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Library Workshops

The library offers a range of services to help students expand their research skills and develop productive and lasting connections to the library. The library's offerings can vary greatly in scope and form, and are by no means limited to these possibilities.

If you would like to schedule a library workshop or have a research guide created for your class, contact Joe Tucker, or Jared Della Rocca,

Here are some examples of services that faculty members have used in recent terms:

Research Guides

Produced in collaboration with faculty members, an online research guide contains links to library resources applicable to the course content and assignments. These guides have lasting value as they can be used in subsequent terms and can be revised and easily updated as new resources become available. A research guide works well in conjunction with a library instruction session.

Library Instruction Sessions

Typically lasting about an hour, the standard library instruction session is designed to demonstrate the library's online databases, with students using laptop computers to try out search strategies along with the librarian. Some faculty members use this kind of session to get their students familiar with library resources generally, while others request that the librarian prepare a session that will prepare the students for a specific assignment. This session can be combined with a tour.

With the increasing availability of smart classrooms and wireless access, the library can offer research instruction outside the library. Some faculty members have begun to request this option, especially for smaller classes, where the classroom environment may provide a more comfortable setting for dialogue.

Meeting One-on-One With Students

Faculty may direct students to schedule individual consultations with a librarian outside of class time. The one-on-one meeting format allows for personalized attention and gives the librarian a chance to explore questions in greater depth. Students benefit by developing an individual research relationship with a librarian.

Library Tours

Some faculty members have requested instruction sessions where the emphasis is not on electronic resources, but on books. Students who have attended these sessions often are pleasantly surprised to discover the reach and depth of the library's book collection, even when browsing serendipitously. Such a tour can be combined with a standard session of library instruction as desired.

Library-Related Assignments

The library has received positive feedback from faculty and students in response to assignments related to finding library materials or interacting with library personnel. Some faculty members have required students to browse specific areas of the library, or to check out books and bring them to class. Others have asked students to interview library staff members. It is worth noting that even students who use the library frequently can gain a new appreciation for the quality of library resources and services. One way to ensure that students do an adequate job of researching a topic is to require that a bibliography or research outline with sources be submitted before the research paper or project is due. Students can meet with a librarian at any time for assistance with identifying search terms, choosing databases or other sources, and selecting appropriate citation formats. The library has created a list of examples, organized by the Bennington Capacities, which can be viewed here: Capacities: Library & Writing Resources

Special topics

Upon request, librarians can offer brief presentations on topics relevant to academic interests. These can be stand-alone offerings, or combined with other instruction as listed above. Some possible topics could include: plagiarism and how to avoid it; an explanation of scholarly publishing and the peer-review process; or a session devoted to WorldCat and borrowing materials through Interlibrary Loan.

First Year Forum Library Workshops

Introductory Workshops:

Basic Research Skills: In this hands-on workshop students will learn about developing a research strategy, selecting relevant databases, effective searching, and creating citations. Basic library services such as interlibrary loan will be introduced. More information

If you would like an additional library session to complement Basic Research Skills you can schedule one of these library workshops:

  • Defining the Scope of a Research Question Students will take broad research topics and examine the wide variety of results and then work on narrowing the topic. Students will then be given a very narrow topic and work on how to expand their topic and discuss their strategies. More information
  • What Makes a Good Source? Students will learn about the various types of information sources and how to use them. They will then practice evaluating specific sources. More information
  • In The Stacks Students will be given three citations which will lead them each to a book, an e-book, and a journal article. They will find a specific word within that resource, and when the words from all students are combined, will form a quote. More information
  • Build Your Own Librarians can develop workshops based on topics requested by faculty members.

Intermediate Workshops:

Building on the beginning research workshops, the intermediate workshops allow students to continue to practice basic skills while introducing additional techniques and content.

  • Seeking Reliable Sources in an Age of Fake News Students will learn how to recognize degrees of inauthenticity in the news, and they will consider and discuss instances of fake news as opposed to opinion, satire and other forms. More information
  • Autobiography as a Primary Source Students will learn about the differences between primary and secondary sources and use the autobiography as a starting point in looking at some of the critical concerns in evaluating the reliability of primary sources. More information
  • Archives Introduction Students will learn about the content of the College Archive and how to access it. They will explore curated collections in small groups with a set of guided questions and then return to the whole group to discuss. More information

Research Guides

Produced in collaboration with faculty members, online research guides direct students to library resources applicable to the course content and assignments. These guides have lasting value as they can be used in subsequent terms and can be revised and easily updated as new resources become available. To see examples, click here. Research Guides work well in conjunction with a class workshop. If you would like a research guide made for your class, contact Joe Tucker x4737, Jared Della Rocca x4601, or Oceana Wilson x4606.

Open Access Initiative

Faculty Resolution

The Faculty of Bennington College is resolved to share our scholarship widely by having our work available in the College’s institutional repository. By providing open access to our research and data we encourage the broadest use of our scholarship to support the research and education of all, regardless of means or affiliation.

This commitment to sharing our work with the public and academic community includes electronic versions of articles and data sets that faculty has submitted to the Bennington College Digital Repository. The library will help obtain open access copyrights from publishers, and will assist the faculty in the wide distribution of their scholarship.

October 2016


Bennington College Digital Repository

Faculty may submit work to the repository online or by email (