Document Type

Breakout Session

Publication Date



A typical library instruction session generally includes demonstrations of how to use the library catalog, how to access information via library-provided electronic resources, and how to use the electronic journal list. Given limited time with a new group of students, many librarians would not opt to include instruction on how to effectively and efficiently use a search engine. The 2006 OCLC report College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources indicates that “that 89 percent of college student information searches begin with a search engine." Librarians should also consider beginning their library instruction sessions at the place where their students would begin—with Google. Such an approach not only motivates students, but it also enables the instructor to build on the students’ prior knowledge and research experiences more quickly and efficiently. Lessons which begin by briefly evaluating a student's prior knowledge make good pedagogical sense. Students naturally feel more confident and eager to learn something new when it appears that the topic is familiar. Activating prior knowledge prepares the mind to integrate new knowledge and concepts. Using Google to help students connect new knowledge to old helps them build sequences of memories that associate library searching with their previously 'easy' and 'enjoyable' search engine experiences. Lessons which extend student understanding of a familiar concept help to create better student searchers. In this session the presenters will demonstrate a variety of ways in which instruction librarians can use search engines and related web search products to increase student engagement.