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Macdonald DeWitt Library at SUNY Ulster

Library-Based Assignments: Home

Ideas for faculty to incorporate use of library resources in their assignments.

Acquaint Your Students with Library Resources

Introducing students to using library resources doesn't require assigning a research paper. Below are some ideas for incorporating library resources and information literacy concepts into your course.

Update your handouts:

Library resources vary from semester to semester. Make sure you are directing students to the best resources available to them. Be sure to let them know they can always ask a librarian for assistance!

Contact Your Liaison Librarian

Your liaison librarians are available to assist you in planning a library-based assignment and sharing resources related to your discipline(s). We can also set up a LibGuide page for your specific assignment.

Liaisons by department:

  • Art, Design, Music, Communications: Judy Capurso
  • Biological Sciences: Marla Gruner
  • Business & Professional Studies: Tess Hartman-Cullen
  • Criminal Justice & Human Services: Marla Gruner
  • English, Foreign Language & Philosophy: Marla Gruner
  • STEM: Sciences, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics: Marla Gruner
  • Nursing: Judy Capurso
  • Social Sciences & Education: Tess Hartman-Cullen
  • Theater: Tess Hartman-Cullen
  • Vet Tech: Judy Capurso

Anyone with a SUNY Ulster email address may sign up for free access to from the link below. Incorporating this into your course is a simple way to encourage reading and civic engagement. It can be as simple as requiring students to read and summarize one article a week or assigning a specific article each week to start classroom discussions. The NY Times in Education Classroom ideas give sample lesson plans in varying subject areas.

Popular and Primary

Choose a popular newspaper article (NY Times perhaps?) that discusses a recent scientific study. Find the original study. Compare the two.

Popular vs Scholarly

Present students two articles on the same topic - one from a magazine and one from a peer-reviewed journal. Compare and contrast.

Questions to consider:

  • Who is the intended audience for each?
  • Which is easier to understand?
  • Does one have more detail than the other?
  • Which would you want to use for a research paper and why?


Choose an article or ask students to choose an article using a library database and have students summarize the content. Then have them analyze it: author credentials, intended audience, quality of content, references, etc.

You can do this using our online databases or by having students come to the library and physically browse the Periodicals Collection.

ICR Collection

ICR CollectionWe have a great collection of novels (classic and contemporary) available in the Introduction to College Reading Collection. Consider assigning your students reading material found at the library.

Update a Wikipedia Entry

Wikipedia allows anyone to make changes to articles. Students can apply what they research in the classroom to updating or creating Wikipedia entries. This works well as a long term project in order to give students enough time to select a topic and perform research. They will need to keep track of their sources and cite them properly.

Wikipedia sponsors edit-a-thons. These work well when a common theme is chosen.

Let Us Know What You're Already Doing

Already doing something with library resources? We'd love to know what kinds of assignments you're using that incorporate library resources. This allows us to know what kinds of questions to expect at the Reference Desk and can guide us in selection of print materials and online resources.