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 http://www.ala.org/acrl/membership/volunteer/volunteer (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 nfp@arizona.edu.

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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October 2022 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.

October 2022 Site of the Month: Source Types and Credibility
Interview with: Natalie Haber
Interviewer: Rebecca Maniates

Description (Creator Provided):
The intent of this tutorial is to give an overview of source types typically found when doing research for an introductory composition course, define credibility and bias, give strategies for evaluating sources, and allow students to practice those skills on three sources. Most questions are open-answer, which allows students to do some critical thinking and explain their thoughts in sentences. The tutorial is meant to be graded or reviewed by the librarian, so that the students and the course instructor can have feedback on how they did. This tutorial is part of a set curriculum for undergraduate composition students. First, students take this Source Types and Credibility tutorial, which is followed up either by a face-to-face class or additional online tutorials that are aimed at teaching search strategy and tools.

The full interview is available here.

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/

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2022 Teaching Methods Virtual Event Recording

On March 30th, 2022, the Instruction Section’s Teaching Methods Committee hosted a virtual event, titled “Showing Them You Care: Incorporating Compassionate Teaching Strategies into Information Literacy Instruction.”

Presenter Elisabeth B. White offered recommendations for incorporating compassionate approaches into information literacy instruction sessions. Compassionate teaching strategies help level the playing field for students who encounter significant challenges by providing the support and accommodations needed to create an equitable experience.

We invite you to view the recording.

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2021 Teaching Methods Virtual Event Recording

On April 27th, the Instruction Section’s Teaching Methods Committee hosted a virtual event titled: Enabling the Teachable Moment: Motivating for Learning Readiness. Presenter Laura Saunders drew on learning theory related to “desirable difficulties” prior knowledge, and motivation to suggest that we can take steps to enable the teachable moment with our students. In taking these steps, we can reframe narratives about “struggling” or “reluctant” learners to focus on environmental, rather than internal, factors to help move the learning forward. We invite you to view the recording here.

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Register for the Upcoming Discussion Forum on Resisting Overcommitment on 6/15/22

Have you ever found yourself weighed down as a result of saying “Yes!” too often at work?Join us for a virtual conversation on Resisting Overcommitment! Register for the ACRL IS VEC Current Issues Discussion Forum, featuring discussion moderator Katrina Spencer, Librarian for African American & African Studies at the University of Virginia.

Picture of Katrina Spencer. Discussion moderator.
Katrina Spencer, Discussion Moderator

Date/Time: Wednesday, June 15th at 11am-12:15pm PST/2-3:15pm EST. 

As ours is a service role which incorporates instruction and engagement with a variety of publics, library workers can find ourselves committed to a broad swath of projects and stretched a bit too thin. This session will invite participants to discuss recognizing signs of overcommitment and strategies for avoiding it. This discussion is important in a profession in which burnout is rampant in the best of times and as we enter the third year of a pandemic whose uncertainties challenge our mental health. The session is aimed at teaching each other to exercise boundary-setting practices that preserve our wellness, capacities for compassion, and work-life balance. 

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

To participate in the moderator’s crowdsourced honorarium, see payment information below. If 100 attendees contribute $5 each, the moderator will receive a $500 honorarium.

$katleespe (CashApp) or katleespe (Venmo) or Katleespe@gmail.com (PayPal and/or Zelle)

Register now, as space is limited: https://ala-events.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcvdumspzMoEtzXfA9eTRRVVtJNJeVo7h4y 

Discussion resource: The Comprehensive Guide to Resisting Overcommitment 

Find out more at: https://tinyurl.com/LISovercommitment

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Apply for an IS Administrator Position (Deadline 2/15/22)

The ACRL Instruction Section (IS) is seeking applicants for four administrator positions: Newsletter EditorWeb Site AdministratorPublication Editor, and Social Media Coordinator. All positions are voluntary unpaid appointments. Deadline to apply is February 15, 2022.

Social Media Coordinator

The IS Social Media Coordinator serves a two-year term. The Social Media Coordinator has an appointment as a member of the Communication Committee and, as such, participates in the work of that committee throughout the year. The Social Media Coordinator works closely with the IS Website Administrators and also works under the general direction of the IS Executive Committee and in consultation with the IS Advisory Committee.

Please see the full description for more details.

Website Administrator (2 positions)

Website Administrators serve a two-year term and are responsible for developing and maintaining the IS web site under the direction of the IS Executive Committee, in consultation with the IS Advisory Council and the IS Communication Committee. The IS web site provides access to information about the Section’s structure, committees, reports, meetings, programs, awards, news, projects, publications, and activities.

The IS Web Site Co-Administrators are members of the Communication Committee and non-voting, ex-officio members of the IS Advisory Council. 

Please see the full description for more details.

Newsletter Editor (2 positions)

The IS Newsletter Editor serves a two-year term and is responsible for editing and publishing the Section’s biannual newsletter. The IS Newsletter Editor serves under the general direction of the IS Executive Committee and maintains close communication with the IS Communication Committee chair. The IS Newsletter is the official publication of the Section, providing current information about the Section’s news, activities, publications and projects.

The IS Newsletter Editor is a member of the Communication Committee and is a non-voting, ex-officio member of the IS Advisory Council.

Please see the full description for more details.

Publications Editor

This volunteer position provides final-round editing for IS publications. The position is intended to ensure that IS publications are consistent, professional, and polished, and that they reflect well on IS and on ACRL. This position is also intended to remove some of the burden of detail editing from IS committees or individuals, freeing them to focus more of their energy on a document’s content. The duties and responsibilities of the Publication Editor include 1) ensuring correct and consistent Chicago citation style, 2) final copy-editing as needed (i.e. grammar, punctuation, etc. according to Chicago), and 3) final proofreading as needed (i.e. factual accuracy, clarity, etc.).

Please see the full description for more details.

Application Process

Interested in being considered? Please submit a letter of interest outlining your experience and knowledge applicable to the position you are interested in, a curriculum vitae or résumé, and samples of relevant work to IS Vice Chair, Carrie Forbes, at Carrie.Forbes@du.edu. Applicants must be current IS members. All positions are voluntary unpaid appointments. Candidates chosen for these positions will be appointed to a two-year term starting July 1, 2022.

Deadline to apply is February 15, 2022.

If you are not interested in applying for an IS Administrator position, you can still volunteer to be appointed to an IS committee.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Patricia Hartman

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 Patricia Hartman

Name: Patricia Hartman

Institution: Auburn University

Job Title: Biology, Forestry & Wildlife and Math Librarian

Number of years teaching: 9

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

In the last six months or so, I started making soap. It’s totally addictive and makes your house smell amazing!

What is your favorite movie based on a book?

This might be a controversial answer, but I’m going to go with Spike Jonez’s Adaptation, which was technically based on Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. I loved both, but those looking for a faithful retelling of the book were sorely disappointed.  

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

I primarily teach small classes for upper division students. My favorite activity is in a small rural sociology class I team-teach with our Agriculture Librarian. We introduce students to the American Community Survey and the Census of Agriculture, published by the US Census Bureau and USDA, respectively. The first part of the class is a straightforward explanation of what the resources are and how to use them. However, once students learn to view the data and export it into spreadsheets, we, along with the instructor, spend the majority of the class visiting students and asking questions as they explore it. The data speaks for itself in exposing the inequities built into our food system and for some students, it can be life-changing. 

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

For larger classes, I really like to use Slido. Our department recently purchased a license, and I find it a bit more intuitive (for instructors and students) than some of the other polling/participation software I’ve used. The short answer responses serve as a great jumping off point for class discussion, the quizzes allow for instant summative assessment, and I’m always a sucker for word clouds. It is seamlessly integrated into PowerPoint.

When professors are amenable to pre-class homework, I also like to use LibWizard to get a sense of what students know ahead of time so I can adjust class content accordingly.

Are you involved as an embedded librarian? Tell us about your experience.

Yes, I have been involved in natural resources, wildlife science, biology, and rural sociology courses as an embedded librarian. Each experience is different, but all make me think more deeply about what students really need to know and how best to convey it. They also all involve working with small groups on class projects, so I get to know students more intimately. In one course, I collaborated with the professor to develop an “information literacy rubric” that was applied to their final papers. I scored the papers, and in reading them, I learned a lot about unintentional plagiarism, the kinds of sources students use, and how they use them to support their arguments. In another course, I communicated with student groups both before and after in-person research “brainstorming” sessions tailored to their specific topic. Prior to the session, students sent me descriptions of their project, along with the information they hoped to find in our meeting. Afterward, they were assigned to reflect on what they found, how they would use that information, and what they still needed to know. In every case, being embedded is time-consuming and labor-intensive but makes me a better instructor, not only in that context, but in one-shots as well!

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

1) Don’t be afraid to try new things! You will be much more critical of yourself than the students will.

2) Listen to and incorporate peer feedback into your teaching practice, but do it in a way that feels authentic to you and your voice.

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