FWS at Cornell Libraries

The KNIGHTLYnews is an online forum where FWS instructors and other teachers of writing can swap and share ideas for best classroom practice. Weekly posts are designed to help teachers develop lesson plans and writing assignments, and respond to classroom challenges by introducing new teaching tools and sharing emerging pedagogical ideas. Posts also direct readers to program and campus resources that support teaching and learning, and provide opportunities for peer collaboration and mentorship. #teachlikeabear

In my first semester as a research and instruction librarian here at Cornell, I spent most of my time shadowing library instruction sessions in FWS courses. I’ve had the chance to chat with FWS instructors in every discipline from Latin American Studies, to Art History, to German, to Computer Science and beyond, and many of them have shared a similar teaching concern with me: It’s tough to keep first-year students engaged in their courses. Luckily, it’s my job to help with exactly that challenge!

My name is Hannah Toombs and I am the new Engaged Learning Librarian at Olin Library and Liaison to the Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines. My job is to integrate critical information literacy themes and research skills into library instruction, and specifically to support the instruction needs of first-year undergraduate students here at Cornell! I recently graduated with my PhD in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, where I spent much of the past several years teaching undergraduate students and designing interactive courses. I know from experience how challenging it can be (particularly for graduate instructors) to connect with students coming from a wide range of majors and interests--but I also know this is something that can be addressed through interactive course design, digital humanities tools, and creative assignments that allow students to connect to course material in a way that is meaningful to them.

With this in mind, I have been collaborating with FWS instructors this semester in designing course-specific workshops such as zine-making, art and copyright, developing virtual exhibits and WordPress sites, and library instruction sessions on evaluating information bias in media, citation management and citation justice, and more! I am always available to help FWS instructors brainstorm new assignment ideas and learn how to use innovative research tools in their classrooms.

This semester, I will be offering weekly office hours in the Digital CoLab in Olin Library (Room 701, 7th floor Olin). Check with me for details! All FWS instructors are welcome to stop by with any questions related to course design, assignment planning, library instruction, or any concerns related to their FWS! Whether you are currently teaching a FWS or planning a syllabus for next year, you are welcome to stop in for support!

You are also welcome to make an appointment with me at any time (hct37@cornell.edu), or request library instruction for your course through the library website!  


Hannah Toombs

Hannah Toombs, PhD

Engaged Learning Librarian

Cultural Anthropologist

Liaison to Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines

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