We all want to make sure our students succeed. We can better help your students if we know in advance what they'll be looking for in the library and how you want us to help them.
In some cases, faculty have sent students to the library with a very specific request. If we know ahead of time we can prepare all of our librarians who work the reference desk and even arrange easy access to the resources.
Alternately if there is an assignment that you want the students to do themselves, let us know so we don't do the work for them, but instead provide support and guidance.
"Assigning Inquiry: How Handouts for Research Assignments Guide Today's College Students," Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Progress Report, University of Washington's Information School, July 13, 2010 (41 pages, PDF, 2.14MB).
We encounter a lot of assignments and as much as we want to help the students in their research process, some aspects of the assignment may not work. What do you want your students to be able to do successfully as a result of this assignment?
Over-specification or under-specification
A better option: utilize a pre-selected list of manageable, researchable topics related to the theme of the class or of your choice. Have students select a topic from this list and work with them on developing a good research question at the outset. Have them come to the library research session with their topic chosen and an initial research question in mind.
Arbitrary specifics for resources
A better option: Discuss with them why they should or should not use particular sources or types of sources. Have them search for a variety of sources and show them to you. Discuss in class the benefits or drawbacks of particular sources for answering various research questions. Talk about the cycle of information - how published information is produced and for what purposes.
Assuming students are good at research
A better option: Scaffold the process as much as possible. This will build the foundation for their future work, and provide opportunities for feedback and clarification from you, and questions from them, throughout the process.
There are a lot of skills, concepts and practices students need to learn. Consider unpacking some of these. For example: