IS Member Orientation & Office Hours

The ACRL IS Membership Committee hosted our first virtual Office Hours & Member Orientation featuring special guest, IS Chair Meghan Sitar, on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Click here for the recorded session, in which you can explore some ways to engage virtually and keep current on events and offerings within our section. Live attendees of the webinar participated in an open Q&A, but all IS members and prospective members are welcome to send questions and/or ideas to IS Membership Committee Chair Marjorie Lear anytime at Look for another virtual Office Hours session to be announced prior to the April 2019 ACRL Conference!

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Accepted PRIMO Projects – Fall 2018

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that the following projects were accepted into the PRIMO database during its fall review cycle:

  1. Copyright Q & As: What kind of right is copyright? (Rumi Graham, Taryn Kromm, Rob Horlacher – University of Lethbridge)
  2. Reading Scientific Research (New Literacies Alliance)
  3. Wheel of Sources (Kian Ravaei, Jennifer Pierre – University of California, Los Angeles)
  4. Understanding Fair Use (Arizona State University Library, Anali Perry, Online Tutorials & Learning Team – Arizona State University)
  5. Using Videos for Teaching (Arizona State University Library, Anali Perry, Online Tutorials & Learning Team – Arizona State University)
  6. Writing a Research Data Management Plan (Arizona State University Library, Matthew Harp, Samuel Dyal, Online Teaching & Learning Team – Arizona State University)
  7. Selecting Keywords to Search (Toni Carter, Delaney Bullinger, Auburn Online – Auburn University)

Look for interviews with some of the creators of these projects at the PRIMO Site of the Month website during the spring.

If you would like to nominate a project to be considered for inclusion in the PRIMO database, the spring deadline is April 26, 2019. Submit your own project for consideration no later than May 10, 2019.

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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 January 18, 2019.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Paul Showalter

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.
Paul Showalter

Paul Showalter

College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA

Job Title:
Coordinator of Library Instruction & Assessment

Number of Years Teaching:
17 and counting

Are you a dogs or cats fan?
Have both. Love both.

What are you reading right now?
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).
With new students, I often start class with a “Road Trip” activity. In small groups, I have them spend a few minutes thinking of the top ten things they’d need to plan for a road trip to Las Vegas. What do they need to do before they leave? What happens between Williamsburg and Las Vegas? What will they do when they get to Vegas? As they share their plans, I capture the ideas on a whiteboard.

Once we’ve spent a few fun minutes on that, I congratulate them on their road-trip planning skills and then ask them to consider a different kind of journey, one that also can benefit from good planning: the research assignment. On the whiteboard, I make a dot for the point of departure (when the assignment is given) and the destination (when the assignment is due). I ask them to work in their groups again for a few minutes to draw a hypothetical map of the trip between those two points. I then have each group share aloud a one-minute explanation of their map. That gives us a chance to highlight common elements between groups and note the ways in which processes can differ, but arrive at the same goal. I pay particular attention to where in their “journey” research occurs and whether they imagine the trip as a straight line or as something a bit more circuitous, as both of those concepts can foster discussion about process and mindset.

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.
While I won’t presume to call it wisdom, with a librarian who is new to teaching, I would share a couple hard-won bits of advice:

(1) Get the students involved in their learning. It’s tempting to try to control the class by talking at the students for the entire class period, showing them all the things you think they should know and all the amazing library tips and tricks that you know. But, if you’re willing to let some of that go and focus on a few tried-and-true activities, students will learn more during your time together.

(2) Your own learning doesn’t stop just because you’ve become a teacher. We can all get better at our jobs, so embrace professional development. Seek out learning opportunities from your peers, colleagues, and on your own. Get involved (or start!) discussions about teaching and learning with librarians and faculty at your institution and beyond.

Describe your experience with instructional technologies (e.g. Kaltura, Captivate, Articulate Storyline, CMS).
All incoming first-year students at W&M taken an online summer course called “College Studies.” It’s administered in Blackboard and is comprised of two main parts. Part two, called “Welcome to the World of Information,” is an introduction to information literacy concepts and to the W&M Libraries. For part two, I worked with a handful of excellent partners to build a library of video tutorials using Camtasia and quizzes using Blackboard. As we’ve revised and (hopefully) improved the tutorials and quizzes each year, I’ve spent around 500 hours on the project, all told. Once I got the hang of it, I found Camtasia fairly easy and enjoyable to use. My editing process goes much faster now than it did when I was starting the project in 2015, which frees up time for me to try to think of ways to make the tutorials more engaging. With Blackboard, there was a pretty steep learning curve for building tests and question pools, but that was largely due to our desire to have multiple random question options for each quiz. I feel pretty adept at it now, but as I was learning, I relied heavily on a few Bb experts at my institution and on tutorials I found online. In our last round of revisions, we added captions to the videos (using YouTube, mostly) and uploaded our videos to Panopto in Bb for easy streaming. If anyone wants to take a look at our tutorials, they’re publicly available at

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Jenny Stout

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.

Jenny Stout

Jenny Stout

Virginia Commonwealth University

Job Title:
Teaching and Learning Librarian

Number of Years Teaching:

Who’s your favorite fictional villain?
Hannibal Lecter. He’s evil and violent, but also a gentleman!

What is your favorite movie based on a book?
So many, but most recently “Call Me by Your Name”, based on André Aciman’s novel. It’s just such a tender, beautiful story of first love and heartbreak.

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 use in the library classroom is ridiculously simple: I ask the students to brainstorm keywords/search terms for their own research topic for two minutes. Then, I get them into small groups (three to four) and each student gets two minutes to share their topic and have the rest of the group brainstorm additional keywords/related concepts/ideas/questions to consider. I find that it gets the students outside of their own heads when it comes to their research topic. Other students giving them ideas or feedback, or asking them questions about their topic, can unlock ideas that never occurred to them before.

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

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously or get visibly upset if students aren’t participating or seem bored. Instead, approach teaching with a sense of humor and even irreverence. Sometimes learning about databases is boring or confusing, and it’s OK to admit that to students. They appreciate authenticity.
  2. Never make a student feel stupid. If you ask a question and they give a wrong or incomplete answer, always say something like “That’s not what I was thinking, but you’re going in the right direction” or “Interesting idea! Anyone else want to build on that?” If you make a student feel embarrassed or stupid, you will lose their trust.

What’s your teaching philosophy?
The most important aspect of teaching is connecting to students on a human level. All the things we think teaching is about–giving students the correct information, making sure students can find all the resources they need, assessing how well we taught, etc.–are actually a byproduct of what’s truly important: earning students’ trust as someone they can come to for help who isn’t going to judge them or grade them. If a student leaves my library class remembering nothing except “wow, that librarian was nice and I feel comfortable contacting her with questions,” I consider that a success.

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Call for Submissions: 2019 Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award

Submission Deadline: Friday, December 7, 2018

This award recognizes an individual librarian who has built a record of contributions over time that have advanced the pursuit of teaching and learning in a college or research library environment. The award honors Miriam Dudley, whose pioneering efforts led to the formation of the ACRL Instruction Section (formerly ACRL Bibliographic Instruction Section).


A plaque and a $1000.00 cash award, sponsored by the Instruction Section, are presented during the Instruction Section program at the ALA Annual Conference.


Nominees should have achieved a substantial record of accomplishment in one or more of the following areas:

  • Exhibits extraordinary, consistent leadership of an academic instruction program in a library environment that has broad demonstrable impact on other programs, professionals, or institutions
  • Production of a body of research and publication that has a demonstrable impact on the concepts and methods of teaching and learning in the library profession
  • Sustained an outstanding participation in organizations, at the regional or national level, devoted to the promotion and enhancement of teaching and learning in a library environment
  • Consistent and effective mentorship and/or professional development of other library professionals in the pursuit and support of teaching and learning in the library environment


Electronic submissions are required. Nominations must be submitted with a completed nomination form, and a letter of support detailing the nominee’s qualifications for the award. Additional letters of support are encouraged, up to three will be considered.

Please submit a high resolution photo of the nominee (at least 300 dpi). The photo will be used to make the official winner announcement immediately after the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Nominators:  Please include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number.

E-mail the nomination to IS Miriam Dudley Award Chair, Merinda Kaye Hensley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, T: (217) 244-1880, E-mail:

View the full award committee roster here.

Note: Nominees will be judged on an individual basis. This award cannot be given to a pair or group of individuals.

Submission Deadline: Friday, December 7, 2018

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2018 Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award: Sharon Mader

Sharon Mader is the 2018 recipient of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award.  The 2017/2018 Awards Committee conducted this interview with her.

Of your many accomplishments over the years, what are you the most proud?
The accomplishment of which I am the most proud is being part of the original faculty team that created the ACRL Information Literacy Immersion Program.  It was twenty years ago, in 1998, that Cerise Oberman¸ a Dudley Award winner and brilliant librarian who created the National Information Literacy Institute in 1997, called six of us and presented the challenge of designing this new concept in professional development from scratch.  All we had to start with was that it was to be a 4.5 day immersion program to address a need for intensive training to better prepare librarians for their role as educators, with two tracks: (1) for new librarians or librarians new to teaching; and (2) for mid-career librarians who will assume a leadership role in information literacy in their institutions or communities.

The original national faculty team who embarked on this adventure were Eugene Engeldinger, Debra Gilchrist, Randy Hensley, Joan Kaplowitz, Mary Jane Petrowski, and myself, along with Karen Williams as facilitator.  Development of the program proceeded over the next year (June 1998-June 1999), with the inaugural national and regional programs to be delivered at SUNY-Plattsburgh in July/August 1999, where we were joined by Susan Barnes Whyte, Beth Woodard, Craig Gibson, and Anne Zald.

Now twenty years later, the Immersion Program is still going strong, with over 3,200 alumni, an expanded faculty, and an expansive curriculum to address the needs of today’s complex educational environment and the opportunities for librarians as educators.  The evaluations consistently showed that librarians felt transformed by their immersive experience and carried this back to their institutions, along with a new network of colleagues with whom they had bonded through this experience.

It has been gratifying to see that job announcements for instruction librarians often now include participation in Immersion as a preferred qualification and to know that it is considered a mark of quality and substance.

I can also say that it has been an incredible learning experience for the Immersion faculty and also brings joy over the years as you maintain contacts with your Immersion ‘students’, seeing them at conferences, profiting from their publications, and watching their careers blossom.

The Immersion experience has confirmed for me what I already knew – that instruction librarians are among the best and the brightest in our profession who go on to become leaders in libraries and in higher education.  The Immersion Program has been one of the highlights of my career, as I hope it has been for all who have participated.

What impact do you think your leadership has had on the profession?
In ACRL my impact has been through serving as an officer (Secretary (1987-1988) and Chair (1992-1993) of what was then the Bibliographic Instruction Section) and shaping professional development opportunities.  During the 90’s we were engaged in a lively debate about “What’s in a Name”, as the changing nature of our instructional role prompted a vote to change the name from the Bibliographic Instruction Section to the Instruction Section (1995).  I was part of the original faculty team that designed and delivered the Information Literacy Immersion Program, beginning from scratch in 1998.  I was a member of the SLILC working group that created the Global Perspectives on Information Literacy White Paper (2017).  I currently serve as a member of the Roadshow team for the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.

As ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy (2015-2017), I was responsible for promoting and implementing the newly launched Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, working with ACRL sections, the ACRL Board, and librarians in the field.  I have presented more than 22 workshops, conference presentations, and webinars on the Framework to national and international audiences and, along with the Framework Advisory Board, created the ACRL Framework Sandbox and the Framework Toolkit.

At the local, state, and regional level, I have been able to have an impact on library funding and support through my role as library dean and director.  At the institutional level, in addition to garnering support for the library’s role in student and faculty success, I lobbied federal legislators and the Department of Education for funding for preservation of collections after Katrina; advocated for capital funds for a library renovation project; worked with architects to construct the Lincoln Park and Loop Campus Libraries at DePaul University in Chicago.  At the statewide level, as chair of the academic library consortium, I organized the fight for legislative funding for the consortium resources and services and worked with the Board of Regents to include information literacy in the GenEd requirements.  At the regional level, I served as a review team member for Air Force base academic programs and for our regional accreditation association (SACS) to provide a voice for the importance of quality library resources and services.

At the international level, my leadership has had an impact on the inclusion of information literacy in libraries and government planning in countries around the world through my role as Chair of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) for the term 2013-2017.  The most significant impact was co-authoring the IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations which were passed at the UNESCO General Conference in November, 2013, recommending that Member States “endorse the Recommendations and take them into consideration during the planning of future strategies, policies, and initiatives.”  Other countries have national education plans which include information literacy, although the U.S. does not.  Besides dealing with UNESCO bureaucracy, we also learned that a few words can make or break diplomacy.  Our document was sent back for wording changes.  We had stated that Media and Information Literacy (MIL) was “a basic human right”, but UNESCO has a specific definition of human rights, which does not include MIL.  The new wording was that MIL is “a new emerging field of human rights…”, which was then acceptable.  My role in IFLA has enhanced the global understanding and conversation about information literacy.

Describe a pivotal point in your career and what impact it had on your leadership.
A pivotal point in my career was mid-career when my director told me (as associate director) it was time to leave the nest.  I was very happy where I was, with a strong director and close colleague to lead the way, but now it was time to take what I had learned and move up to the next rung of the ladder.  Since she believed in me and my potential, I knew I could do it, and as part of what I owed to the profession, that I should do it, even if it was challenging.

When I started as a librarian in the mid-70’s, the leadership/administrative roles were largely filled by males, even in such a female-dominated profession.  That gradually started to change, and it was heartening to realize that the majority of those successful women rising to the top had come out of an instruction background, where the skills and connections with the campus had prepared them for this larger role in higher education.

Part of the reward for taking on this challenge is the opportunities that a leadership role affords you – the opportunity to bring about the changes that are needed, the opportunity to create the collaborations at the institutional and consortial level that will bring support and recognition for the library, the opportunity to recruit, mentor, support, and learn from librarians and staff.  Leadership requires a change of focus, but it gives you a bigger voice.

And as part of fitting into requirements of a leadership role, I went back for my doctorate in Instructional Technology and Distance Education, with a cohort of colleagues from different areas of Education (only one other librarian), which broadened my knowledge in areas such as systems thinking, change management, leadership theory and practice, and instructional design.  And having that degree is an important credential for higher education leadership.

So the pivotal point may take you by surprise and catch you off balance, but it will take you to new levels of leadership that will allow you to give back to your library (or a new library) and to the profession.

“Remember, it is not that we have so much to do that we cannot find the time to think and act as leaders; on the contrary, it is because we do not think and act as leaders that we have so much to do.”  Peter Koestenbaum, The Inner Side of Greatness, 1991.

Who has inspired you over your career?
My biggest inspiration has come from my Instruction Section and Immersion colleagues over the years since I first became involved in what was then the Bibliographic Instruction Section in the late 1970’s.  In particular, when I look over the list of all the past Dudley Award winners, I know that I have been inspired and influenced by their research and practice throughout my career and have been privileged to have known many of them personally.  They were all bright leaders in a kaleidoscope of ways, innovators, generous in sharing, willing to speak out for what was needed, and shining examples of the best of our profession.

I’d like to also acknowledge Doris Brown, who was my director at DePaul University, who by her example, mentorship, and friendship taught me how to be a leader in the university environment, even when you were the only female in the room, dealing with presidents, priests, physical plant directors, architects, deans, and other compatriots.

Although I had  worked with them previously, my two-year stint as ACRL Program Officer for Information Literacy confirmed for me how lucky we are to have the brilliant and committed leadership of Mary Ellen Davis and Mary Jane Petrowski, who are always responsive, resilient, and forward-thinking, moving ACRL into the future to “advance learning and transform scholarship”.

To learn more about the Dudley Award and to make a nomination for 2019, please visit the  Instruction Section’s Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award page.

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2018 Innovation Award Winner: 23 Framework Things

Trent Brager, University of St. Thomas, Amy Mars, St. Catherine University, and Kim Pittman, University of Minnesota-Duluth, for their work on 23 Framework Things, a free online professional development opportunity that helps librarians engage at their own pace through readings, activities, reflection, and discussion.  The 2017/2018 Awards Committee conducted the following interview with the 23 Framework Things team.

What was the impetus of creating 23 Framework Things?
As part of our roles as current and former chairs of the Minnesota Library Association’s Instruction Roundtable, we were responding to calls for support and professional development around the Framework from Minnesota librarians and the broader library community. We planned a half-day Framework workshop for Minnesota librarians, but felt that it was important to offer an additional online component to allow for continued engagement with the Framework over time. We also wanted to create a resource that was accessible to librarians anywhere in Minnesota, regardless of their location, financial means, and time-constraints. The “23 Things” model was already established and seemed perfect for this scenario since we had heard from many librarians in our networks who were poised for engaging with the Framework but didn’t know where to start. What we ended up creating exceeded our original expectations: a robust community of practice with 23 entry points for engaging with the Framework. 23 Framework Things was designed to be accessible, fun, and scalable to a librarian’s level of need and interest. This is why it is open access and self-paced, with prizes, tracks, badges, and other ways for participants to track their progress. We also wanted it to appeal to librarians with a variety of professional development styles, so the site offers participants options to engage with the material through a variety of means, including readings, activities, reflection, and discussion.

Why did you decide to make 23 Framework Things a national professional development tool instead of just for the Minnesota Library Association?
Though it was initially intended for Minnesota librarians, as part of the promotion process we shared 23 Framework Things on multiple national listservs and were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic interest expressed by librarians outside the state and even internationally. The online, open access format lent itself well to making the tool available to librarians hailing from far and wide. It’s been great to be able to provide a forum for librarians seeking help or engaging with the Framework in interesting ways but who maybe don’t make it out to national conferences to share their work. We were most taken aback by the international appeal and it’s been really interesting to see how librarians in other countries (UK, South Africa, etc) approach information literacy.

What has the response been to 23 Framework Things (besides this award)?
None of us ever expected such a large-scale response to 23 Framework Things! At the time of writing, the 23 Framework Things website has received 37,495 views and 8,271 visitors. There are currently almost 400 registered participants from 41 of 50 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Librarians from nine countries outside the U.S (Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, and Australia) are also participating.

Beyond registration numbers and activity on the site, we knew that something big was happening when we saw 23 Framework Things mentioned in an excellent ACRL webinar by Meredith Farkas entitled Framework Freak-out: How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Live With the Framework and in an American Libraries article. It’s been great to see the site shared widely, especially by folks in the profession that we admire.

As 23 Framework Things has gained more exposure, we’ve seen it used in contexts we didn’t anticipate. Recently, the Virtual Participation Committee of ACRL’s Literatures in English Section (LES) reached out to us about creating professional development for humanities librarians using 23 Framework Things. We led a webinar sponsored by LES, and it’s been great to see perspectives from folks in humanities and adjacent disciplines shared on the site as a result. LES has also led Twitter discussions of  the Framework through a humanities lens using the hashtag #LESchat.

How will you continue to promote and advance 23 Framework Things?
We will continue to promote 23 Framework Things via multiple means. Participants have let us know that occasional emails encourage them to continue to complete Things, so we send regular emails to participants in order to highlight specific content on the site. We also send emails to listservs in order to increase awareness of 23 Framework

Though the deadline to receive prizes for completing milestones is August 31, 2018, management of the site is now included in the Minnesota Library Association’s Instruction Roundtable workflows. This means that the site can remain a community of practice and a resource for librarians looking for ways to engage with the Framework even after prizes are no longer available.

What advice would you give to someone beginning a project of this size and scale?

I think it’s important to be ambitious but flexible, and to be prepared to change your game plan as things take shape. This especially came up for us in terms of our timeline: we started creating the site in early 2017 and (somehow) expected to have all 23 Things ready to go by April 2017. We quickly realized that this was overly ambitious, and ended up writing and publishing Things in small batches throughout the year, eventually posting the final Thing in November 2017. Similarly, we originally planned to only provide incentives for completing the program through October 2017, but realized that participants also needed more time to complete the Things. Adjusting our timeline allowed us to create better content and make the site available to more participants.

Because projects like this are so time and labor-intensive, I also think collaboration is critical! Amy and Trent have been exemplary collaborators: they have great ideas; they’re fun and funny; and they get things done. The three of us have also been fortunate to work with a number of folks from the library community who generously shared their expertise in Things 19, 22, and 23. More than anything else, my advice would be to find project partners who you enjoy working with and can rely on to follow through.

Finding partnerships where you can have fun and get things accomplished is essential to projects of this scale.  Most of the meetings between Amy, Kim, and I are spent laughing but we can count on each other to get things done.  We came up with a plan for each step in the process of creating 23 Framework Things and never worried that we wouldn’t finish them.

I also think our focus on the user experience throughout the process led to our success.  We picked an engagement platform that is easy for participants to use, gave participants flexibility with how to accomplish each Thing, and used feedback to improve the experience.  Your users determine if you’re successful so they should always be your focus!

I agree with Kim and Trent that finding collaborators that bring different types of expertise (and a sense of humor) definitely helps a project like this run smoothly. Maintaining a balance between taking great care to produce a project while not taking yourself  too seriously is definitely important. Working with Kim and Trent on this project has not only been rewarding, but really fun which is not something I can say about every project I’ve worked on.

We also tried to keep the user in mind every step of the way. We know that people utilize different types of information to keep abreast of trends and best practices in the field so we made sure offer a variety of types of resources (scholarly articles, blog posts, videos, practical examples) to get people started in each Thing. We also know that not everyone has the same access to library journals and databases so we strove to use open access articles whenever possible. We’ve also done multiple user surveys to gauge how things are going and make adjustments right away instead of waiting until the end of the project.

To learn more about the Innovation Award and to make a nomination for 2019, please visit the Instruction Section’s Innovation Award page.

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2018 Rockman Award Winner Interview: Jennifer Nutefall

Jennifer Nutefall won the 2018 Ilene F. Rockman Award.  She is the editor of the book Service Learning, Information Literacy, and Libraries.  The 2017/2018 Awards Committee conducted an interview with Jennifer after she received her award.

What was the source of inspiration for this book?
This book grew from my interest and passion for service learning and my goal to continue to advance the conversation and awareness of service learning and the partnerships librarians can build at their institutions and within the community.

My interest and involvement in service learning began in 2006 while I was Instruction Coordination at George Washington University. I was partnered with a faculty member in the University Writing Program and she had redesigned her first-year writing themed course to have students work with one of six Washington, DC nonprofit organizations. Over the next three years, I saw the impact service learning courses have on students and found myself changed by the experience. I changed as I learned more about Washington, D.C., the needs of the communities, the focus of the nonprofit organizations, and the students’ experiences with the organizations and their clients. The experience activated my own interest in serving the community particularly around issues of homelessness and food insecurity.

To help advance the conversation on service learning and libraries, in 2014 I founded the Colloquium on Libraries & Service Learning. Our inaugural conference was held at Santa Clara University with the theme “Extending our reach.” The Colloquium attracted over 70 participants and offered an excellent range of sessions.

After the Colloquium I was approached by an editor from Libraries Unlimited who asked me if I would be interested in putting together an edited book on libraries and service learning. This opportunity matched with my goal of expanding librarians’ awareness of service learning. I was able to ask some of the presenters from the conference if they were interested in writing a chapter based on their work and I also approached colleagues I knew doing work with service learning to contribute chapters.

How do you believe academic libraries are positioned to promote service learning on college campuses?
Academic librarians are well positioned to support service learning, specifically through our core services such as instruction and outreach. Three short examples:

  • At Santa Clara University a librarian is partnering with a Sociology faculty member incorporating community data to prepare students before they begin their service in the community.
  • A partnership that was built between the Sociology department and the Library at Xavier University on a community-based research study related to food insecurity. That work was then leveraged into a partnership with the Office of the Dean of Students to research food insecurity among Xavier students and recommend new services and programs.
  • At Carleton College, librarians partnered with a Biology faculty member to work on a student-curated exhibit based on research projects for a public health course. This provided students the opportunity to translate their learning into a compelling visual story and text for non-experts.

While there are more examples of the wonderful partnerships librarians are developing, there is still a disconnect between librarians, faculty, and service learning offices not fully understanding what librarians can contribute.

What advice would you give to a librarian who wants to incorporate service learning into their instruction practice?
My first piece of advice would be for librarians to learn about service learning on their campus. What is the local terminology? Is there a requirement for students to participate in a service learning course as part of the core curriculum? Is there a specific community the university partners with? If so, what are the focus areas of that partnership?

Second, depending on your position in the library, make sure your supervisor is aware of your interest. Come prepared to that discussion. Make sure to articulate why service learning is important and what your interest is. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • Will this take more of your time?
  • Are you looking for any kind of support (i.e. financial)?
  • How many courses incorporate service learning?
  • What are other libraries doing?

Third, promote your interest and/or success on campus. Start attending faculty development programs, especially those focused on service learning. If you’re partnered with a faculty member teaching a service learning course, offer to do a presentation for other faculty. I’ve found that one of the most helpful things is for librarians and faculty to hear concrete examples of what partnerships look like, how instruction is different for service learning courses, and what the possibilities are.

What advice would you give to other librarians who aspire to write a comprehensive publication such as this?
Go for it! It’s a lot of work but well worth it.

A benefit for me was the way the Libraries Unlimited proposal structure works. For the project proposal I put together a summary, purpose and scope, and then articulated potential chapters and who the authors might be. In order to do this I reached out to colleagues while I was putting the proposal together to see if they would be interested and to talk a little about what their chapter might focus on. It also allowed me to think about how the topic was being covered and how the chapters would fit together.

I learned a lot going through this process and while there is a lot of work, it is also rewarding and inspiring. It gave me the opportunity to connect with new colleagues and learn about partnerships at a wide variety of types of institutions.

To learn more about the Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award and to make a nomination for 2019, please visit the Instruction Section’s Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award page.

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Call for Proposals: 2019 ALA Midwinter Current Issues Virtual Discussion Forum

The IS Current Issues Virtual Discussion Forum is an excellent opportunity for instruction librarians to explore and discuss topics related to library instruction and information literacy. The steering committee welcomes proposals from individuals who are interested in convening this discussion online in advance of the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting: Thursday, January 17, at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST.

If you would like to share your knowledge, help your peers learn from one another, and spark a lively conversation, submit a proposal to lead the IS Current Issues Virtual Discussion Forum today.

Application Deadline: September 28, 2018

To submit a proposal, please use the online submission form.

Applicants will be notified by October 31, 2018

To see examples of past discussion topics, view the digests of past discussions online.

Questions? Contact the ACRL IS Discussion Group Steering Committee Chair, Lauren Hays ( or Vice-Chair, Melissa Harden (

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