Service of the Month: Academic Skills and the Academic Writing Centre

Academic Skills Service

The Academic Skills Team in the Library supports the information and research needs of NUI Galway undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

Who we are

The Academic Skills team includes two Assistant Librarians, Mike Smalle and Kris Meen, and three Library Assistants, Gabi Honan, Maud Conry, and Siobhan Carroll.

Gabi, Kris, Siobhan, Mike, and Maud

Our service supports

Our teams is responsible for delivering information literacy to the student body. One of the frameworks we draw upon to guide the delivery of our support is the CILIP Definition of Information Literacy: "Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to develop informed views and to engage fully with society."

We support the following broad learning outcomes:

  • Finding, using and evaluating key sources for students' academic work (e.g. books, journal articles, case law, market reports, standards, theses, grey literature, websites)
  • Searching databases
  • Critical thinking and information
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Citing and referencing
  • Using Endnote
  • Conducting literature reviews
  • Digital skills (e.g. blogging, social media for research, managing your digital brand)


The Academic Skills team offers synchronous training support on the above skills as part of a training calendar. Sessions on the above learning outcomes can be requested as embedded sessions by lecturers. Scheduled training sessions can be browsed and booked on the Library's Eventbrite page. These sessions are currently being delivered in a virtual environment using Blackboard Collaborate; requests can be made for sessions over Teams and Zoom also.


Academic Skills query service

Academic Skills runs a queries desk in the foyer of the Library that operates Monday-Friday 10-12 and 2-4. Skills Assistants also operate a virtual service, running Monday-Friday, 9-5. Queries can be taken over email, ticketing system, as well as meeting students over Teams for initial queries. Where queries are of an advanced nature, these are escalated to one of the Assistant Librarians.

Online self-directed learning

The Academic Skills team have also developed a suite of resources for both students and staff, which can be used for self-study or embedded into different programmes.

First Year In: FYI. Open booklet focused on helping students in their first year get started with the Library.


Research Skills for Students. For students of any level, including final year undergraduates and taught postgraduates, students starting to be asked to do independent research using Library resources by their instructor or supervisor.

Recorded workshops. In the form of online videos or playlists, of workshops including an Introduction to the Library, Citing & Referencing, and Using Endnote.


Screenshot from recorded workshop.

Integrated into our guides are useful learning objects like infographics and short online leaflets such as: 


Map for Literature Searches

Endnote quick guide


Open Educational Resources

Support is currently being developed for Open Education Resources. An online guide to OER at NUI Galway has been published and workshops on topics such as getting started with OER, with our local open publishing platform, powered by Pressbooks, and on open licensing such as Creative Commons, are under development. Academic Skills Librarian Kris Meen is leading work in terms of engaging with networks of Open Education librarians including the SPARC European Network of Open Education Librarians.

You can contact us at

Academic Writing Centre

The Academic Writing Centre provides free one-on-one tutorials on academic writing to all NUI Galway students.

A tutorial at the AWC is an opportunity to brainstorm your ideas, review the structure of your essay, discover your areas of improvement, and get advice on grammar and punctuation. Students of all levels and disciplines of study are equally welcome.

We also provide group workshops and carry out other projects including international conferences on various aspects of the teaching of academic writing, including Writing and Innovation (2018), and Writing and Well-Being (2019).

All our tutorials are currently online. This format works especially well for tutorials on essay writing, although we do hope to return to campus soon.

Our team consists of one manager and seven tutors. All our tutors are postgraduate students at NUI Galway, all have excellent writing and skills and interest in teaching.



To get updates on our services and access our Forum, subscribe to our Blackboard page in the Community Zone.