Call for Nominations: ACRL Instruction Section Featured Teaching Librarian

Do you know someone who is an amazing teaching librarian? 

If yes, consider nominating them as a Featured Teaching Librarian!  
If you’re an amazing teaching librarian, consider nominating yourself.  

The ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee wants to highlight excellent teaching librarians.  Several times during the year, the committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning.  This feature provides a way to showcase amazing teaching librarians on the ACRL Instruction Section website and share their best teaching practices with others in the field. 

Consider nominating yourself or someone you think is amazing! 
Nominations are due by July 15th, 2020.

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Message from IS Executive Committee

The Instruction Section Executive Committee endorses the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA)’s statement on the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers within the Minneapolis Police Department. We stand with BCALA and ACRL in condemning violence and racism towards Black people and all people of color.

We seek to apply anti-racist practices in our work as a Section and will continue to work towards that goal. To learn more about how you can take action, please see the resources compiled by We Here.

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Changes to the ACRL Framework Sandbox

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox is getting a new look! Over the summer, the IS Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox Committee is working with contracted developers from the Cherry Hill Company to upgrade the site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, and redesign the site for a more up-to-date look and user-friendly feel. During this essential site maintenance, beginning on June 1, 2020, we’re pausing the ability to contribute a resource, create an account, and log into an existing account on the ACRL Framework Sandbox to ensure that your resources and profile settings are retained during the migration. Not to worry, everyone will have the chance to share their awesome teaching resources again before summer is out! In the meantime, you can still search for and view resources in the Sandbox. If you have questions, comments, or ideas for the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox Committee, email us at

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May 2020 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.

May 2020 Site of the Month: Writing a Literature Review 
Interview with: Kian Ravaei, Taylor Harper, and Doug Worsham
Interviewer: Kimberly Miller

Project Description: UCLA WI+RE’s (Writing Instruction + Research Education) “Writing a Literature Review” workshop (Ravaei & Harper, 2019) highlights the key components of a literature review, introduces methods for identifying research gaps, and provides tips on collecting, organizing, and synthesizing sources. The workshop contains interactive learning assessments, various examples, and a downloadable synthesis matrix template.

The full interview is available here.

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

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Eva Rios-Alvarado

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. Eva Rios-Alvardo


Eva Rios-Alvarado


Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC)

Job Title:

Student Equity & Outreach Librarian

Number of Years Teaching: 


What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time? 

I love dancing, singing, drumming, and being in community spaces. I have been in and out of Los Angeles (LA) capoeira communities since my time at CSU, Los Angeles in the mid-2000s. My capoeira teachers at CSULA, Delilah and Greg, were instrumental to my teaching development. Until recently, through reflective work, I did not piece together just how important their wisdom, approaches, and passions helped my own teaching philosophy, rhythm, and methods. I currently train, learn, and grow with Charles Williams, Sols in Motion, and the Eastside Café in El Sereno. Training with Charles, Rodney, and Ian has helped me learn to trust men. To me, this action is very healing as I have never had positive relationships with men or positive male role models. I also learn how to support the learning needs of men of color through learning from what they share and how we train and grow in community.

What’s your favorite Ice Cream?  

My favorite ice cream flavors are banana, nuez (walnut) and pistachio. The best banana ice cream I have ever had in my life was in Cambridge, MA at Toscanini’s. When I lived in Boston for my master’s program at Simmons University, I remember one year, for my birthday, my archivist homegirl, Leticia Ramos, and I got a banana ice cream cake. It was so legendary! We talk about that cake to this day — I’m serious. My favorite place to get ice cream in LA is Mateo’s on Pico and Crenshaw. If you get there on some nights you will see the street pizza vendor. Mateo’s represents some of the yummiest ice cream and paletas out of the Oaxacan community in LA hoods. Street vendors and local spots like Mateo’s are my favorite places to eat in LA. Many people will say bad things about Los Angeles food, but it’s because they are not eating from the delicacies of the calle (street) and what the real LA community has as far as food knowledge, wisdom, and sazón.

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

My favorite activity to do with students is not very high tech or innovative. I like to connect with students at a level playing field when we enter the class by having a quick check-in. By just saying hello and asking students how they are, I can equalize the classroom. Not everyone will be receptive, but this simple grounding technique can help orient students, yourself, and simply kindly remind them of what the goals are in the session and how they relate to students’ learning.

What is your favorite class to teach and why? 

My favorite class topics to teach are about developing research topics, editing Wikipedia, and transitioning and teaching students to college level research and library methods. In 2017, I led a student equity funded project to co-design, implement, and teach a college-level, information literacy escape room, called Zombie Outbreak, for student equity populations on campus. Colleague Brian Young, who is a librarian at Rio Hondo College now, and I  integrated principles of gaming, interactive learning, and student equity into our instructional workshop. Students, staff, and faculty who have been part of this non-traditional information literacy escape room workshop have shared that it’s one of the most creative, informative, and fun activities by the Mt. SAC Library. What I enjoy about teaching this workshop is that, at the core, librarians can use their innovation to share how and why the library is important to all students, and even more important to students with low wealth, housing insecurity, resource insecurity, and those students who just need supporters. I try to remind my campus community, when I can, that librarians are research allies and libraries are some of our only FREE public spaces in society.

What’s your teaching philosophy?  

I would say my teaching is grounded in educational theory of the democratic classroom and Xicana, Black, Indigenous feminist epistemology and wisdom. The democratic classroom aims to not create a hierarchy in the learning power dynamic. As a child, teen, and adult, I was educated or I should say indoctrinated, with thinking I had nothing to offer in the classroom and I would only learn from listening and being like teachers who looked and acted nothing like me. I could never really identify or replicate what was demanded of me in K-12 and it wasn’t until higher education that I really understood I was incapable of being those teachers and their ways of learning and knowing. What the democratic classroom does is it places value in the experiences and wisdom of everyone in the classroom. It ensures students are teaching the instructor just as much as the instructor is teaching the students. We all learn together and to me this is real, transformative, and community-driven learning. I recommend the books Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom by bell hooks and Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach by Paulo Freire for more on these concepts and reflecting on teaching and learning in practice and theory.

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Tips and Trends: New Issue on E-learning and Usability Testing

The ACRL Instruction Section, Instructional Technologies Committee has published their latest Tips and Trends article about E-learning and Usability Testing.  Written by Naomi Binnie and Denise Leyton, this issue explores how librarians can conduct user experience testing with different audiences in order to design digital content that resonates more deeply with learners. 

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. To see this and previous Tips & Trends, visit the Instructional Technologies Committee webpage.

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April 2020 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.

April 2020 Site of the Month: University of Missouri, Kansas City Library Research Tutorials.
Interview with Julie Hartwell
Interviewer: Rebecca Greer

The Library Research Tutorials is a designated space on the UMKC Libraries’ website that serves as a directory for the online learning materials developed in-house. The modules listed are “Bonus Material” for the Research Essentials information literacy instruction program’s learning modules and cover the following:

All the great topics we wish we could include in our Research Essentials materials but don’t want the modules to take hours to complete!

The full interview is available here.

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

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2020 Innovation Award Winners: OER Textbook for Composition and Information Literacy

Sarah LeMire, Kathy Anders, and Terri Pantuso standing in a line in front of a building and plants.

The 2020 Innovation Award Winners, Sarah LeMire, Kathy Anders, and Terri Pantuso.

The ACRL IS Innovation Award Committee chose Sarah LeMire, Kathy Anders, and Terri Pantuso from Texas A&M University for this year’s Innovation Award. Their project, OER Textbook for Composition and Information Literacy, used an existing OER English Composition textbook and added information literacy concepts throughout the text. “We knew we wanted the OER’s information literacy content to mimic the way we wanted it taught – integrated throughout the course curriculum,” explained the team. They describe the impetus for the project as partly stemming from frustration at how composition textbooks seem to replicate the one-shot information literacy model by isolating information literacy content into a single chapter and partly from a fortuitous conversation about textbook costs between Sarah and Terri at a faculty mixer.

This textbook has proven successful at Texas A&M as instructors have used the OER in over 35 sections this academic year, and they’ll continue to use it next year as well. The team has found that administrators in the University Libraries and the English department have been very supportive of the switch to an OER as a strategy for lowering financial barriers for students. In addition, the Texas A&M University Press is working with the team to convert the OER into multiple eBook formats, which they plan to share back out with the information literacy and composition communities in the next few months. They will share them on OER platforms as well. “This OER is an adaptation of the work so generously shared by others, and we want to encourage others to continue to adapt, build upon, or remix our version as well,” they noted. In addition to this, the team is considering other ways to promote and advance the project: “We’re considering how we could further develop the OER to support institutions that require two semesters of composition and/or facilitate its use by high school teachers of dual credit/enrollment courses.”

For others out there who are interested in trying something similar, Terri, the faculty member on the team, has this advice: “Find an advocate in your discipline! There are faculty members out there who are willing to partner with you.” Sarah, one of the librarians on the team adds, “Adapting, or even adopting, can seem overwhelming to faculty already pressed for time. But as librarians, we can provide structure, support, and even our own OER content to make the project seem not only manageable, but also rewarding.” And Kathy, the other librarian on the team, notes that “ it’s important to make evidence-based arguments to faculty. Many of them know the costs of their textbooks, but they may not know the financial demographics of their students. Working with the university assessment office to determine how helpful OER texts can be for struggling students is an important part of showing teaching faculty the potential impact of adapting or adopting open texts. Everyone wants to increase access and help students succeed.

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2020 Dudley Award Winner Interview: Veronica Arellano Douglas

Veronica Arellano Douglas, Instruction Coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries,  is the 2020 recipient of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award.  2019/2020 Dudley Award Committee member Carrie Forbes conducted an interview with Veronica after she received her award. 

2020 Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award Winner Veronica Arellano Douglas

2020 Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award Winner Veronica Arellano Douglas

Considering your many accomplishments over the years, what are you the most proud of?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and just recently my partner was gently scolding me for not being prouder of my accomplishments, which I’m sure is probably familiar to a lot of women. I’m the proudest of the work I’ve done on relational cultural theory with Joanna Gadsby, Alana Kumbier, Anastasia Chiu, and Lalitha Nataraj. We’ve created a robust community of practice which has been really supportive for me and many other librarians. When it first started, I was on sabbatical, my husband was waiting for a transplant, and I was working from home feeling isolated and stressed in a new city. Alana reached out after reading a blog post that I’d written about relational cultural theory. We decided to start a learning group and we brought in a few other folks from many different institutions who had expressed interest. We were all over the country, but coming together virtually to discuss readings via Google Hangouts. All of our fruitful discussions led to several additional blog posts and a conference presentation for CLAPS (Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy Symposium) and then one for ACRL. 

It was really cool because we were this community of practice about relational cultural theory that was started by women working at the Stone Counseling and Research Center at Wellesley College and they developed this theory as a collective. To be studying this group-initiated theory as a group was so meta! It really helps me think about the relational aspects of library work, and of teaching in particular. You’re building relationships with your students when you’re in the classroom. You’re building relationships with faculty who you’re teaching with. But you’re also building a community and relationships with other teaching librarians and that’s really important. Our community of practice recently started up again with the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s a reminder to sustain these relationships and just feel some kind of meaningful connection with others right now.

What impact do you think your leadership has had on the profession?

One thing that’s been happening a lot more recently is that I’m been doing quite a bit of informal writing on blogs and many library science faculty and librarians are sharing it with their students or people who they mentor or oversee, like student interns. This is super meaningful and it means a lot more to me than most other scholarly achievements. People are connecting to my work and to think that there is or will be this new wave of librarians who are finding value in my work is so humbling. I view leadership as a form of facilitation and I’m also really grateful to be joining the ACRL Immersion program as a facilitator. I’m really looking forward to shaping the Immersion program in the coming years and connecting to teaching librarians.

Could you describe a pivotal point in your career?

There are two pivotal moments that come to mind. One was getting the job at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. It’s a public honors college and has a strong teaching focus. Being in that environment, as a reference and instruction librarian, where teaching really mattered and professors really cared about their teaching helped me to shift my identity from a librarian to an educator. That identity switch was an important part of my growth in the profession and really helped me develop a sense of myself as a collaborator with and a colleague to faculty. Second, attending the very first Critical Librarianship and Pedagogy Symposium in 2016 was absolutely transformative. It was my first experience being really immersed in critical information literacy and critical librarianship and I learned so much from the librarians who presented and shared their knowledge.

Who has inspired you over your career?

Honestly, I have been inspired by all of my colleagues at one point or another, but Celia Rabinowitz, the library director at St. Mary’s College of Maryland when I first started there, was and continues to be an inspirational mentor. We would sit around and talk about pedagogy, teaching concepts, ideas of what libraries could be, all of it. Her passion for librarianship and teaching was wonderful. She also said something that has always stuck with me: “You should always walk into the classroom assuming that students are interested and engaged and want to learn. Assume the best of your students.” I have always found that to be great advice. 

What habits would you advise librarians who are new to teaching to incorporate into their practice?

I would encourage new instruction librarians (really anybody who cares about their teaching) to talk about their teaching with other librarians and faculty. I do think sometimes there’s this weird idea that we’re just supposed to develop teaching strategies, activities, and philosophies all on our own. That’s just not how this profession works. Lots of people have been teaching way longer than me and even someone who’s brand new might have a totally fresh perspective on an area. Talking to others helps me be a better teacher.

I would also encourage new librarians to also spend some time reflecting on your classes. As a new librarian, I used to take things really personally when a class didn’t go well. It’s so easy to blame yourself, but that doesn’t help anyone. Now, after a class (sometimes during a class) I think about what worked, what didn’t work, and reasons why that might be the case. Instead of just moving on to the next class, I spend some time doing free writing and reflection on the experience, which then helps me plan for future classes. The whole process, I think, makes me a better teacher.

What excites you about the future of library pedagogy?

The current situation that we find ourselves in with COVID-19 is very scary and stressful, but it’s also a time when librarians and faculty are thinking really creatively about teaching. There have been so many librarians who have stepped up in a big way on their campus to help with digital pedagogy. We are librarians, and teachers, and instructional designers and we have this unique skill set that can really assist our faculty colleagues. My hope is that, when this is over, whenever that might be, faculty and higher education professionals remember librarians’ extensive skill sets and expertise and we continue to value it in ourselves. 

Teaching librarians should value their expertise and their role in the educational process. I’m excited by the way language around instruction librarianship has changed and reflects a sense of intrinsic value and pride in the work that we do. We see ourselves as educational partners. I guess that’s what I hope for the future of library pedagogy and teaching librarianship, that we continue to move in a direction where librarians are co-teachers and educational partners doing faculty development and curricular work on a much broader scale. I want us to see our inherent value as opposed to using only external measures of value in the work we do.

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ACRL IS Teaching Methods Virtual Event: Let’s Get Visual, Visual!: New Instructional Approaches for Visual Literacy

In this presentation, three members of the ACRL Visual Literacy Task Force, Dana Statton Thompson, Sara Schumacher, and Maggie Murphy, will share teaching ideas and methods for instruction that utilize images or visual information. Attendees will learn more about the concept of visual literacy and how to incorporate visuals into their instruction. The presentations will introduce a technique to critically read digital images, a lesson for visual source evaluation, and an idea for interdisciplinary workshops which use memes as a framing device. Attendees will also be provided with a list of resources for incorporating visual literacy into their teaching. Time for Q & A will follow the presentation.

Dana Statton Thompson is a research and instruction librarian and assistant professor at Murray State University where she teaches courses on information literacy and serves as a liaison to the College of Business. She holds a MLIS, MA in Art History, and MFA in Studio Art from Louisiana State University and a BA in Journalism from Washington and Lee University. Her research and teaching interests focus on the intersection of visual literacy and news literacy, the integration of visual literacy instruction into higher education, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She serves as the Vice-President for the International Visual Literacy Association.

Sara Schumacher is the Architecture Image Librarian at Texas Tech University Libraries and works to improve visual media resources and promote visual literacy through discipline specific and professional applications. She received an MA in Art History from the University of Oregon (2007) and an MS in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2011). Her research interests include ethical concerns surrounding using and creating visual media and navigating emerging visual literacy competencies and knowledge pr actices. She serves as the current Vice President for Conference Program for the Visual Resources Association.

Maggie Murphy is an Assistant Professor and First-Year Writing, Visual Art, and Humanities Librarian at UNC Greensboro. She is also a lecturer for San Jose State University’s iSchool, where she teaches a course on visual resources and art librarianship. Maggie received an MLIS from Rutgers University and has previously worked as an editorial assistant for the College Art Association’s Art Journal and as the visual resources curator at Queens College-CUNY. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to visual literacy instruction, improving subject access to art images, and working with art students on critical and ethical information creation and use.

Date: Friday, May 1, 2020
Time: 2–3 PM EDT | 1 – 2 PM CDT | 12 – 1 PM MDT | 11 AM – 12 PM PDT
Please register for this event.

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