Communication, Teaming, and Research Skills

Speed training: Library Instruction in 30 Minutes or Less

  • Kari A Kozak (University of Iowa)
  • Darlene Kaskie (University of Iowa)


A question plaguing many librarians today is how we get information out about our resources and services when everyone is so busy. One answer may be to offer express classes. Since the spring of 2013, the Lichtenberger Engineering Library at the University of Iowa has offered a series of 15-30 minute drop-in classes as part of a series called Library Xpress Classes. This series targeted one topic each week and repeated the same class twice each Thursday to reach a broader range of people. Fifty classes have been offered over the two semesters. These sessions were open to faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students. Topics covered include basics on popular databases (Compendex, SciFinder, PubMed, etc.), citation management software (Endnote and Refworks), alerts and notifications, and popular types of resources (patents and standards). The classes are not set up to cover everything completely but just to give an overview and brief introduction to products and services that otherwise might not be seen.

The sessions are taught by librarians with different areas of expertise from the range of libraries on campus. Some classes were more successful than others; the citation management software sessions were the most popular. In the spring 2013 semester, the classes averaged a 4.5 in overall usefulness rating on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being most useful. More students attended the 2:30 pm afternoon sessions and most of the attendees were graduate students.

The classes often have repeat students. In one class on Refworks, a graduate student noted he had never heard of Compendex until it was mentioned in this class. He, then, went on to sign up for 4 more of the sessions offered that semester as soon as he realized how helpful they were.

The Xpress Class series has proven to be an overall success. As time goes on the Library will continue to make adjustments to the programs so that it will continue to improve its outreach to students, faculty, and staff.

How to Cite:

Kozak, K. A. & Kaskie, D., (2014) “Speed training: Library Instruction in 30 Minutes or Less”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-12. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Kari Kozak and Darlene Kaskie

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Published on
17 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed