Skip to Main Content
Drexel Library

Library Learning in the First Year of College: Home

This guide is to address basic skills in finding, accessing, and using information, as well as what students should learn about the library in their first year of college.


The 3 exercises given below are designed to build upon one another when completed in sequence. Each activity can likely be completed in fewer than 20 minutes.

By following the 3 exercises, students will practice:

  • using the library
  • breaking an interest or a research question into specific words and phrases that they can use to search
  • looking for discipline specific terms to augment their chosen terms  
  • evaluating the information that they find 

Activity #1 Library Factcard

Use the links below to fill out your own Library Factcard.  You can fill this out and keep it with you or take a picture of it with your phone to refer back to.

Reflection Questions:

What did you learn from this activity?  How will you use what you have learned?

Will this information be valuable to you later?  Why or why not?

Activity #2 Case Study

Read over the following Case Study and identify 3 words or phrases to search to find library resources.  Then try these words or phrases in Summon to see how well your words or phrases work.

Case Study:

Professor X claims in class that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are harmful to society.  You raise your hand and start listing ways social media has been helpful to you and other people you know, but Professor X isn't buying it.  She wants proof and says, " that's just anecdotal evidence, if you want to prove me wrong, I want to see some real evidence.  Bring research to the next class that will prove your point and then we can discuss it."

You want to prove Professor X wrong and know that it will take real, hard evidence to do so.  Professor X is a serious scholar in the field of Sociology and won't take flimsy research, plus you know that she'll be able to discredit you if you don't bring a credible or trustworthy article or book in.  You want Professor X to write you a recommendation for graduate school, so you want to impress her.

Where do you search for this information and what words and phrases should you use?  Take a few minutes to brainstorm on a blank piece of paper and then try to locate a book or article that will prove to Professor X social media can be helpful to society.

Reflection Questions:

  • Write a short journal entry describing the process you went through in searching for information step by step.
  • Describe the process of deciding what words and phrases to use in your search.
  • How did you select information once you started searching?

Activity #3 Evaluation

Using the item you found for the case study in Activity #2, list 3 concrete, specific reasons or attributes.  These should help you explain why you considered it to be a good source of information to disprove Professor X.  Once you have these reasons in mind, post them on a class discussion board.  Critique or give your colleagues feedback on their postings by responding to at least 3 different posts.  You can use the collected posts to create your own list of attributes to look for when searching for information.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is most important to you when evaluating information?  How does this compare to your classmates?
  • What is the most valuable thing you learned from this activity and why?

Final Reflection Questions

  • After completing these activities, what will you do differently?  What will you continue to do the same?
  • List the 3 most important things you learned and explain why each one was valuable.