Library Instruction & Research


The Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library's instruction program responds to the universities' critical thinking goals.  Librarians offer instructional services in cooperation with teaching faculty to help students learn the necessary concepts and skills for successful library research.


  • To teach students how to define their research needs, locate, evaluate and effectively use the needed information.
  • To teach students to conduct research using both traditional and electronic information sources.
  • To help students become familiar with the scholarly and professional resources and information systems in their disciplines.

Course-related Instruction

Librarians work closely with the faculty in tailoring library workshops to individual courses. The research tools fundamental to a particular discipline are taught, especially in upper-division courses. We expect that the students in a particular major will graduate with knowledge of the bibliographic structure of the literature in their fields.

The research program is also closely tied to teaching basic library research skills to all students. In these classes the students receive an orientation to the library, to the research strategy, and to our various databases. They learn about the purposes served by journals and about the differences between these journals and they learn to critically evaluate electronic information.

Library & research instruction forms a part of most of the disciplines taught at the university.  Further individual instruction is available to students individually at the Whitworth Library's Reference Desk.

Contact the Coordinator of Instructional Services

With sufficient lead time, librarians can provide library & research instruction sessions and printed materials geared specifically to your course and assignment. Please have a course syllabus and/or a research assignment available for the librarian. Plan ahead to schedule the best times. To schedule your class for library & research instruction during the current term, email the librarians at