Instructional Services Program

The Instructional Services department coordinates all formal educational activities at the Marx Library. Our priority is integrating instruction into identified research-intensive courses. To identify your courses as such, please contact your Subject Liaison Librarian. In addition, Instructional Services coordinates the development and publication of print and online support materials such as subject research guides or LibGuides.

If you are interested in library orientation, please contact Elizabeth Shepard ( or (251) 461-1575).

Please click here to request library instruction.

Program Overview

Context & Purpose

The University of South Alabama values student learning in both foundational and disciplinary research skills.  Also, our accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS), expressly values tiered strategic instructional support from librarians over the course of the students’ university career.  SACS Comprehensive Standard 3.8.2 states, “The institution ensures that users have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and other learning/information resources.”  This statement is in line with national trends in accreditation, such as the Western Association of Schools & Colleges’ 2013 decision to set “information literacy” as a core competency.

The University of South Alabama Strategic Plan, 2022-2027 expressly prioritizes student success and research.  Marx Library supports those goals with its instruction program, specifically impacting Priority 1 (Student Success & Access, Objectives 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, and 1.6) and Priority 2 (Enhancement of Research & Graduate Education, Objectives 2.1 and 2.3).  Familiarizing students with foundational and disciplinary research connects them to academic and institutional culture in ways that contribute to their ongoing success, at USA and after graduation.

 Additionally, the Marx Library instruction program is centrally informed by national professional standards in library instruction and information literacy.  Of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ “Guidelines, Standards, and Frameworks,” our program is most structured around the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) and the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2015).

In support of the above values, the Marx Library instruction program supports student learning in both foundational research within the general education curriculum and learning in disciplinary research within each program.


Foundational Research: The knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to conduct foundational research using “everyday” search tools like internet search engines and multi-disciplinary search tools like OneSearch.  Library instruction will focus on basic search strategies, general source evaluation, and academic integrity.

Discipline-Specific Research: The knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to conduct competent research within one’s major discipline.  Although this research may look very different from discipline to discipline, library instruction will focus on disciplinary scholarly communication, citational practices, and discipline-specific reference and search tools.

Program Objectives

Reflecting the above values and purposes, the Marx Library instruction program holds the following as its primary goals:

  1. Librarians will engage students with the foundational research skills needed to communicate widely and effectively.
  2. Librarians will engage students with the discipline-specific research skills necessary to begin engaging in scholarly communication within their major fields.
  3. The campus community will participate in diverse conversations related to information literacy as a complement to course-integrated discussions.
  4. Librarians will support means of professional growth around issues of information literacy by providing and participating in relevant professional development opportunities.