your health!),

Dale Larsen, MLIS


J. Willard Marriott Library

The University of Utah | 801-581-8323

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