Library instruction, also called bibliographic instruction refers to programs that have been designed to contain instructions that will expose the library user on how to locate the information they need with little time wastage. It normally covers all systems in the library of organizing materials and research methodologies that are relevant to a specific academic field. (Reitz, 2004). Library instructions offer an alternative to getting information, but the questions that keep on lingering in people's head remains to be: How effective is it? How do the students benefit from it? If they use the library resources, will it make them come up with a presentable term paper? Access to library resources would encompass frequent visits to the library. Therefore, this paper will discuss on whether repeated visits to the library improves the quality of a students term paper.
A library is made up of books that are availed to a specific group of people for reference or lending purposes. It provides physical access to information in a room (Allen, 1984). Libraries are normally considered as an integral part of the university owing to the important role it plays in academic life. However, in recent years, libraries have been challenged to justify their value and worth in an institution. One of the ways through which a library can demonstrate its value is by showing a proven record of student learning and academic success ( Oakleaf, 2010). A library thus is an important tool that helps students to understand the various citation styles that they can adopt when writing their term papers from the available resources.
Term papers are often given to scholars during a specific academic period as a way of determining their research skills. In recent years, the quality of these papers has been under serious criticism due to lack of solid facts from scholarly sources. Following this phenomenon, researchers conducted several types of research in vast institutions of higher learning. Through their research work, they were able to establish that the quality of research work submitted by students depended heavily on the frequency of which individual student visited the library. In this regards, two categories of students were established namely; those who visited the library occasionally and those who visit it often.
The finding from their work was able to demonstrate that students who visited the library irregularly experienced greater problems when giving citations for their work. This group of students aggravated this problem through their over-reliance on the websites for information (Moore et al., 2002). They tend to neglect the library so much since they perceive that they belong to a purely digital generation (Dewald, 2005). Despite their good browsing skills and technological acumen, this group of students still lacks the know-how in locating research articles on their research topics. Students in this category presented their research work that was characterized by crooked citation to the extents that some even did not even provide citations (Moore et al., 2002).
The other category that encompasses students who visited the library more often experienced less difficulty when presenting their research work (Moore et al., 2002). The term paper they presented exhibited fluidity on ideas in addition to proper methodologies and citation. Through their frequent visits to the library, they get familiar with the library instructions that are understood to be an integral part of any research work.
The various research studies conducted have been able to justify the worthiness of library instructions towards improving the quality of paperwork that students submit during their undergraduate as well as graduate studies. Students who attend library instructions session tend to get better grades and write better research papers than those who do not receive library instructions, or they received it in one-time (Moore et al., 2002). It offers an in-depth understanding of the students when using and citing scholarly resources. If the students are shown how to use it promptly, they stand a better chance of submitting appealing research papers.
However, for the learners to develop the culture of visiting the library frequently, it is imperative for course instructors to make quality research a priority in students partaking. Quoting for types and a number of sources is not just enough, tapping available resources beyond the web is desirable, and therefore, it should be encouraged (Moore et al., 2002). This should mean that assignments given to the students should be designed in such a way that it favors more of library research than the web oriented type of research.
Upon submission of assignments, the instructor should establish the quality of the research using the sources used by the students. In this regards, students who would have to make good use of library research skills and cited relevant works should be rewarded with better grades for the projects that they undertook as opposed to those who did not comply with the instructions (Moore et al., 2002).
Library instruction session in a class can be very effective at ensuring that students are taught about new resources at the same time they are reminded of the ones that they have heard or rather used in the past. The introduction of library instruction in class is of great importance since the instructor will be able to emphasize on important materials that can be utilized by the learners (Matthews, 2007). Library instructions is not a onetime thing; learners can take it into their future where good research skills are paramount in many job descriptions. Many students often opt to do masters or professorship in a field that require data capturing and analysis. By understanding the use of databases and other resources they stand a better chance for career advancement.
At this point, it is vivid that information literacy needs to be implemented in most institutions rather than just discussing it and nothing come out of it. Class assignments, on the other hand, ought to be designed in such a manner that it capitalizes on of library resources coupled with library instruction session that demonstrate the availability and efficiency in utilizing these resources would be beneficial to both the student and the course instructor. The learners would be less frustrated by assignments, and the faculty would receive improved research papers.
In summary, library instructions are very important especially when they are task specific. Students who lack exposure to the instructions normally tend to rely solely on the internet sources and in the end, they tend to submit poor quality research work. A library instruction program that has a well-set focus for students at all levels in a university or college will automatically have a great impact when presenting their research papers for marking. Such skills can be imparted through classroom sessions though it is necessary for the student to seek further clarifications and experience by visiting the library frequently. In so doing, not only will his/her term paper skills be refined but also his/her academic performance will be elevated a notch higher.
Allen R.E., (1984). The pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Oxford: Clarendon press.
Dewald, N. H. (2005). What do they tell their students? Business faculty acceptance of the web and library databases for student research. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 31(3), 209-215.
Matthews, J. R. (2007). Library assessment in higher education. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
Moore D., Brewster S., Dorroh C., & Moreau, M. (2002). Information competency instruction in a two-year college: One size does not fit all. References Services Review, 30(4), 300-306.
Oakleaf, M. (2010). Value of academic libraries: A comprehensive research review and report. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.
Reitz Joan M., (2004). Bibliographic instruction (BI). Dictionary for library and information science. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.
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