Tips and Trends: Virtual Reality

What role can virtual reality programs or services play in a library? Examples and considerations for implementation are shared in the latest Tips & Trends article, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and Augmented Reality, written by Hui-Fen Chang and Hanwen Dong.

Published by the Instructional Technologies Committee of the ACRL Instruction Section, Tips & Trends introduces and discusses new, emerging or even familiar technologies that can be used in library instruction. The latest article and past issues are available on the Instructional Technologies Committee webpage. Recent topics include Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), Wikipedia and social annotation tools.

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Teaching Method Committee’s Selected Resources Bibliography Now Available

The ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee has added new committee-recommended sources from 2022-2023 to their Selected Resources for Teaching Methods and Instructional Design in Library Instruction and their Selected Resources for Assessment in Library Instruction Lists.

The committee updates these lists with new resources and annotations annually. Resources included on this list are chosen for their innovative discussions of teaching methods, instructional design, and/or assessment tools or techniques in library instruction.

Selected Resources for Teaching Methods and Instructional Design in Library Instruction:

Selected Resources for Assessment in Library Instruction Lists:

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ILBP Exemplary Programs Interview with Silvia Lin Hanick and Ian McDermott at LaGuardia Community College

Interview completed in Spring 2021 by Michael Courtney, Outreach & Engagement Librarian, Indiana University Bloomington; Brianna Buljung, Teaching & Learning Librarian, Colorado School of Mines; Shane Roopnarine, Assistant Librarian, University of Central Florida Libraries; and Maya Hobscheid, Instructional Design Librarian, Grand Valley State University.

The ILBP Committee recognizes programs that embody best practices from the Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices: A Guideline. We recently interviewed Silvia Lin Hanick, First Year Experience Librarian, and Ian McDermott, Coordinator of Library Instruction, at LaGuardia Community College, whose program exemplifies Program Sequencing and Pedagogy.

Share some historical background on your program. How has it developed over time?

At LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), we teach 1-credit and 3-credit research strategies courses and between 680-790 one-shot library sessions in an academic year. Every part-time and full-time faculty librarian teaches, regardless of their primary assignment. ​The total number of instruction sessions has been rising overall in spite of declining enrollment at the College. English (ENG 101, 103) and First Year Seminar (FYS) instruction classes made up at least 75% of all classes in a semester. The remaining classes fall across the disciplines, including sessions for Introduction to Paralegal Studies, The Woman Writer, Organic Chemistry, or the Hospitality Club.

As a part of our effort to incorporate more conceptual learning in our information literacy instruction, we started conversations with the English Department about how best to deemphasize database demonstrations in their Library sessions. One small, but interesting change that resulted was an edit to the survey that we send out prior to the Library session. We ask instructors to select the aspect of information literacy that is most relevant to their current coursework:

  • Choosing Information
  • Analyzing Information
  • Incorporating Information

While sessions still typically conclude with an overview of, and exploration in a subscription database, the session is framed around a big picture concept that guides the class in a productive way.

Our FYS Library sessions have a more complicated history. In Fall 2014, a required Library session was introduced for FYS for the Health Sciences and Liberal Arts majors. By March 2020, there were fifteen different FYS courses. Each FYS course required a different disciplinary approach. The Library did not have a coordinated approach to this area of instruction until Fall 2017, when we created lesson plans that were aligned to the ACRL

Framework and LaGuardia’s General Education Core Competencies and Communication Abilities.

How is information literacy integrated throughout your institution’s curriculum?

LaGuardia Community College has identified three overarching Core Competencies to structure its general education framework:

  • Inquiry and Problem Solving
  • Global Learning
  • Integrative Learning

Students demonstrate Core Competencies using one of three Communication Abilities:

  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Digital Communication

The Core Competencies and Communication Abilities are assessed, annually, via benchmark readings and ​rubrics​ adapted from the AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics.

As a part of our programmatic assessment, we went through the rubrics and connected dimensions of each rubric with the relevant information literacy topics. The rubrics may not use the phrase “information literacy,” but it is clear that our teaching content supports the competencies and communication abilities. For example, the Inquiry and Problem Solving rubric includes dimensions like:

  • Framing the issue to address a research question
  • Evidence gathering by assembling, reviewing, and synthesizing evidence from diverse sources of relevant knowledge
  • Analysis using evidence to address questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate claims and solutions

We connected those dimensions information literacy topics like:

  • How to turn a topic into a research question
  • How to expand or narrow a search using keywords, connectors, and filtering options
  • How to locate additional sources using a list of references from an article
  • How to locate appropriate sources in support of, or to challenge a thesis

    This exercise allowed us to make explicit connections between our instruction content and the General Education curriculum.

How do you use the ACRL Framework to leverage the importance of information literacy in student learning?

In AY 2016-2017 the Library Department received a grant from the College to connect our FYS instruction with the ACRL Framework and the Core Competencies and Abilities. At LaGuardia, a one-hour Library class is built into every FYS. While this additional hour of Library instruction was a welcome opportunity to reinforce the information literacy lessons introduced in required sessions for English classes, it also introduced a content challenge. Each FYS was designed to introduce students to their chosen discipline; fifteen different FYS meant fifteen different disciplinary priorities. Even within the same FYS, content might vary—while one professor used Malcolm Gladwell’s ​Blink​ as a textbook, another used the principle of mindfulness to anchor hers. The Library Department, then, had to answer an important question: How can we teach meaningful library instruction sessions for each FYS course?

The ACRL Framework gave us a starting point for this conversation. It gave us the vocabulary and structure to be specific and ambitious about our teaching content. Working together, librarians mapped each FYS course to a frame. Business FYS students, for instance, were introduced to the “Information Has Value” concept via conversations about the role of high-cost information in gaining or protecting market advantage. Then, we worked together to write lesson plans for each FYS based on the assigned frame.

What excites you most about the future of your program?

It will be exciting to build upon the work we’ve done over the last few years. As the FYS program at LaGuardia has expanded to include new courses, from computer science to fine arts, the Library has provided course-integrated instruction. It is always exciting to work with Library faculty colleagues to develop new lesson plans–we are all engaged with and invested in library instruction. We love working with faculty in other academic departments, who are more often than not eager to work with us.

Teaching online during a global pandemic is challenging but we are motivated to support students. It has been exciting to create and share teaching materials that address our current situation; the Library has been closed since mid-March 2020. This situation has exposed our need for concise modules focused on skills (e.g. developing keywords) and basic information (how to chat online with a librarian). Other materials require updates due to access. Some vendors expanded access early in the pandemic, increased access to online textbooks was especially useful, but that’s no longer the case. On the other hand, we can now tell students they can pick up books from select public libraries across the five boroughs. These modules also need to work in synchronous and asynchronous situations! We teach many sessions in addition to the required ones for FYS, ENG 101, and ENG103. Similar to our work with the English Department described above, these courses have heterogeneous needs.

Even so, it’s fair to say that our efforts are almost always focused and coordinated. Programmatically, we think about how instructional materials fit into the big picture of our information literacy instruction. We also take these opportunities to create instructional materials that reflect Laguardia students’ lived experience, or that incorporate the work of BIPOC authors, artists, and thinkers.

What about your program’s development has most surprised you?

We were ill-equipped for online teaching. From teaching materials (slides, handouts, videos) to experience with instructional technology (Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate, the two primary programs used at LaGuardia), we were underprepared for the transition to remote learning. This new reality forced us to change the way we teach, and to teach each other. Our program was designed for in-person instruction, with students sitting in front of computers.

For example, it was surprising how quickly we reverted to demo-based instruction. We may have been concerned that students would only have one library session to access the skill-based instruction they may encounter more frequently via in-person Reference, or we may have opted for what felt easier for everyone, us included. These changes were also driven by the preexisting inequities and injustices foregrounded by the pandemic. Do students learning at home have access to a computer or are they using a phone? Do they have a quiet place to do their school work? Are they forced to attend school while they are at work? A database demonstration had to, suddenly, account for many more variables.

We need time, without a pandemic raging through New York City, to develop meaningful, effective information literacy instruction. Still, as we have moved away from the worst moments of the pandemic, it is surprising to feel confident about where we need to improve, and where we need to focus our efforts. We are finding ways to re-incorporate creative, active learning into synchronous or asynchronous online instruction; this is an opportunity to think about how online instruction fits into the broader instruction program when we get on campus. This year forced us to learn together, more than usual, and to confront our own gaps in knowledge. It has been impactful and left us feeling somewhat hopeful.

What advice can you provide for other programs that are looking to develop in those areas?

We have been working with the ACRL Framework since Spring 2016; the lesson plans written then have been revised, and revised again. As the Framework reminds us, Information Creation is an (iterative) process! Committing to, and prioritizing continuous revision of our teaching has been crucial.

At LaGuardia, full-time Library faculty meet twice each year to discuss and update our instruction content. Recently, we’ve decided to introduce a standing Instruction agenda item for our Department meeting; we’ll take turns sharing new activities, tools, or stories about our teaching. Our progress in this area is a reflection of departmental collaboration and consensus about what we teach when we teach information literacy. The Framework does not have to be everything for everyone; it does not have to replace or usurp the parts of your instruction program that already work. It can, however, offer a path into building a supportive practitioner community.

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2023 Teaching Methods Virtual Event Recording

On April 3rd, 2023, the Teaching Methods Committee hosted its virtual event, titled “Teaching Material, Visual, and Political Literacy: Primary Sources in Library Instruction.” Four librarians and archivists from the University of Kentucky, including Jay-Marie Bravent, Colleen Barrett, Anu Kasarabada, and Taylor Leigh, discussed their collaborative approaches and teaching strategies for integrating primary sources into their information literacy instruction. We invite you to view the recording.

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ACRL IS VEC Lightning Round: Engaging Students in Library Instruction – Experimentation and Innovation

How do you help cultivate connection and engagement in the classroom? After a long period of isolation due to COVID-19, the need to engage students is more essential than ever.  This online session will feature four lighting talk presentations about pedagogical strategies for connecting with students and increasing participation. Attendees will learn about several innovative approaches to information literacy instruction as shared by the presenters and access practical learning objects such as teaching tools and lesson activities. The session will conclude with a Q&A. 

Date/Time: Monday, May 1, 2023 at 11am-12pm PDT/2-3pm EDT. 

This virtual lightning round is free and open to all.  A recording will be made available after the session to all registrants.

Register for the event: 

Find out more: 

Questions? Contact the ACRL IS Virtual Engagement Committee Chair, Erin Durham Wright (

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Volunteer for an ACRL IS Committee: Deadline 2/28/23

The ACRL committee volunteer form for section and division-level appointments (including appointments to the ACRL Instruction Section) is now open! Please note that you must be a current member of ACRL IS to serve on a committee. 

Visit (or see below) for a link to the form. The deadline to volunteer is February 28, 2023 for appointments that begin July 1, 2023.

Appointment to IS committees is competitive, but I want to find a spot for as many of you as possible. The more information you give me about your interests in the application form, the better I will be able to match you in IS. Additionally, if you’re willing to be flexible in committee choices you’re more likely to get appointed. Some of our committees are more popular because their names seem more appealing and that makes them harder to get on, but there is value in participating on any IS committee. If you have any questions about volunteering for an ACRL Instruction Section Committee, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at

IS is an entirely virtual section and in-person conference attendance is not required. And one additional item: ALA has continued to pause award committees and so those will not be receiving appointments this year.


Nicole Pagowsky

ACRL Instruction Section Vice-Chair / Chair-Elect


Message from ACRL:

What would ACRL do without, You? Really! We are excited to extend this opportunity for you to expand your professional network, help shape ACRL by advancing its strategic plan, commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), and influence the direction of academic and research librarianship. Serving on a committee or an editorial board is a fantastic way to become involved and make an impact on the profession.

Are you ready to be considered for an opportunity to advance learning and transform scholarship through a committee appointment? ACRL Vice-President/President-Elect Beth McNeil invites you to volunteer to serve on a 2023-24 division or section committee. Face-to-face attendance at conferences is not required and committee work can be completed virtually throughout the year.

You can learn more about the appointments process in the recording of the December 14 Get Involved: Everything You Need to Know about Volunteering webcast.

The ACRL committee volunteer form for section and division-level appointments is now open! If you wish to be considered for a committee appointment, complete the ACRL volunteer form by February 28, 2023. For more information and a link to the volunteer form, visit the ACRL website.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Jane Hammons

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

portrait of Jane Hammons

Name: Jane Hammons

Institution: The Ohio State University

Job Title: Teaching & Learning Engagement Librarian

Number of years teaching: 14

Are you a dogs or cats fan?

Both! I have a dog and a cat and they are both great. My dog’s name is Kia and she loves cheese and hates walking in the rain. My cat’s name is Lucky and he loves to be on camera during Zoom meetings. He shows up so often that my supervisor said she was planning to write him a performance review letter.

What are you reading right now?

I am always reading multiple books at one time. I get so excited when I find a book I want to read that I can’t stop myself from starting a new one before I finished the previous one! At the moment, this includes Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, Binge Times: Inside Hollywood’s Furious Billion-Dollar Battle to Take Down Netflix by Dade Hayes and Dawn Chmielewski, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, and Son by Lois Lowry.

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

Although it sounds simple, I have found true/false activities to be really helpful. I provide a list of statements such as “plagiarism is illegal.” Then I ask participants to decide whether the statements are true. I find it works best when the statements are ones that are a little ambiguous or where I think that the audience is likely to get it wrong. I try to directly address potential misconceptions, such as “If a source is a .org, then it is likely credible.” I find this type of activity allows me to get a better idea of prior knowledge. It gives me the opportunity to directly address misconceptions. It can be done in a face-to-face classroom or online using different types of polling software. And I have done this with different audiences, including students and instructors, and it has worked for engaging both groups.

Tell us about your favorite teaching tools (e.g. cool apps, clickers, etc.).

When I give online workshops, I love using Jamboard. It works really well when you want to give the audience a chance to provide open responses to a discussion question. Everyone can post their response by adding a sticky note and the notes can be moved around the board. It is anonymous so it allows you to hear from many different voices without the participant feeling any pressure that their response has to be right. I have also had a lot of fun recently using Adobe Express to create instructional resources. You can very easily create a professional-looking, sharable web page or guide without having any knowledge of coding. I recently created overview guides for each of the six Framework concepts using this tool, as well as a guide to Source Evaluation myths, and I love how they turned out. 

How has your teaching practice changed over time?

For the first ten years of my career, my primary focus was on working directly with students in the classroom in one-shot sessions. However, in my current position, I work much more often with instructors. For example, I provide multiple workshops aimed at helping instructors to think about how they can incorporate information literacy concepts and skills into their own classes. While I still think that working directly with students is valuable, I think that working with instructors through a “teach the teachers” approach is another path that librarians can take to support student learning and the integration of information literacy into the curriculum. I also feel that my teaching has become much more informed by research than it was when I started. Over the years I’ve had a chance to learn more about pedagogy and instructional design and to review great books on teaching. I have been influenced by this learning in how I approach teaching. Some of the books that have impacted my approach include Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James Lang and Creating Wicked Students: Designing Courses for a Complex World by Paul Hanstedt.

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

First, I would say try not to be too hard on yourself and expect that you will get it right every time. Teaching is challenging, especially teaching through a one-shot approach, and many of us go into teaching with little preparation for the role. It will take time to really feel comfortable teaching and even after you have gained some experience, you will still sometimes make mistakes. And sometimes you can do everything right and still have a class that just doesn’t go the way you had hoped. I’ve tried many activities that I was excited about that ended up not working well at all. It happens to us all! I know it can be hard, but don’t let yourself get too down if you have a difficult experience. 

Second, be open to learning more about teaching as a practice. Read books about teaching, attend teaching workshops or conference sessions if you can. Learning more about the science behind learning, and teaching, really helped me to feel more confident in my own teaching. 

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Stephanie Evers

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.

portrait of Stephanie Evers

Name: Stephanie Evers

Institution: University of Northern Colorado

Job Title: Teaching & Outreach Librarian

Number of years teaching: 10

What are you reading right now?

Rivers of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard.  I always enjoy a harrowing exploration tale!

Where do you do your best thinking?

Unfortunately in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep.  That’s when I’ll come up with solutions to problems, or new insights. Just wish my mind could find another time to be so helpful!

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

For one-shot instruction sessions, I like to try and take a personal situation from my own life to help frame an example research topic which the class uses for an activity on source evaluation. For example, for a class of Education majors, I talked about how my son has the block schedule at his high school and how I have all these complaints about it but have never sat down to research the impacts of block scheduling on student achievement – so that became our research topic.  Then students evaluated 3 sources around this topic, and we had a good discussion about the sources, and the topic itself.  I find that making this personal connection with the students helps them engage with me and the class content, particularly in the one-shot environment where they don’t know you and there isn’t time to develop relationships.

Tell us how you assess your classes (e.g. mud cards, clickers, reflections).

One assessment tool that we take advantage of at our institution is online forms.  We use these extensively in one-shot instruction as going through the form questions helps guide students through the session and then we have all that data to use for assessment purposes.  Often in these sessions students are finding sources on their own research topics, and so when we look at their responses to the online form questions, we have their stated research topics and the title/author information of the sources they found. This allows us to see if students are finding peer-reviewed, relevant sources. Having this knowledge has helped us show the value of our instruction program, and of course led to changes in our curriculum.  We’ve used both Qualtrics and LibWizard for these forms, and briefly used Google Forms as well, so there are several options out there for creating these forms and collecting the data. 

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

I would tell new instructors to try and not change who they are as a teacher too much.  In the beginning I really thought I needed to put on more of a performance, but that is just not who I am.  So, I’ve learned to embrace that and find other ways of engaging students, and hopefully not bore them while still being myself.  My other piece of advice is to give it time.  In that first year or two, you will have sessions that just don’t go so great, and you need to give yourself some grace.  As with most things, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel until eventually you realize being up in front of the class is second nature

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Call for Proposals: Engaging Students in Library Instruction: Experimentation and Innovation Lightening Round

The ACRL IS Virtual Engagement Committee (VEC) committee is looking for proposals for a Lightning Round virtual event to take place in Spring 2023. For more information and the submission form (due December 23, 2022), please see CFP: 2023 Engaging Students in Library Instruction: Experimentation and Innovation Lightning Round

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