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Flipped: Using LibGuides to Reach Students in the Classroom

As librarians, we've always createdguides (pathfinders, web quests) for our students.  LibGuides was developed as an online curation tool that facilitates this common, but important task.  Below are some of the common types of resource guides librarians create  and share using LibGuides.


Subject guides generally act as repository for common tools used by students and staff learning within a specific subject area.


Guides that target a specific topic highlight a variety of resources available for researching and independent learning.


These guides, based on genre, awards, reading programs, or simply reading trends,  call attention to library collections.   


Guides developed to support a specific class curriculum provide resources that can be used throughout the duration of the course for a variety of activities.  This guide was created to support a class offered at Monona Grove's alternative high school, where there is no library facility or regular librarian on staff.


Lesson targeted guides support specific lessons, activities, and projects that are part of a given curriculum.  With the expanding availability of 1:1 devices, more teachers choose to implement research based projects in the classroom, without direct instruction from the teacher-librarian.


Guides that support library or school-wide programs and initiatives are both resource and marketing tools.  This particular example is a professional development guide created in support of the MGHS library's STEAM consortium and their goal to seed a maker movement within our school.

With rich resources housed in our school libraries, time and space has traditionally been a commodity to be strictly managed. Add to that the attention and expertise of a trained teacher-librarian, and classes could get scheduled back-to-back pretty quickly.  The Library Media Center became a hub for individualized learning and access to both information and new technologies.


With the open web, access to information became more readily available, as did the means for producing new information (and misinformation). What was traditionally  taught in libraries was "turned on it's head."  What it means to be "information literate" was transformed. Now, as 1:1 initiatives put information directly into the hands of all of our students, we are compelled to, likewise, flip the places in which we teach, meeting our students online and in the classroom.  Springshare's LibGuides (and other LibApps) are custom designed to help us do just that.  







More teachers are keeping students in the classroom to complete research tasks that are integrated into daily learning activities. This is integration that librarians have advocated for, all along.  But teachers and learners rel less and less on our space, we need to seek new ways to make connections with our students. Below are some ways you can infuse ITL learning and support directly into the resource guides you are already creating with LibGuides.


Learning Targets

Posting ITL based learning targets within standard guides alerts teachers and students to sometimes unidentified outcomes students will experience during activities outside of the library.  Using a common icon will help students to recognize these quickly.


Offering research and critical thinking tips that are embedded into general guides will remind students to apply understanding and practice skills even when the lesson does not specifically focus on ITLs.  Again, a common icon helps students recognize the tips. 

Templates and Frames

Developing templates and frames that can be applied across the curriculum help students transfer habits from one activity to another. These might be provided as printable PDFs or editable documents in MSWord or Google. Check out our Biographical Pre-Search tool that students use across projects and subject areas whenever they are implementing biographical information into their research.

Related Guide Lists

A list of related guides embedded in a project guide will help students who missed instruction or need concept reinforcement.


Scaffolding research processes directly into a lesson guide helps students more deliberately select and use resources.  This is especially important with younger students who can easily get lost in a comprehensive list of resources.  Our Progressives in U.S. History Guide began as a list of resources that students often abandoned in favor of a quick Google search.  When we scaffolded the resources within a process, student use of the guide increased dramatically.


While the application of universal concepts helps students to be flexible in their use of research tools, the technical idiosyncrasies of a tool can make trying new tools daunting.  Providing brief tutorials (step-by-step or interactive) are important when a resource or tools is new or not often used.  We use LibWizard to develop interactive tutorials that allow students to engage directly with the tool while learning.  Check out our GALE Student Resources-in-Context tutorial


Embedding pre-assessments into regular guides can help students prepare to learn, while formative assessments help us recognize where instruction is weak and needs to be reinforced through more direct instruction.

Take a few minutes to examine some of the classroom project guides in the gallery, below.   

Librarians are teachers with unique training in the concepts and skills that will allow learners to engage in our information society. The ITL standards remains at the core of our teaching responsibilities, while our expanding roles, as  resource managers, program coordinators, and tech coordinators leaves scarce time for direct instruction Flipping instruction from library to classroom offers us a way to move direct instruction into the classroom where it can be offered alongside content area concepts and skills. 

Consider the concept and skills guides presented below.  Notice that they are:

  • generally segmented into single page guides
  • open to reuse across multiple curriculums and within a variety of lessons.

 How might this type of guide be utilized as part of your regular instruction? 

 How can they be combined with other guides?

Of course, there are times that we continue to provide face-to-face direct instruction in and through our libraries. LibGuides offer a great alternative to the standard slide show presentation, with several advantages to flipping your presentation stye

 Guides present information/learning alongside resources.

 Guides are print friendly.

 Guides are device agnostic / mobile ready.

 Guides support offer off-time support to the absent or remedial student.

 Guides offer students an opportunity to jump into a scaffolded lesson at a point that they need.

 Guides allow teacher-librarians to rethink, update and re-present content in response to feedback.

 Guides and their elements are always reusable (and that reuse reinforces previously learned skills). 

  • Assets (images, books, widgets)
  • Boxes (information, resources) 
  • Pages (reusable guides that can be inserted as page in multiple guides across the curriculum)


ITL's do more than focus on the consumption of media.  The information and technology literate student is also a practiced author of information.  LibGuides allows us to both support student growth producers, and a platform on which to practice these skills.  Consider using these features:

  • Student authored guides (system authors)
  • Collaborative guides and blogs (system contributors)
  • Discussion boards (students as patron users)

LibGuides User?

What LibGuides version do you currently use?
LibGuides v1: 0 votes (0%)
LibGuides CMS: 1 votes (7.69%)
I don't know.: 2 votes (15.38%)
I don't use LibGuides.: 10 votes (76.92%)
Total Votes: 13

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