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Online Library Instruction

Best Practices for Online Librarians


  • Preliminary discussions with the instructor
    • Early is best, pre-term is ideal.
    • Discuss goals of the embedded collaboration.
    • Coordinate well in advance to build custom library instruction content to compliment course outcomes and course assignments.
  • Creating embedded content
    • Repurpose module content from semester to semester if possible.
    • Use Bb Kaltura to save and disseminate ad-hoc video content; use Reseacrh Guides or video-sharing websites to save and disseminate higher-quality content.
    • Consider using open-access resources with permission from the authors (i.e. MERLOT, YouTube, PRIMO.)
    • Keep your virtual library area in the source succinct – don’t remake a library website or a Research Guide.


  •  Deliver instruction at students’ point of need.
  • When appropriate, embed content at students’ point of access (such as a weekly course module) instead of within a course content area button.
  • Incentivize students’ completion or use of library instruction modules (i.e. course points, badges.)
  • Be sensitive to course culture and Blackboard course setup conventions.
  • Subscribe to course Q&A discussion boards or other relevant course forums.
  • Communicate with the instructor prior to making course announcements or sending course emails.
  • Use naming conventions for modules, attachments, or other files.
  • Follow the QualityMatters Rubric.  


  •  Use statistics tracking in Blackboard to determine library content usage.
  • Edit your embedded modules each semester based on student and instructor feedback.
  • Keep track of questions you receive over the course of a semester, noting areas for improvement.
  • Survey instructors and students each semester to assess how the embedded service can be improved.