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Academic Library Research Visits for High School Students

Author // Erica Clay Friday, 14 November 2014

Many students have difficulty transitioning from the high school research environment to the academic research environment. According to Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College, many college freshmen are, "intimidated by the plethora of print and online sources their college libraries [offer] and uncertain how to access or use them." To learn more about improving your students' transition to college, see the following resources:

One way to improve the transition for your students is to give them an academic library research experience while they're still in high school. Many of Ohio's academic libraries have First Year Experience Librarians or Outreach Librarians who will work with high school librarians and teachers to provide Ohio's high school seniors with an introduction to the college research experience. Use the map below to find an academic library near you that offers high school outreach. Click a green place marker to find contact information.


Don't have the time or funding to make the trip to an academic library?

  • Some First Year Experience Librarians or Outreach Librarians will come to you. They can give your students an introduction to the academic library using a combination of INFOhio resources and library-specific information.
  • Many of Ohio's academic libraries permit high school students to use their library resources through individual library visits. Contact the academic librarian nearest you to determine what will best meet your students' needs.
  • Some academic librarians offer workshops specifically for high school teachers and librarians. You and your colleagues can learn about current trends and practices in academic libraries and take that information back to your students.

Prepare your students for rigorous research

A visit to an academic library works best when students are doing research for a real assignment. This gives the academic librarians working with your students an opportunity to take your students through the library research process and demonstrate the use of academic library resources and tools.

Introduce your students to the research process using INFOhio's Go! or R4S.

  • GO! Ask, Act, Achieve: GO! Ask, Act, Achieve provides resources and support tools for middle school students as they work through the inquiry process.
  • R4S: Research for Success: INFOhio's Research 4 Success (R4S) course is designed for high school students grades 11 and 12. Upon completion of R4S students will have the skills to conduct research successfully in college and careers.

INFOhio and OhioLINK share some common resources (including more than 20 EBSCO databases) through their partnership in Libraries Connect Ohio. INFOhio resources are appropriate to PreK-12 teaching and learning. Additionally, INFOhio provides its users with access to thousands of peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles so students taking advanced classes have the materials they need to be successful with their rigorous high school coursework and prepared for college-level assignments.

Find INFOhio subscription electronic resources that you can use before and after your academic library visit on the INFOhio Resources page. Most of Ohio's academic libraries have a discovery tool that allows users to search across most of their electronic and print resources from a single search box. To prepare your students for this kind of search experience, use INFOhio's ISearch.

  • INFOhio Resources: INFOhio's collection of electronic resources for students. Username and password may be required.
  • ISearch: Search your school library and nearly all INFOhio resources from a single search box. Log into the INFOhio website with your school username and password.

Due to vendor licensing agreements, access to OhioLINK subscription resources such as the Electronic Journal Center (EJC) or Web of Science is restricted to students enrolled at an OhioLINK institution or authenticated from an IP address affiliated with an OhioLINK institution. But OhioLINK and Ohio's academic libraries have many freely accessible resources that you can use before and after your academic library visit:

Encourage your students to use print and electronic books before and after your academic library visit from your school library, your local public library, the State Library of Ohio, and the Ohio Digital Library.

If you are near Cincinnati, Columbus, Mansfield, Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown, or Toledo, try SearchOhio.

Plan your visit

Review the objectives of your students' research assignment with the academic librarian. Ask if the academic librarian has any suggestions or if any modifications should be made. Academic library visits are most successful when the school librarian, teacher, and academic librarian work together with the students. If the school librarian or teacher is not able to participate in the visit, please be sure that there are enough adults familiar with the assignment to assist students.

Ask the academic librarian the following questions before your visit:

  • Can you send me a campus map?
  • Where should we park?
  • Do we need a parking pass?
  • Do students need to bring an ID?
  • Will my students be able to log onto library computers?
  • Will my students be able to check out any library materials?
  • If students are permitted to check out library materials, where do they need to return them? (While the individual who checks out the materials is ultimately responsible for returning those materials, it's preferable for the teacher or school librarian to facilitate the process.)
  • Should my students bring any money?
  • Will my students be able to make copies?
  • Will my students be able to print?
  • Should my students bring flashdrives?

For more information on the value of library visits, read the following articles:

For academic librarians

If you are an academic librarian at an Ohio university or college and you would like to be included in the map on this page, please contact Erica Clay.

About the Author

Posted by: Erica Clay

Erica Clay is the Director of INFOhio. Prior to this, she was a member of INFOhio's Instructional Team. Before joining the INFOhio team, Erica was a Library Director and a Humanities Librarian in academic libraries, a Knowledge Management Editor at a university, and taught K-8 music and PreK. She earned a BA in English and Music and a Master of Humanities from Wright State University, and a Master of Library Science from Indiana University.

Erica Clay
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