SEAM (Students Engage at Main)

A new resource for students and instructors at the UI Libraries seams together teaching and learning with the thread of information literacy.


Located on the second floor, south end of the Main Library, The SEAM (Students Engage at Main) is a comfy space staffed by librarians and graduate students. The goal of SEAM is to support student research and help UI instructors better integrate library resources and information literacy concepts into their assignments and courses.


Like the popular Learning Commons on the first floor, SEAM is a dedicated area with comfortable furniture and consultation spaces that provides a welcoming, informal atmosphere where students can get support for their academic research efforts.


University of Iowa Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, Cathy Cranston, describes SEAM as a “living room” for undergraduate research.


“Librarians reach students through research, so instructors on campus who assign these types of assignments should stop in for a chat. We are the research and information literacy resource you are looking for,” she says.


Along with her fellow Undergraduate Engagement Librarians Katie Hassman and Brittney Thomas, Cranston looks forward to helping undergrads delve into higher level research practices and gain a more robust understanding of how information is created, interpreted, and disseminated.


“We all want students to think critically about the information they encounter, and to look for credible sources,” she says, “We hope that SEAM will help empower students to routinely evaluate what they read, hear, and see, so they can in turn create their own credibility by being selective with the sources that they use for research and in life.”


Kathy Magarrell, Head of Research and Library Instruction at the UI Main Libraries, says that the new resource will help students engage in deeper thinking about information and knowledge.


“Information literacy is foundational to the Library mission,” Magarrell says. “We encourage our users to meet with a librarian so they can experience for themselves the value in doing so. Librarians can help students find and use credible resources, which can strengthen their performance on assignments and projects, all while saving hours of fruitless searching and frustration." 


To further help undergraduate students gain these research skills, the UI Libraries also offers one-credit hour courses such as “Library Research in Context: Find the Good Stuff Fast,” which helps students identify databases, resources, and services that meet the needs of specific research contexts and coursework.


To learn more about incorporating The SEAM into your coursework, stop by The SEAM Open House, this Friday, September 8 from 10:00 am – noon. This fall, students can stop by or make appointments at The SEAM to get research assistance from 5:00 pm – 9:00 p.m., Sunday – Thursday.


Additional information regarding information literacy can be found on the American Library Association Website at