Recording from “New Framework, New Directions” Virtual Panel

The IS Teaching Methods Committee would like to thank everyone who attended it’s virtual panel titled “New Framework, New Directions: Teaching Information Literacy in a New Context” on April 25, 2016. We greatly appreciate Tania Alekson, Megan Hodge, and Andrea Baer for providing thoughtful conversations regarding the implementation of the ACRL Framework at their respective institutions.

In case you missed the virtual panel, or are just learning about this event, we are providing links to the presentation content for your viewing pleasure.



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IS Election Results

Congratulations to the new IS officers!

Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect: Merinda Kaye Hensley

Secretary: Melissa Bowles-Terry

Members-At-Large: Jo Angela Oehrli and Maura Seale

For more ACRL election results, visit this page.


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Cognitive Mapping the Library Tour

ACRL IS Newsletter article, extended content, by Marissa Mourer, Librarian for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Humboldt State University (Email:; Twitter: @marissamourer)

As part of your one-shot instruction, a library tour has been requested. Are you measuring its value to the session? I’ve incorporated a five-minute qualitative assessment – cognitive mapping – that provides a small  glimpse into students’ recollections and prioritization of library collections, resources, and spaces.

Although cognitive mapping takes several forms, I am referring to students rendering a physical map of the library – from memory –  in order to capture their own reflections on what the library has to offer (Duke & Asher, 2013; Cubukcu, 2003; Kitchin, 1994)

Cognitive mapping is not new to libraries, but has typically been used for space planning  (May, 2011; Given & Leckie, 2003; James, 1983; Ridgeway, 1983).

I use cognitive maps to quickly capture 1.) patterns of highest attention and interest; 2.) how students’ maps might match my own expectations; and 3.) how future tours might be adjusted to deepen students’ connections to the library that are most relevant to the instructional session or research assignment at hand.

Following a 10-15 minute tour within a 90-minute instructional session, class sizes of ~25 students return to the instructional space where they’re given an outlined floor map of our university library. Students tend to map structural features first so these are provided (Horan, 1999). The maps identify the instructional space and staircases/elevators for orientation purposes. I first give all students red ink pens with simple instructions: “Note anything you recall from the tour on this map for the next minute. Please write notes on all three floors of the library.” At the end of one minute I collect their pens and they continue the exercise for another minute using their own pen. At the end of two minutes I collect the maps.

Maps typically contain 10-20 notes/drawings recording what students know, remember, or prioritize about the library, whether it’s collections, resources, or spaces. By comparing the notes in red to their subsequent notes, I see a snapshot of students’ cognitive order of importance of library resources.

There are notable shortcomings. Maps are cultural probes of attention, memory, interest, and past experience; strong conclusions cannot be drawn from this method alone (Heft, 2013; Khoo, et al, 2012; Horan, 1999; Sandstrom & Sandstrom, 1995). I can only wonder about the significance of students’ notes. Mapping can exclude some students with disabilities so accommodations should be planned.

So far, students’ maps overwhelmingly note collections and art over signage, collaborative spaces, technology, or furniture. I’ve received a mix of written notes and hand-drawn images. Anecdotally, mapping has been received favorably. Maps across disciplines feature roughly the same number of notes, which indicates some level of engagement with both the tour and mapping exercise within a workable timeframe.

I have adjusted tours to incorporate a story or provide answers to items unexpectedly featured repeatedly; introduced attention getters at key collections that weren’t noted prominently; and reexamined my own perceptions about students.

Ultimately, cognitive maps are engaging student learning activities that are shaping my own instructional practices and perceptions about student use of the library.

Bibliography for more information about cognitive mapping:

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IS Program at ALA to Focus on “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” Frame

The Instruction Section 2016 conference program will be held on Saturday, June 25 from 1-2:30 pm. at the Orlando Convention Center.  The topic for this year’s program is “Authority is Constructed and Contextual: A critical view.” Four invited panelists who are experts in critical pedagogy will offer their insights on the ACRL Frame “Authority is Constructed and Contextual.” In a talk show-style format, a moderator from the program planning committee will lead an engaging Q & A, with plenty of opportunities for audience input.  Join us for what is certain to be a thought-provoking program. This event will be immediately preceded by the Instruction Section Awards Ceremony, including the 2016 winners of the Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award and the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award. Find it in the ALA Schedule.
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Join us at the IS Soiree at ALA!

Join your colleagues at the IS Soiree Saturday, June 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. at David’s Club Bar & Grill, located at the Hilton Orlando.  This event is free and there is no minimum purchase required.  Food and beverages, including local and craft beers, will be available for purchase, with more information on the venue here:


Complimentary transportation to the Hilton is available via ALA Annual shuttles.  For more information about location, visit


Instruction Section Membership and Local Arrangements committee members will be available on site to welcome members to the event!  No need to RSVP, but if you have questions about the event or accessibility, please contact either Leecy Barnett or Tammera Race
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Featured Teaching Librarian: Merinda Kaye Hensley

Several times a year, the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning. Nominate yourself or someone great!

Name: Merinda Kaye HensleyMerinda Kaye Hensley

Job Title: Digital Scholarship Liaison and Instruction Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 10

Are you a dogs or cats fan?
Real-life cats and Neko Atsume!

Where do you do your best thinking?
Walking along any beach, but I prefer the rocky coast of Maine.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?
Since much of my work is around the intersection of scholarly communication and information literacy, I am always trying to think of ways to work with students on completing the research cycle through sharing their work. Right now I’m really excited about teaching a new workshop I’ve developed for students engaged in undergraduate research. This particular session is designed to help students think about managing their online presence by submitting their original student work to the institutional repository. We are going to talk about creating metadata to make their work findable and file formatting for their final projects, discuss their author’s rights and how that ties into open access, and address a few beginner’s copyright issues. In my experience, undergraduate researchers have a lot questions related to scholarly communication issues. I am teaching this session as part of an undergraduate research certificate that’s awarded by the campus Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). The students can get credit for the certificate by presenting at student and professional conferences and by attending a series of different campus workshops. My upcoming goals include working with OUR to expand certification to include submitting student work to the IR and to start thinking about educational efforts for undergrads on data management.

How do you avoid teaching burnout?
Burnout is a serious issue for all librarians at all stages of their careers. I’ve certainly had stretches of burnout, just like all of my colleagues. I’ve been so appreciative of the conversations that Maria Accardi has brought up via her “Librarian Burnout” blog: . She challenges us to think about a cultural shift in librarianship to deal with burnout. I have several ways of dealing with burnout. First, one of my coping mechanisms is to spend time with the LIS students that work in pre-professional positions throughout our library. While it is true that the students bring a refreshing optimism to librarianship, more importantly for me, they bring unique experiences/perspectives and questions to the table. Our conversations help me to re-examine my own practice. You can get a sense for what drives new grads today by reading Hack Library School: My second strategy for dealing with burnout is to confide in my colleagues. I think that all too often, we are afraid to show weakness at work. But we are all human and we are all constantly learning, and it’s that learning process that can simultaneously push us up and drag us down. On my good days, I would tell you that burnout is a yin-yang thing for me, in that it comes with the territory of a job well-done. On my rough days, I look for ways to invigorate, which usually, for me, includes time with my research. My research grounds me and gives me a voice in the larger conversation. It’s challenging for me, and I have figured out over the past decade that I really enjoy the writing process. And finally, I vacate. Self-care and vacation go hand-in-hand, and every summer I try to take at least two solid weeks – enough time to completely disengage and forget about my work concerns enough to see them in a completely new light upon my return.

 Tell us how you assess your classes (e.g. mud cards, clickers, reflections).
One of the aspects of assessment that I don’t think we talk about enough are informal assessment techniques: observation and listening. This is the kind of assessment we do on the spot in the classroom that can assist us in making incremental changes to improve student learning. When I talk to the library and information science students I work with about learning how to teach, I try to emphasize that while these techniques take practice, both can exponentially help us to be more active in the classroom, and our students will be able to see the difference in our approach. Why? Simple – it gives us an opportunity to play with our understandings of pedagogical approaches and it’s authentic. From that authenticity, we can make changes based on our observations. Some ideas for observation that I focus on while teaching are roaming the classroom while students work on an activity, brainstorming as a team, asking follow-up questions, and truly listening without expectation, to name a few.

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March 2016 Site of the Month

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that a new Site of the Month interview has been posted to our committee website.

March 2016 Site of the Month:  Search for History Books Tutorial
Interview with: Kathy Snediker
Interviewer: Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra

Project description: A cohort of first-generation, lower-income undergraduate students were struggling to do basic research in a 100-level history course. A tutorial was designed with Guide on the Side that would be an introduction to searching for history books in the library’s online catalog. It provides guided practice in keyword and subject searching, as well as finding and accessing both print and ebooks..

The full interview is available at

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see

Look for more interviews in the coming weeks!

Jodie Borgerding and Bill Marino
Co-chairs, ACRL IS PRIMO Committee

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Teaching Methods Virtual Panel Event

ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Virtual Panel:
New Framework, New Directions: Teaching Information Literacy in a New Context
Date and Time: Monday, April 25 from 1:30-2:30 PM Eastern Time
Please register at: 

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education has been formally adopted by the ACRL Board with academic libraries currently at different stages of implementing in their instruction programs.   The ACRL IS Teaching Methods committee has invited three former Featured Teaching Librarians to speak about how they are using the Framework in their instruction sessions.  New Framework, New Directions: Teaching Information Literacy in a New Context is an opportunity  to hear some approaches and techniques for incorporating the framework into your library programs and classes.

Join us for a panel discussion featuring the following innovative and effective teaching librarians:  Tania Alekson, Student Experience Librarian, Capilano University; Andrea Baer,  Undergraduate Librarian, Indiana University;  and Megan Hodge, Teaching and Learning Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University.  A short Q & A will follow their discussion.

Please contact the committee chair, Lauren Wahman,, if you have any questions.

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IS Preconference at Annual: Teaching Data Information Literacy

Teaching Data Information Literacy: A Hands-on Introduction
This interactive preconference, presented by the ACRL Instruction Section, consists of two parts. First, presenters will share their experiences in developing instruction around data information literacy. Part two will be conducted through hands-on exercises, in which participants will have the opportunity to formulate what they see as the most important skills for their target audience to acquire. Participants will then develop a lesson plan addressing those needs. Learn how to define data information literacy and competencies, examine the differences between DIL and data literacy, and create a draft lesson plan for a DIL instruction session


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ACRL e-Learning webcast series: Learning Analytics –Strategies for Optimizing Student Data

Registration is available for the three-part webcast series, “Learning Analytics: Strategies for Optimizing Student Data on Your Campus.”  This webcast series, co-sponsored by the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Committee, the Student Learning and Information Committee, and the ACRL Instruction Section, will explore the advantages and opportunities of learning analytics as a tool which uses student data to demonstrate library impact and to identify learning weaknesses. How can librarians initiate learning analytics initiatives on their campuses and contribute to existing collaborations? The first webcast will provide an introduction to learning analytics and an overview of important issues. The second event will focus on privacy issues and other ethical considerations as well as responsible practice, and the third webcast will include a panel of librarians who are successfully using learning analytics on their campuses.

  • Webcast One: Learning Analytics and the Academic Library: The State of the Art and the Art of Connecting the Library with Campus Initiatives (March 29, 2016)
  • Webcast Two: Privacy and the Online Classroom: Learning Analytics, Ethical Considerations, and Responsible Practice (April 14, 2016)
  • Webcast Three: Moving Beyond Circulation and Gate Counts:  Practical Applications of Learning Analytics (May 11, 2016)

Complete details including webcast descriptions and learning outcomes for each webcast, and registration materials are available online. Questions can be directed to

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