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3.8 Library and Other Learning Resources

Comprehensive Standard:

3.8.2 The institution ensures that users have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and other learning/information resources. (Instruction of library use)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.


The University of West Georgia (UWG) Ingram Library provides users with regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and its various resources [1].

The critical importance not only of securing and maintaining adequate collections, but also of ensuring students and faculty have the skills required to effectively use these resources is directly noted in the Library’s mission [2]. In reference to Library Services, the mission states:

"The library provides [...] instructional services to support mastering the use of information to excel in research, curricular activities, critical thinking and lifelong learning" [2].

Ingram Library Instructional Services Division’s goal is to offer instruction and assistance through one-on-one consultations and instruction to enable students to make the most of the library's resources, and to provide faculty the resources needed for teaching and research [3]. The Library Instructional Services Division includes Information Literacy, Reference Services, Liaison Program, and Government Documents [1].

UWG Ingram Library opens each week at 2pm on Sunday and remains open continuously until 11pm the following Friday. Saturday hours are 10-6pm [4]. There are student assistants trained to help with basic research questions and computer-related issues during all hours when the Library is open.

Ingram Library recently underwent a major building renovation, and several features of the renovated space are designed to enhance Instructional Services. An additional information service point was added so that students could more easily access assistance [5]. Multiple whiteboards were placed throughout the main floor of the library creating group project workspaces for students [6].  A new classroom was designed on the main floor of the library with plenty of whiteboard space for collaborative learning [7]. Tutors reserve the classroom on some evenings to hold study sessions for specific classes. When not reserved for a class or tutoring session, the classroom is an open computer lab for students to use. Additional classrooms are being outfitted on the third floor.

A satellite campus exists approximately 40 miles away in Newnan, Georgia [8]. At present, Newnan Campus does not have a separate library facility. An instructional services librarian goes to the Newnan Campus twice per week to teach information literacy workshops [9], a section of LIBR1101 [10] and offer reference services as needed [11].  The Newnan Center is experiencing growth both in student population and in campus facilities, so Instructional Services is monitoring this so we can adjust our efforts there accordingly.

Information Literacy

One formal approach to developing capacity to effectively use the Library’s resources is the UWG Information Literacy program offered by the Library.  The UWG Information Literacy program consists of a credit-bearing course (LIBR1101), course-specific library research workshops, and drop-in workshops [12].

LIBR1101, a 2-credit hour course, fulfills Core Area B hours. Approximately 25 sections of this course are taught per academic year (including summer sessions). Most sections fill to the 24-student cap; therefore, approximately 600 undergraduates take LIBR1101 each academic year. Sections are offered face-to-face as well as 100% online. In order to help students who are on academic probation after their first semester, a special section for at-risk students is offered in the spring. An honor’s section is also offered annually. Sections are taught at the satellite Newnan campus too [10].

UWG Instructional Services Library Division also teaches course-specific library research workshops at the request of the primary instructor. In the 2010-2011 academic year, 120 Instruction Sessions were taught. These are broken down into the following four categories: 99 classes; 13 consultations; 21 parent orientations; and 2 workshops for the community-at-large. Through these sessions, UWG Instructional Services reached 2,144 students (2,131 of them in classes; 13 as individual consultations), 46 community members, and 1,243 parents during Parents’ Orientation. The number of workshops is increasing each year. While the library taught 120 sessions over the entire 2010-2011 academic year, 83 instruction sessions were taught in fall 2011 [13].

As a method of increasing Recruitment Progression and Graduation, one of the Instructional Services Division’s goals is to reach as many first-year students as possible. Instructional Services is targeting the following commonly-taken first-year courses for course-integrated library instruction: UWG1101; ENGL1101; and COMM1110. The information literacy curriculum for these three courses, taken by most students in their first year, is designed to be complementary with minimal overlap so students can achieve the same learning outcomes regardless of the order in which they receive the instruction [14]. Instructional Services is currently in the process of creating a strategic plan for this and is examining means of assessment.

Library instruction is not limited to these courses. Upper-division courses in History, Anthropology, Psychology, Political Science, Nursing, and Education often include library instruction sessions. Librarians continuously work with departments to develop information literacy modules that can be integrated into the introduction-to-the-major courses so that students can refine the basic skills they learned in their first-year library instruction sessions.

As UWG expands its graduate programs, Instructional Services has expanded its specialized instruction opportunities for graduate students. Psychology, History, Public History, and the College of Education graduate programs offer the largest proportion of graduate-level information literacy sections, although other departments and programs also make use of this service. For the online graduate programs, synchronous information literacy workshops are offered through Wimba (web-conferencing software). All Education School Improvement (EDSI) doctoral students who have not yet finished their dissertations (those currently taking classes and those who are ABD) are enrolled in an online course called EDSI Library Workshops. Through this online course monthly research workshops are held to assist the students in completing their degrees.

Instructional Services immediate future plans include offering periodic research workshops on specific topics. Using assessment from the course-specific library workshops currently being done, Instructional Services intends to develop a series of workshops to cover more advanced research topics as well as concepts that students seem to have the most difficulty with. 

Asynchronous instruction is offered to students through LibGuides [15]. Research guides are developed for each major and several courses. Students can use these guides to help with research projects on their own time.

Assessment of Information Literacy

Instructional Services is currently moving from an assessment model based on teaching evaluations to one focused on assessing student learning outcomes. Instructional Services librarians have used online survey instruments to gather student answers to focused questions at the end of one-time instruction sessions [16].

Assessment of individual student learning outcomes in the credit-bearing course is done through standard means including assignments and exams. In addition to this type of individual assessment, Instructional Services engages in program-level assessment. The library recently conducted a study of the success rates for students taking this class.  In this study, data were examined for students who took the credit-bearing information literacy course, LIBR1101, between 1999-2010.  The 10,591 students included in the study all began as first-time full-time fall start students during the period 1999-2006. The data indicate a correlation between improved 6-year graduation rates and enrollment in LIBR1101. Specifically, students who took LIBR1101 had a 54% 6-year graduation rate while students who did not take the course had a 28% 6-year graduation rate. Students who received an A, B, or C in LIBR1101 had a 64% 6-year graduation rate. An interesting additional observation is that students who got a D, F, or W in LIBR1101 still had a better graduation rate (34%) than those who never enrolled in the course. The study compared the SATM, SATV and ACT scores of students who took LIBR1101 and those who did not to examine whether or not the academic backgrounds or capacity of students might have differed, and the results indicated no significant difference. Students who took LIBR1101 did have higher high school GPS than those who did not enroll in the course (3.03 to 2.97). However, the difference of 1.51% in high school GPAs does not seem to be enough to explain such a vast difference in 6-year graduation rates [17].

Reference Services

Ingram Library has a reference desk staffed by professional librarians during regular hours. Information desk student assistants are available at both information service points during all building operating hours. These students are trained to assist students in the use of library equipment (computers, scanners, printers, etc), as well as handle basic directional and reference questions.  They are also trained to forward students to the library’s professional librarians and chat reference service for more advanced reference questions.  The library utilizes the LibStats application [18] to gather information and create reports about questions received at our reference service points.  During the 2010-2011 renovation of the Library, student assistants and staff handled 800 - 1000 questions a month, roughly a quarter of which were questions about accessing and using the Library’s materials and services.  In Fall 2011, the first semester after the renovation, this number increased to 1800-2000 questions a month, with roughly a sixth of the questions concerning our materials.  Ingram Library also belongs to the QuestionPoint Chat Reference Cooperative [19], a service that provides professional reference librarian assistance via chat 24/7 [20]. In Fall 2011, UWG students used this service 612 times to ask about accessing their account, finding articles and books, and using sources correctly.

Students also can take advantage of Ingram Library’s GoPRO service (Personalized Research Option) to set up a one-on-one consultation with a reference librarian. Online students can make an appointment with a librarian or go to the online Wimba classroom the Education Librarian uses for reference office hours.  Students can also use an online contact form and an email address that are monitored by librarians [21].

Liaison Program

All academic departments have a Liaison Librarian [22]. The Librarian works works directly with the respective department in matters of collection development and offers specialized instruction for students in that department.

Government Documents

Goal One of the first Guiding Principle of the UWG 2010-2015 Strategic Plan reads:

"Every undergraduate academic program will demonstrate a distinctive blending of liberal education, professional competencies, and experiential learning, preparing students to be ethically responsible and civicly engaged professionals in the global economy of the 21st century" [23].

Part of being civically engaged means understanding how the world and society operate around you. To help students better understand their role as an engaged citizenry, UWG Ingram Library is a selective Federal Government Depository [24]. Ingram Library has a Government Documents Librarian and a full-time Government Documents Assistant to curate this collection and strategically integrate government information in the information literacy curriculum [25].

First Year Programs

Ingram Library recruited and hired a First Year Programs Librarian to be liaison to campus-wide programs and classes aimed at first-year students [26]. Because of this position, the library is able to participate in IGNITE Orientation [27] as part of the Complete College Georgia Plan [28]. The First Year Programs Librarian is preparing to implement a comprehensive plan for integrating information literacy instruction into freshman level classes.  The plan includes working with the First Year Writing Program [29], which administers two English classes that all first year students are required to take.

Distance Learning

Students who are enrolled in UWG online programs or who cannot come to campus for help can take advantage of the Library’s online and related services. The library’s Distance Learning Library Services helps ensure student access to these resources [30], [31].  Practically every major on campus has an online LibGuide Pathfinder customized to their program’s need [15]. Graduate students in online programs can log into Wimba during the Education Librarian’s online office hours [32]. Students can also get help from a reference librarian 24/7 through our chat reference service [20]. Each semester, several sections of the core curriculum class LIBR 1101 are offered specifically for online or off-campus students.  

Distance students can visit Board of Regent’s university libraries all over the state of Georgia for materials, both physically and online [33]. They can request that materials be sent from Ingram Library to the nearest University System of Georgia library for free via GILExpress [34]. Ingram Library is also part of the ARCHE system that allows our patrons to visit Georgia’s private institution libraries [35].  An increasingly large portion of our new books are electronic books. All Library databases, including the e-books, can be accessed from off-campus via GALILEO [36]. The Interlibrary Loan department [37] will also send materials directly to students via Document Delivery [38].


Supporting Documentation: