Teaching strategies for library instruction: directions from the literature

Main Article Content

Nove E Variant Anna
Kiran Kaur
Yanti Idaya A.M.K.


This paper proposes teaching strategies and techniques for library instruction in academic libraries to achieve the intended goals. The recommendations are based on insights from previous research in library instruction with the intention to identify possible strategies and techniques for different user groups. This study applied a systematic literature review method, using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) protocol to examine the use of teaching strategies and techniques in library instruction programs. The Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus databases were searched for relevant literature using specific keywords. Applying the inclusion criteria, a total of 27 articles out of the 1380 documents extracted, were deemed relevant to the study. The results show that library instruction is usually conducted in the form of individual sessions. Teaching strategies used by librarians include flipped classroom, faux flip, classroom teaching, research clinic, consultation, asynchronous learning, and online synchronous learning, among others. These teaching strategies improved engagement and relationships between students and librarians, while impacting critical thinking, confidence and self-directed learning. It is concluded that librarians should consider adopting and combining teaching strategies based on individual needs and use technology to improve teaching effectiveness and increase student learning. This study shows that most studies on library instruction have only partially addressed instructional strategies. A critical review of the literature revealed that a strategic shift in the management of library instruction is necessary to achieve the intended outcomes. In this study, three teaching strategies for library education are proposed, namely Embracing for freshman, Encouraging for sophomore, and Leveraging for postgraduates.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Nove E Variant Anna, Kaur, K., & Yanti Idaya A.M.K. (2023). Teaching strategies for library instruction: directions from the literature . Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, 28(2), 63–87. https://doi.org/10.22452/mjlis.vol28no2.4


Adetayo, A. 2021. Leveraging bring your own device for mobility of library reference services: The Nigerian perspective. The Reference Librarian, Vol. 62, no. 2: 106–125. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02763877.2021.1936342.

Andriotis, N. 2018. 10 active learning methods for super engaged corporate learners. Available at: https://www.efrontlearning.com/blog/2017/05/active-learning-methods-engaged-corporate-learners.html.

Arnold-Garza, S. 2014. The flipped classroom: Assessing an innovative teaching model for effective and engaging library instruction. College & Research Libraries News, Vol. 75. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5860/crln.75.1.9051.

Azadbakht, E. 2019. Humor in library instruction: A narrative review with implications for the health sciences. Journal of Medical Library Association, Vol. 107, no. 3: 304–313.

Bagheri, M., Mohammadi Pelarti A., Jokar, M and Sabohi, F. 2022. Investigating the effect of scenario-based learning through group discussion and question and answer methods on the learning achievement of nursing students: A comparative study. Development Stategies of Medical Education, Vol. 9, no. 1: 18–26. Available at: http://dsme.hums.ac.ir/browse.php?a_id=347&sid=1&slc_lang=en.

Baroody, K. E. 2022. Breaking out while staying in: The pandemic-driven rise of virtual escape rooms. Journal of New Librarianship, Vol. 7, no. 1: 73–79. Available at: https://doi.org/10.33011/newlibs/11/8.

Berg, C. 2018. No assignment? Just flip it: The flipped classroom in first-year library instruction. College & Undergraduate Libraries, Vol. 25, no.4: 372–387. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10691316.2018.1539366.

Bicknell‐Holmes, T. A. and Hoffman, P. S. 2000. Elicit, engage, experience, explore: Discovery learning in library instruction. Reference Services Review, Vol. 8, no. 4: 313–322. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320010359632.

Budhai, S. and Williams, M. 2021. Humanizing virtual library instruction: Anchoring teaching presence in online information literacy sessions. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, Vol. 15, no. 3: 204–217.

Campbell, L., Matthews, D. and Lempinen-Leedy, N. 2015. Wake up information literacy instruction: ideas for student engagement. Journal of Library Administration, Vol. 55, no. 7: 577–586. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2015.1076313.

Carroll, A. J. Tchangalova, N. and Harrington, E.G. 2016. Flipping one-shot library instruction: Using Canvas and Pecha Kucha for peer teaching. Journal of Medical Library Association, Vol. 105, no.2: 125–130. Available at: doi:10.3163/1536-5050.104.2.006.

Cisse, S. 2016. The fortuitous teacher: A guide to successful one-shot library instruction. Cambridge: Elsevier, Chandos Publishing.

Cowden, C., Seaman, P., Copeland, S. and Lu Gao. 2021. Teaching with intent: applying culturally responsive teaching to library instruction. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 21, no. 2: 231-251. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1353/pla.2021.0014

Dahlen, S. P. and Leuzinger, R. 2020. Impact of library instruction on the development of student skills in synthesis and source attribution: A model for academic program assessment. Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 46, no. 6: 1–14. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102254.

Duffy, B., Rose-Wiles, L. M. and Loesch, M. M. 2021. Contemplating library instruction: integrating contemplative practices in a mid-sized academic library. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 47, no. 3. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/ J.ACALIB.2021.102329.

Durham, E. 2020. Tune up your #Critlib toolkit: Scaffolding critical information literacy discussions with upper-level students. Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=loexconf2020.

Fan, L. 2005. A cognitive approach of Web-based learning support systems. In 4th IEEE Conference on Cognitive Informatics, (ICCI 2005), pp. 232-237, Available at: https://doi: 10.1109/COGINF.

Fernández-Ramos, A. 2019. Online information literacy instruction in Mexican university libraries: the librarians’ point of view. Journal of Academic Librarianship. Vol. 45, no. 3: 242–251. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2019.03.008.

Franco-Valdez, A. D. 2018. Retailing laboratory: delivering skills through experiential learning. Journal of Marketing Education, Vol. 40, no. 1: 326–327. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0273475317753679.

Gaha, U., Hinnefeld, S. and Pellegrino, C. 2018. The academic library’s contribution to student success: library instruction and GPA. College & Research Libraries, Vol. 79, no. 6: 737. Available at: doi:https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.79.6.737.

Gariepy, L. S. 2016. Using rubrics to assess learning in course-integrated library instruction. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 16, no. 3: 491–509. Available at: doi:10.1353/pla.2016.0043.

Gibeault, M. 2016. Embracing Geek culture in undergraduate library instruction: the TIL subreddit for resource evaluation and qualitative assessment. The Reference Librarian, Vol. 57, no. 3: 205–212. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02763877.2015.1132182.

Ha, C.M. and Verishagen, N. 2015. Applying Kolb’s learning theory to library instruction: an observational study. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, Vol. 10, no. 4: 186–199. Available at: https://doi.org/10.18438/B8S892.

Harzing, A. and Alakangas, S. 2016. Google Scholar, Scopus and the Web of Science: a longitudinal and cross-disciplinary comparison. Scientometrics, Vol. 106. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-015-1798-9.

Hasanova, N., Abduazizov, B., and Khujakulov, R. 2021. The main differences between teaching approaches, methods, procedures, techniques, styles, and strategies. Journalnx, Vol. 7, no. 2: 371–375. Available at: https://www.neliti.com/publications/ 342865/the-main-differences-between-teaching-approaches-methods-procedures-techniques-s#cite.

Homol, L. 2018. Two thousand students, one librarian: balancing depth and breadth of library instruction for online graduate students. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, Vol. 12, no. 3–4: 250–258. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/1533290X.2018.1498637.

Hoque, E. 2016. Teaching approaches, methods, and techniques. In Proceeding of International Conference on Language Education and Research. Available at: doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.21377.66400.

Huber, S. B. 2021. Library instruction and adaptive comparative judgment to foster visual literacy skills. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 21, no. 1: 149–169. doi:10.1353/pla.2021.0001.

Humrickhouse, E. 2021. Flipped classroom pedagogy in an online learning environment: A self-regulated introduction to information literacy threshold concepts. The Journal of Academy Librarianship, Vol. 47, no. 2. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2021.102327.

Johns, E. 2014. Creating a colorful classroom: incorporating multimedia and graphics into library instruction. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, Vol. 19, no. 3–4: 255–269. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10875301.2014.984821.

Johnson, H. A. and Barrett, L. 2017. Your teaching strategy matters: how engagement impacts application in health information literacy instruction. Journal of the Medical Library Association, Vol. 105, no. 1: 44–48. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2017.8.

Kaneko, K. E. 2018. Does physical activity enhance learning performance?: Learning effectiveness of game-based experiential learning for university library instruction. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 44, no. 5: 569–581. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2018.06.002.

Kim, N. J., Vicentini, C. R. and Belland, B. R. 2022. Influence of scaffolding on information literacy and argumentation skills in virtual field trips and problem-based learning for scientific problem solving. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, No.1: 215–236. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-020-10145-y.

Kinsley, K., Brooke-Hill, L. and Maier-Katkin, D. 2014. A research and class model for future library instruction in higher education. New Library World, Vol. 115, no. 9/10: 428–495. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-05-2014-0057.

Koelling, G. and Townsend, L. 2019. Research clinics: An alternative model for large-scale information literacy instruction. Communications in Information Literacy, Vol. 13, no. 1: 75–90. Available at: https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2019.13.1.6.

Lasda-Bergman, E. M. and Holden, I. I. 2010. User satisfaction with electronic reference: a systematic review. Reference Services Review, Vol. 38, no. 3: 493–509. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/00907321011084789.

Lorenzen, M. 2001. Active learning and library instruction. Illinois Libraries, Vol. 83, no. 2: 19–24.

Loveless, B. 2022. 15 learning theories in education: A complete summary. Education Corner. Available at: https://www.educationcorner.com/learning-theories-in-education/.

Luo, L. 2007. Chat reference competencies: identification from a literature review and librarian interviews. Reference Services Review, Vol. 35, no. 2: 195–209. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320710749137.

Maddison, T. 2015. A matter of size: flipping library instruction in various engineering classrooms. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Available at: doi:10.5062/F4QV3JJ5.

Magrabi, S., Pasha, M. and Pasha, M. 2018. Classroom teaching to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills for developing IoT applications. Journal of Engineering Education Transformations, Vol. 31, no. 3. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329874018_Classroom_teaching_to_enhance_critical_thinking_and_problem-solving_skills_for_developing_iot_applications.

Marchis, B. A. 2018. Putting levity into literacy: professionally produced library instruction videos. Journal of Information Literacy, Vol. 12, no. 2: 113–120. Available at: https://doi.org/10.11645/12.2.2488.

Matteson, M. L., Salamon, J. and Brewster, L. 2011. A systematic review of research on live chat service. Reference and User Services Association, Vol. 51, no. 2: 172-190.

McLeod, S. A. 2019. Constructivism as a theory for teaching and learning. Simply Psychology. Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/constructivism.html.

McLeod, S. A. 2022. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory of cognitive development, Simply Psychology. Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html.

Montella, F. 2020. Instructional scaffolding of the ACRL framework for information. Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy. Georgia. Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/gaintlit/2020/2020/36/.

Montgomery, M. 2015. Education theory and pedagogy for practical library instruction: How to learn what we really need to know. Communications in Information Literacy, Vol. 9, no. 1: 19–23. Available at: https://doi.org/ 10.15760/comminfolit.2015.9.1.179.

Morin, L. 2021. The first-year library instruction one-shot: A place for caring. Communications in Information Literacy, Vol. 15, no. 1: 95–103. Available at: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1306168.pdf.

Oakleaf, M. and VanScoy, A. 2011. Instructional strategies for digital reference. Reference & User Services Quarterly, Vol. 49, no. 4: 380–390. doi: Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/rusq.49n4.380.

Oberlies, M., Buxton, K. and Karpinski, A. Z. 2020. Adapting evidence-based practices to improve library instruction: using customized tools to support peer mentoring and observation. New Review of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 26, no. 1: 6–30. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13614533.2019.1628078.

Obi, B. I. and Ufondu, C. 2021. Challenges of experiential learning for enhancing skills acquisition in business education. Agora Journal, Vol. 2, no. 1: 43–68. Available at: https://acjol.org/index.php/agora/article/view/1480.

Ogunniyi, S. O. and Omobolaji, A. A. 2020. Teaching methods and the utilization of the library information resources among lecturers in the University of Medical Sciences in Ondo, Ondo State. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), 3974. Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7483&context=libphilprac.

Omeluzor, S.U., Akibu, A.A.,Dika,S.I.and Ukangwa,C.C. 2017. Methods, effect and challenges of library instruction in academic libraries. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), 1465. Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/1465.

Onah, J., Momohjimo, F. and Ebubechukwu, O. 2021. Adopting flipped classroom model for effective library user education in Nigerian universities: challenges and strategies. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), 5028. Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/5028/.

Page, M.J., McKenzie, J.E., Bossuyt, P.M., Boutron, I., Hoffmann, T.C., Mulrow, C.D., … and Moher. D. 2021. The PRISMA 2020 statement: an updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. International Journal of Surgery, 88, 105906. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsu.2021.105906.

Parramore, S. 2019. Online active-learning: information literacy instruction for graduate students. Reference Services Review, Vol. 47, no. 4: 476–486. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-03-2019-0022.

Pawan, T. 2022. Preparatory discussion and project augmented student learning via student presentation based effective teaching (SPET) approach. EDUlearn 2022. 14th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies Palma de Mallorca (Spain). Mallorca. Available at: https://par.nsf.gov/biblio/10333052.

Poggiali, J. 2018. Student responses to an animated character in information literacy instruction. Publications and Research, pp. 1–13. Available at: https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1244&context=le_pu.

Poole, K. 2011. A flipped classroom approach to teaching search techniques for systematic reviews encourages active learning. Journal of Information Literacy, Vol. 15, no. 1: 68–83.

Rabasa, T. A. and Abrizah, A. 2022. Academic librarians’ roles and competencies in research partnership: A qualitative study. Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science, Vol. 27, no. 3: 69–95. Available at: https://doi.org/10.22452/mjlis.vol27no3.4

Rivera, E. 2015. Using the flipped classroom model in your library instruction course. The Reference Librarian, Vol. 56, no. 1: 34–41. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02763877.2015.977671.

Rodriguez, J. 2016. A massively flipped class: designing and implementing active learning information literacy instruction for a large enrollment course. Reference Services Review, Vol. 44, no. 1: 4–20. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-07-2015-0033.

Rowe, J., Leuzinger, J., Hargis, C. and Harker, K. R. 2021. The impact of library instruction on undergraduate student success: a four-year study. College & Research Libraries, Vol. 82, no. 1. Available at: doi:https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.82.1.7.

Shire, W. and McKinney, P. 2021. Web 2.0 tools and information literacy instruction in UK university libraries. Journal of Information Literacy, Vol. 15, no. 2: 124–149. Available at: https://doi.org/10.11645/15.2.2821.

Sullivan, K. 2018. Librarian-teacher collaboration: creating a culture of learning. Collected Magazine, No. 22. Available at: https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A549719050/ AONE?u=anon~6ec32fbf&sid=googleScholar&xid=f7d48623.

Sullivan, R. 2014. The iPad in library instruction: Collaborative inquiry for information retrieval. College & Undergraduate Libraries, Vol. 21, no. 2: 232–238. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10691316.2014.906794.

Sun, Q., Wang, C. and Ning, Z. 2018. Flipped classroom as a tool for information literacy in academic university library: a case study in Northeast Normal University. Proceedings of the 2018 3rd International Conference on Modern Management, Education Technology, and Social Science. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2991/mmetss-18.2018.48.

Susanto, K. P. 2022. The small group discussion methods implementation in writing descriptive text for tenth grade of Walisongo Senior High School Pecangaan Jepara Academic Year 2020/2021. IAIN Sunan Kudus. Available at: http://repository.iainkudus.ac.id/6964/.

Tan, R. K., Polong, R. B., Collates, L. M. and Torres, J. M. 2020. Influence of small group discussion on the english oral communication self-efficacy of Filipino ESL learners in central Luzon. TESOL International Journal, Vol. 15, no. 1: 100–106.

Teague, D. P. 2019. Tips for teaching library instruction and information literacy to first-gen college students, nontraditional students, or English as a second language (ESL) students. Serials Review, Vol. 45, no. 3: 105–110. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00987913.2019.1644699.

Tewell, E. 2018. The practice and promise of critical information literacy: academic librarians’ Involvement in critical library instruction. College and Research Library, Vol. 79, no. 1: 10–34. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.79.1.10.

Ting, Y. Y. and Reid, J. L. 2022. Do you have any questions? An analysis of question-asking patterns in surgical outpatient consultations. ANZ Journal of Surgery, Vol. 92, no. 6: 1389–1393. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/ans.17642.

Tomaszweski, R. 2021. A STEM E-class in action: a case study for asynchronous one-shot library instruction, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Vol. 47, no. 5: 1–13. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2021.102414.

Tomkins, E. 2016. Application of cognitive apprenticeship model (CA) to library instruction, Publications and Research, pp. 1–31. Available at: https://academicworks.cuny.edu/ cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1022&context=kb_pubs.

Toroghi, F.K., Sanatjoo, A. and Tajafari, M. 2022. Examining information literacy experience in light of activity theory and task complexity. Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, Vol. 27, no. 3: 97–127. Available at: https://doi.org/10.22452/mjlis.vol27no3.5

Tyagi, P., Xu, J., Thompson, L., Thomas, M., Moore, C., Haghani, S. and Hampton-Garland, P. 2018. Experience of Multiple Instructors About Student Presentation Based Teaching (SPET) Approach. Proceedings of the ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2018-88410.

Walker, B. 2006. Using humor in library instruction. Reference Services Review, Vol. 34, no. 1: 117–128. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320610648806.

Watts, K. 2018. Tools and principles for effective online library instruction: Andragogy and undergraduates. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, Vol. 12, no. 1–2: 49–55. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/1533290X.2018.1428712.

Whitver, S. M. and Lo, L. 2017. Asking questions in the classroom: An exploration of tools and techniques used in the library instruction classroom. Communications in Information Literacy, Vol. 11, no. 1: 185–203.

Wicaksono, A. 2017. Layanan referensi melalui SMS: Studi literatur / Reference services via SMS: Literature review. Media Pustakawan, Vol. 24, no. 1. Available at: https://ejournal.perpusnas.go.id/mp/article/view/154%0A.

Most read articles by the same author(s)