Award Winner Essays, 1984-2007
ACRL is a wonderful example of a living system with every member making a contribution that moves us forward. Thank you to the IS awards committee members for your efforts to deliberate and make what I know are very difficult decisions, and to Elsevier for supporting the section’s work through the funding of this award.
Lisa mentioned I was in the Coldwater Creek store when she told me about the award. I couldn’t imagine what was so important that she wanted to find me while I was shopping — but it was a perfect spot because we were right outside the dressing room and I could sit down to recover from the news. Now I have a lovely jacket to remember the moment. Coldwater Creek will never mean the same.
I’m fortunate to have my partner Cindy present today, who understands when I fly away 5-6 times each year for conferences and teaching and provides so much support for my efforts. I’m so glad you are here.
There is no more fulfilling professional experience than being honored by your peers. And I am truly honored and humbled because we live each others lives everyday as we pass through the library doors, sharing the values and challenges and gifts of this profession. You understand, which gives this award extra meaning for me.
I’ve asked myself over and over since January — what meaning does this hold? What am I to learn from this honor? I kept returning to the words opportunities and possibilities. Each day there are opportunities to grasp and possibilities that await us. I am standing here today because others created opportunities and possibilities for me.
I first want to thank Beth Woodard who I understand nominated me. I am sincerely grateful that you took time from what I know is a very busy life to write the letter and give me the gift of this opportunity. I am truly blessed.
We never know what kind of impact we are going to have on others. I don’t think that the librarians at South Dakota State University where I had my first professional position will ever understand the impact they have had on my life nor the opportunities and possibilities they created for me. From Clark Hallman, Bang Kim and Leon Raney I learned the values and philosophies of librarianship. They showed me the way and I still hear their voices in my thoughts 22 years later.
I am grateful for the opportunities provided by my longtime ALA friends Julie Kelly (who is here today), Susan Richards, and Rosemary McAndrew. We’ve spent many a late night discussing issues, planning articles to write, and challenging assumptions– it’s the kind of time that builds strong bonds.
All of my ideas have roots in the work of others — so many individuals have paved the path, providing opportunity for me to walk down a road with fewer bumps or mudholes and to them I am grateful. Betsy Wilson, Lori Arp, Patti Iannuzzi, Tom Kirk, Bonnie Gratch-Lindauer, Abbie Loomis — people who were names on journal articles, and then became mentors in ACRL. As I watched them work and lead, I learned.
It’s interesting to be honored for work in the area of assessment when just the mere mention of the word can clear a room. But it is so critical we make the effort and demonstrate the value and contributions the library brings to student learning and student success.
Two of the faculty from my library are here today — Beth Thoms and Lynn Olson. They, along with my other Pierce colleagues created opportunities for me to move assessment theory into practice. The derivation of the work assessment is “to sit down beside” and we have sat beside each other on many occasions iterating our way through the assessment forest — I am grateful to all of the Pierce College library faculty for all of the learning opportunities. Better colleagues no one could ask for.
Cerise Oberman created the most significant professional opportunity for me; to her, I can never express enough gratitude. Cerise was chiefly responsible for developing the Institute for Information Literacy and the Immersion Program and I remember exactly where I was the day she called asking if I would serve on the faculty. Immersion has given me the chance to develop my ideas about assessment, to teach them, and to apply them. And more than that it has given me the strong ties and professional relationships of my dreams. My gratitude and admiration goes to the senior faculty of the Immersion Program (present and former): Beth Woodard, Anne Zald, Craig Gibson, Karen Williams, Susan Barnes Whyte, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Randy Hensley, Mary Jane Petrowski, Sharon Mader, Joan Kaplowitz, Dane Ward, John Holmes and Carol Hansen. Your deep questions have advanced my thinking and strategies, and working with you has indeed been the most enriching learning experience of my life. Your trust in me enabled me to plant my feet in values, to take risks, and live possibilities I never dreamed were attainable.
Most importantly, I want to thank the nearly 1,500 librarians who have been participants in the Immersion program. You all have given me the deepest opportunity to discover and grow as a teacher. Your curiosity and desire to learn has inspired me to develop new strategies and ways of thinking about assessment and academic librarianship. You have challenged me, encouraged me, and inspired my efforts.
Opportunities and possibilities — all created by others. Today is my day to encourage you to see opportunities and capitalize on the possibilities. Today I hope I can inspire you to create opportunities for colleagues and students, to see the possibility in others, to seize opportunities that you might deem just beyond your reach, to risk; grasping opportunities in an effort to create endless possibilities.
In every moment of our existence, we are in a wide field of possibilities where we have access to an infinite number of choices. I am delighted I can give back to an association that I treasure so deeply. But as Bill Bradley said at the opening session, you also have to believe that something can indeed be done. So let’s believe, and fully engage the possibilities and opportunities that await us.
Receiving the Miriam Dudley Award is truly a great honor and I thank Elsevier and the ACRL Instruction Section. I would also like to thank Colgate University for the sabbatical leave that made it possible for me to work on developing the Immersion Program. I would also like to thank Judy Noyes, the former Colgate university librarian, for her support of my work in the area of information literacy.
One of the nicest things about receiving this award is that it has reconnected me with colleagues around the world. And, it also gives me great pleasure to report that our international colleagues are currently working on translations of the “Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education” into Malay, Farsi, Czech, Swedish, Finish, and Russian. Perhaps we’ll see the Immersion Program in those countries one day.
It is wonderful to see so many distinguished colleagues and friends here today. I am delighted and honored that my husband and family can all share this occasion with me.
It seems only appropriate at this time to remind ourselves that the ACRL Immersion Program exists thanks to the efforts of many visionaries, especially Cerise Oberman, who first floated her bright idea at the 1997 LOEX Conference in Charleston. I know that some of you were there. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Althea Jenkins, the ACRL Executive Director who encouraged Cerise to bring her idea to the ACRL Board of Directors who quickly approved substantial seed money for planning and development. We are grateful to the initial steering committee that included Cerise Oberman, Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson, Lori Arp, Tom Kirk, and incoming ACRL Vice-President/President-Elect Julie Todaro. This group worked long and hard to operationalize various information literacy initiatives, including the Immersion Program.
And then there is the Immersion faculty with whom I spent countless hours in concrete rooms with varying degrees of jet lag. Together we embraced and endured what can only be described as a period of intense rapid prototyping. It was an amazing feat of intellectual engineering to figure out not only the curriculum, but also the logistics of five teachers teaching two different curriculums at the same time in the space of a week. I was fortunate to have the support of really creative people, who, in the words of IDEO, were “not afraid to fail early and often in order to succeed sooner.”
I’d like to end with a special tribute to the Immersion faculty. Collectively, they have done so much to educate the next generation of academic and research librarians. They have helped many find their voices as teachers and leaders. Most importantly, they have walked the talk and shown all of us that advancing information literacy across the curriculum is an act of courage, patience, and hope.
Please join me in thanking the “first generation” of Immersion faculty who have given so much of their time and talent:
- Eugene Engeldinger
- Craig Gibson
- Deb Gilchrist
- Randy Hensley
- Joan Kaplowitz
- Sharon Mader
- Susan Barnes Whyte
- Karen Williams
- Beth S. Woodard
- Anne E. Zald
I want to thank the Awards Committee for this special recognition, which honors the work of the California State University for over a decade, and especially the information literacy librarians on our 23 campuses, plus the administrative support we have received. I would also like to thank Dr. Gordon Smith (Director of CSU Systemwide Library Initiatives in our central Chancellor’s Office), Dr. Susan Curzon (Dean of the Library at our Northridge campus and chair of the CSU Information Competence work group for many years), Dr. Lorie Roth (Asst Vice Chancellor of CSU Academic Programs), Elsevier for sponsoring the award, and the many friends and family members who are here to celebrate with us today.
The award is especially meaningful to me since I was an undergraduate at UCLA when Mimi Dudley was an active member of the College Library. I later worked with her professionally in California and through ACRL committees when I became a librarian. She was an early mentor to me, and I feel her presence here this afternoon.
Today, I want to talk to you about being divergent in your thinking, creative in your approach, and passionate about your work in order to move the information literacy agenda forward in meaningful and compelling ways. Think broadly about information literacy, be creative in your strategies, clear about your goals, and passionately make the case for IL across the curriculum, vertically and horizontally through lower and upper division GE classes, courses in the major, electives, and capstone experiences. Work to establish partnerships with student affairs professionals, and reach out to residential learning communities and places outside the library where students can be found. Collaborate with faculty members, assessment directors, faculty development directors, test officers, distant learning directors, first year experience directors, IT professionals, Academic Senate leaders, and other key players on your campuses.
Be bold and also help elementary and secondary teachers and administrators so that their students will be academically ready and successful when they begin their higher education careers.
Collect valid and reliable, performance-based assessment data to help make the case and show the consequences of not having an integrated IL program on the campus—the consequences of students dropping out and not graduating because they don’t have the academic skills to successfully complete assignments and go on to establish productive careers; or not going to graduate school because they don’t have the requisite research skills; of not providing solutions to problems identified by business, industry, education or government because they don’t know how to find, evaluate, synthesize, and use information properly and ethically; or by not being a thoughtful member of society because they don’t have the skills to analyze political ads during election time, or to find quality information to solve a personal health need.
I challenge you to be tenacious in your work—we are no longer education support workers—we are education leaders, and leadership occurs at all levels. You are a leader, and are called upon to do, and continue to do, great things in the years to come.
It is my great joy to accept this award for my work on behalf of the over 400,000 students and 42,000 faculty and staff in the California State University system. I am proud to be in the company of so many distinguished friends and colleagues as past Dudley Award winners, and thank you—again—for this wonderful recognition.
This is the 21st anniversary of this award. I remember the person for whom it is named and I am so very honored to be associated with her, and to stand in the company of the 20 former winners, almost all of whom I know quite well. The first winner, and probably still the quintessential instruction librarian anywhere, was Tom Kirk, this year’s ACRL Librarian of the Year.
I first became involved with instruction, back when it was bibliographic instruction, because it seemed like such an efficient approach to dealing with people’s information needs, and because I also liked the results of my interactions with students, which in many cases were very different from those I was having with the same students in my other role as an English professor. I loved having people say thank you to me, having people say “you saved me hours,” or even “you saved my life.”
Of course I never really saved anyone’s life, as far as I know, but some people saved mine a few years ago, and that’s really what I want to focus on in the little bit of time I have this afternoon. I would like to make an analogy that I hope you will not find demeaning to us, a comparison between us and the nursing profession, while I would compare those normally called “faculty members” to doctors. Doctors are great; they breeze in, perform their operation, or their perfunctory follow-up visit in the hospital, and then they are gone, and there you are, helpless in a hospital bed. And that’s where nurses come in.
The official mantra of the College of Nursing at my institution, the philosophy on which their courses is based, is “caring.” To be honest, I didn’t get it, or rather I thought I did, and that it was just B.S. (which did not stand for “Bachelor of Science”). Then one day I found myself at the mercy of people in a hospital, dependant upon nurses for just about everything, and I discovered very quickly the meaning of caring, and its importance. I can tell you that if, and most likely when you find yourself in that situation, you will be able to discern very quickly who cares and who doesn’t. And you will be eternally grateful for those who do.
Instructional interactions, for us, are not only teachable moments, but they are now also critical moments for our profession: the moment when you can demonstrate the difference between a slapdash Google search and a thorough use of the best resources to bear on a problem, when you can demonstrate the caring and knowledgeable behavior that explains why we matter, to our constituencies. When that moment comes, and when a student or faculty member needs your help, I hope that you will not be too busy to be bothered, but will rather seize that moment, all of those moments, and not just as a matter of self-interest, but because you truly care about the intellectual and personal needs of those who call upon you, and with whom you are working. I suspect that you will, or you would not be here today, so I conclude by saying that I am as proud to be associated with you as I am with all the previous winners of this award. Thank you again. WM
In accepting this award, I want to celebrate Miriam Dudley’s foresight to develop the Bibliographic Instruction Section of ACRL. What a grand legacy it is! And to think of how many of us have participated in Instruction Section initiatives over the years! Mimi gave us a great beginning, but I believe our challenges today are greater than ever before. Never has information been so easy to find, never have libraries been so easy to bypass, and never has information literacy been so critical.
These simple but powerful facts mean we need to explore every possible avenue if we are to bring the library, and information literacy, to our students. Our approaches must be seamless and pervasive, so it becomes second nature to each student to search for information to any question at hand, to use quality resources in that search, to evaluate those sources critically, and then to make meaning from them by reading, analyzing, synthesizing and incorporating them into what is already known.
Our ultimate goal, then, is so simple, but so enormous: every student must leave our higher education institutions information literate. Our goal is much bigger than we are and it is not just the responsibility of instruction librarians alone. There are too few of us, too many students, and too many other easy but less effective options for students and faculty. To even begin to reach this goal, we must join forces with every reference, collections, technical services and subject specialist librarian; with every library staff member, no matter what their position, whether they work on the front lines or behind the scenes; and we must join forces with our with library administrators. We must remember always that this is not just a library initiative. It must include everyone, at all levels of our educational intuitions, including presidents and provosts, deans and department heads, and of course the faculty. Collaborations and partnerships and combined efforts are required – with our computing services, our innovative teaching and learning centers, and our writing centers. We must imbed ourselves in every new academic initiative, striking for wonderful opportunities such as our first year seminars and web-based courseware! We must advocate for information literacy as libraries change, realizing that digital libraries are not just digital collections but must include instruction and reference services as well. Our roles must include not only teaching excellence and engaging students; we must be the leaders and instigators if our goal is to extend beyond our library instruction departments.
This will require us to be more creative, more outgoing, more articulate, and more persuasive than ever before. We have lots of talking to do, lots of conversations to have, lots of contacts to make. For those of you out there who are like I was, it means a conscious effort to change our natural tendencies. I more often would rather take the back seat and listen. But over the years I have forced myself to articulate my ideas, to be more assertive, to initiate conversations, to go out and to speak up.
For libraries it means more librarians and more library staff must be participating in the talking and the teaching. Our information literacy efforts need to become a larger part of everyone’s job responsibilities, not just an instruction coordinator, or the reference or collections librarians’ second or third tier responsibilities. High-level library administrators must also bear responsibility for advocating across campus for information literacy, for our programs, outreach efforts and proactive initiatives. We must budget for information literacy and we must advocate for staff and resources to achieve our goals.
Initiatives such as “Best Practices in Information Literacy” are helping us identify where we need to go. Thank you Tom Kirk who lead the hard work by a team of librarians to identify best practices.
Thank you Patti Ianuzzi for leading the effort to identify the characteristics of an information literate college student. And thanks especially to Cerise Oberman whose vision and energy created the Institute for Information Literacy and the Immersion Program, which is filling a gap we have had for as long as I have been a librarian. Through these programs librarians can become steeped in the issues and concepts that are needed to implement effective learning opportunities and to lead every institution toward our goal.
Thanks also to so many of you too numerous to mention, my family; my colleagues at Bucknell, Bloomsburg and Penn State Universities; my collaborators on writing and other projects; and all of you with whom I have had the pleasure of working within the Instruction Section and within ACRL and ALA.
I am incredibly honored to be chosen for this award and I am awed and humbled by the company I join as a recipient of the Miriam Dudley Award. I take it as a great responsibility to continue to forge ahead to achieve what often seems to be an impossible dream. Thank you!
I’m grateful to the Instruction Section of ACRL, Research Strategies and Elsevier for this award.
I grew up in a small town in Southern California. There once were small towns in Southern California! So, perhaps, it’s no surprise that I believe in Hollywood. Hollywood has given our culture a large number of models, metaphors, and conceptual frameworks. I’m going to use one of those models today: the Academy Awards. This moment feels to me like that ceremony and the Dudley Award is, in my mind, my Oscar.
It’s tradition for the Dudley recipient to talk about some of the influences that have contributed to their thinking and actions as an instruction librarian. I will do that in the form of six “thank yous” to people who have made a significant difference in the way I think and practice as a teacher. I will do that in my allotted time so there will be no need for the orchestra to begin playing in order to get me off the stage. Though, in the words of Julia Roberts from her Oscar thank you speech, “it took a long time to get here so don’t rush me!
Joel Leonard, retired librarian from California State University, Chico: thank you. I was one green librarian when I began my career at Chico. It was Joel who gave me my first instruction assignment when he asked me if I wanted to give a library tour to a group of freshman English students. Being that green librarian, I said yes and then asked: what is it that I do? He told me to show them what they needed to know to use the library for their assignments. In the course of nine years working together Joel taught me that instruction is always about the students: what they need, how they think, how they act, what they know. He gave me a student centered approach to teaching. One day I asked him how he taught library organization and he told me about his “Piles Lecture” which used the idea of library “stuff” piled in a parking lot and the students had to figure out different ways to make order out of the pile. Joel went to a place where his students were in order to explain a concept from where he was.
Paula Walker, librarian at the University of Washington: thank you. When I joined the UW Libraries in 1982 as their user education librarian, I assumed responsibilities for a course-related instruction program known as BIBLIO Lab. . The program used graduate students in the UW Library School to teach many of the 50 minute sessions. This program also educated and trained those graduate students to teach. Paula’s amazing work taught me about building and sustaining programmatic approaches to instruction, using methods and materials that could be easily modified for a broad spectrum of the curriculum. One of my favorite Paula stories is when we were in the final stages of “transition” and things were going normally for that sort of thing: I was frustrated it wasn’t moving faster, she wanted to be certain I was ready, blah, blah, blah. But then she came to my office one day and told me she had a dream and in that dream she and I were together and she was handing me a chicken and saying to me: here’s the whole chicken!
What WAS that chicken about? We never got to the bottom of that but it became our metaphor for being ready for change.
I want to thank Cindy Cunningham currently of Amazon.com, formerly of the University of Washington with whom I worked to develop and teach a series of all day workshops about successful searching strategies for online databases. These workshops were sponsored by the Washington State Library and were delivered throughout the state over a year and a half time period. From Cindy I learned about the value of collaboration and team teaching.
Sometime during this period Cindy and I were hired to provide this same workshop for a group outside Washington state. We did the standard work with a group liaison in order to determine the appropriate content and approach. We thought we had it cold. So, we’re about seventy-five minutes into the thing and as a prelude to the break we asked the group of 40 people how they were doing and feeling about the content. After a pause one guy raised his hand and said THOSE WORDS: “well, this is good stuff but it isn’t what we need to know at all and went on to tell us what they did need to know.
We had five more hours of workshop yet to go! So, we sent the group on a 30 minute break instead of a 15 minute break, huddled, swore and re-designed the entire rest of the workshop. And at the end, every one of the participants told us the workshop content was on target. Now THAT’S collaboration!
I want to thank the members of the Immersion Faculty of the Institute for Information Literacy of which I am a part. We are responsible for the development and delivery of the four and a half day intensive curriculum for information literacy that has been offered two times a year since 1999. These gifted colleagues have given me an astounding experience in curriculum design, the ability to celebrate trial and error as a pathway to excellence, and confirmation of the importance of the librarian’s role in teaching and learning. They have also supported my love of a good martini.
My favorite image of the Immersion faculty occurred during the first Program. One of the Immersion faculty’s dorm room became the War Room where night or day you could find a minimum of three faculty at any time madly editing, revising, deconstructing and complaining as practically hourly changes to what we were doing were created. Lots of trial and error…..and success.
And then there is Margit Watts, Director of the Rainbow Advantage/Freshman Seminars Programs at the University of Hawaii. She’s a wild woman! During the eight years that I have been at UH, she has managed to regularly scare me to death. She still does. Her belief in the power of risk to discover effective pedagogy transformed the ways that I teach. How I dreaded those calls an hour before a class we were teaching when she would say: “listen, I’ve got an idea”; an idea that would completely change everything we had previously planned. And sometimes she would do this IN CLASS! But gosh, the creativity and the learning that I got from seeing what the students would do with the idea.
Finally, I want to thank every student in any class I ever taught. Those students taught me the “boredom factor”. I learned that once I designed a session, the next step was to ask myself if I was interested in it. If I wasn’t, they certainly wouldn’t be. So I return to my design and discover a novel, unusual, more involving, and most definitely student-centered approach.
My values as an instruction librarian have been forged over a twenty-nine year career to be: student-centeredness, programmatic and curricular thinking, collaboration, and risk.
For me, a teacher must always be a learner.
And because I believe in Hollywood, I value the element of performance and story telling in teaching and learning. When we teach we are telling a story, and our students incorporate what we teach into the stories that are their lives.. Stories make meaning. The stories we instruction librarians tell our students need to motivate. Those stories need to be full of thrills and chills, perils and pratfalls, love and hate, the triumph of good over evil. Library use thrilling? Sure! Why not?
In short, what and how we teach must engage. The end result is that all stories, those of students and teachers, are enhanced. Synonym for engagement? Show Biz.
So in conclusion, I’m beginning to hear the orchestra, I will share two quotes from my favorite movies. In “All About Eve” Bette Davis, in answer to a question about what the evening at a party she was giving was going to be like says: “Fasten Your Seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night”. My career as an instruction librarian has been full of the bumps: surprises, failures, frustrations, and unanticipated outcomes. I have learned to expect them and celebrate them because I learn from them.
In “Cabaret”, Liza Minnelli sings: “Life is a Cabaret old chum, and I love a Cabaret”.
My life as an instruction librarian has been made up of an incredible number of “cabaret acts”, melodramatic, acrobatic, comedic, and an ample amount of song-and-dance with a cast of characters that has made it all memorable. Being this year’s Dudley Award recipient is one of the most humbling and gratifying “acts” in my Cabaret.
I am deeply appreciative.
As I was trying to decide what I would say today – I realized it was no different than preparing for a library instruction session. Too much to say – not enough time – need to choose a limited number of points – and how to limit air time in order to create opportunities for those “aha” moments which can vary so much from one person to the next. So – I’ll try to be brief in my thanks to all the people I want to acknowledge for their influences – and I’ll try to be insightful and original about the task that lies ahead.
I don’t know the name of the first librarian who influenced my zeal for library instruction. I was a freshmen at Yale writing a paper and I needed a journal Yale didn’t own. I was the wandering reference patron – circling the reference desk while shoring up my courage to approach the lady at the desk in the awe-inspiring nave of Sterling Library. She double checked that Yale didn’t own it, then she went to a “big green book” and told me they had it at the University of Connecticut – Storrs. I thanked her, went to my room, called high school friends until I found someone going home for the weekend who let me use her room, took a long bus ride to Storrs and went to the Library to get the article. In 1972 the bus went one way on Friday, and back on Sunday. On the first day, the wind took the $10 bill I took with me so I ate crackers for the weekend and used my pocket change for the copy machine. Four years after I graduated I started my first job ever in a library – as library assistant for reference and interlibrary loan. That’s when I learned there was such a thing – and at that moment I became angry about that experience 7 years earlier. I haven’t stopped wanting to orient students to our services ever since.
So it was 23 years ago when the reference head at Tufts University took a chance and hired me even though I hadn’t worked one day in a library. My first day of work was on a reference desk with that department head, Jean Butt – who made me watch (the reference interview) and follow (the resources) and practice while she stood on the side for support. She taught me that you learn by doing. Period. My supervisor, Margaret Gooch the reference librarian, taught me that an important part of reference is taking advantage of the teachable moment – to walk students to the resources and involve them in “the hunt.” Engaging them to look through indices of reference books on the shelf near the one you were consulting, bringing them to the index tables and encouraging them to open volumes and chase LC subject headings in those Wilson indexes. When I think of Margaret I see her in motion – slowly and patiently standing on the side coaching a student. For hundreds of classes I have mimicked that technique, standing on the side as coach while individuals in the class pursue their lead. For me, reference and instruction have always been inextricably linked.
I learned two things at Tufts – I learned reference – and I learned that being a librarian also means being an educator. One of the many things I learned working in the Yale Library was the importance of staying closely aligned with the academic side of our mission and I’ll never forget Penny Abell telling me that I should be reading the Chronicle of Higher Education regularly and keeping current with the issues and trends with higher education. Those were the 80’s when libraries were rushing to merge with computer centers, or changing reporting lines from provosts to Chief Information Officers. For all our expertise in technology, I still think librarians are and should be – power users of technology – using technology to teach and leading by example the integration of technology in the classroom – using our perspective as educators as we design digital libraries – databases and interfaces for our users – so that we are not abdicating the crucial instructional underpinnings to vendors and technicians and in the end turning ourselves and our users into victims of the technology.
And then there is Maureen Sullivan – who started me down the path of learning about how adults learn – that people learn through self discovery – through exploration – through experiential learning where reflection leads to new insights or knowledge. What I learned from her and through OMS about adult learning provided the theoretical framework and the practical techniques about facilitating learning that I transferred years later to library instruction.
Then there was Bill Rando, Director of the Academy for the Art of Teaching at Florida International University, a critical thinking expert who recognized immediately the connections between information literacy and critical thinking, and became my first campus partner as we developed the FIU Institute for Information Literacy. His successor, Leora Baron, the current Directory of the Academy, has become an information literacy missionary, recognizing that “information literacy provides a unique opportunity for faculty to address key teaching and learning issues, to re-evaluate old practices, and to incorporate meaningful assignments and activities into the curriculum.”
Then you need only look at the list of Dudley award winners to find the names of those who have influenced my work in information literacy. I can’t name them all – but I have names for a few (and I hope they won’t be insulted but my labels.)
Patricia Breivik – queen mother of information literacy- stately and wise – who in 1990 founded the National Forum on Information Literacy – recognizing that information literacy does not exist within the library community – in order for it to be – there must be a collaboration and we need to stop talking to each other about it and continue to expand the dialogue in other forums. Cerise Obermann – Goddess of information literacy – who labored tirelessly to realize her vision for the Institute of Information Literacy with its Immersion Program, one of the very few ways for librarians to develop desperately needed skills. Betsy Wilson, Czarina of information literacy, who was one of the first to not only advocate but to demonstrate how information literacy needs to be an administrative priority within the library first before it can begin to be part of the campus culture.
It was also Maureen Sullivan, as President of ACRL, who invited me to participate on the ACRL Task Force on Information Literacy Competency Standards – the best group that I have ever had the privilege of working with: Oswald Ratteray, Bonnie Gratch Lindauer, Mike Eisenberg, Hannelore Radar, Barton Lessin, Craig Gibson, and Donald Farmer. I want to take a moment to thank all of them for their unbelievable hard. I believe we set an ALA record – one year from first meeting to completed standards with ACRL Board endorsement, followed soon thereafter by AAHE endorsement. We had lots of help from our colleagues – you all who attended open hearings and responded to emails – AAHE members who did the same – our Australian colleagues who participated in workshops to provide input. I merely chaired the process – the organizer – some might say the task master – but those standards reflect a true collaboration.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge one of our colleagues who is no longer with us. Shortly after completing the standards and having them endorsed Donald Farmer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away this past March. We have lost an innovative educator, a strong supporter of information literacy, and a great friend.
Finally – I truly believe that the future of academic librarianship hinges upon our ability to step up and into our role as partners in the educational process on our campuses and within higher education. I don’t say this with self interest for the future of libraries or job security for librarians. I say it with self righteousness perhaps because I fear for what the marginalization of our academic libraries means for the future of our society. We cannot afford to have our next generation of leaders – lawmakers, health care professionals, teachers, business people – and even parents – succumb to what I recently heard described as “intellectual laziness” – to develop a fast food mentality to information with utter disregard of the impact – making less than informed decisions based upon the expediency of sound bites and google hits. One has only to read through the standards to recognize the challenge – the student learning outcomes included in those standards can only be realized through the curriculum, through faculty with librarians as partners. So I throw down the gauntlet and challenge you to step up to the new and expanded roles that we must assume – teaching -assessing student learning – measuring library success in terms of our impact on student learning – participating in faculty development – and designing our other services and systems in support of learning. Otherwise we will indeed turn into book museums.
I am honored to be the recipient of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award for 2000. Each year I note with great interest who is to receive this award for I know that this person will have made an important contribution to the work of information literacy. I never dreamed that I would receive this award. So this year when the letter arrived informing me that I had been selected to be this year’s recipient, I was completely surprised and delighted. I am extremely honored to join the distinguished group of Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarians.
I am most gratified that my studies into the student’s perspective of the research process has been useful to so many librarians. The concept of process has opened new ways of guiding students in learning from a variety of sources. Instruction librarians go beyond teaching bibliographic skills to counseling in the process of information seeking and use. I am pleased that many of you have found the Information Search Process model important for framing your work.
For many decades, instruction librarians have made major contributions to student academic success. However, the work of instruction librarians has become even more important for educating students for living and working in the information age. Students need to be able to locate information and be proficient at using information for interpreting, constructing and seeking meaning. Information literacy has an impact on all aspects of an educated person’s life.
Thanks to every one of you who use the Information Search Process approach with your students. Special thanks to Miriam Dudley for her pioneering efforts in the field of information literacy and, of course, to Elsevier for their contribution. Many thanks to the instruction section of ACRL for selecting me for this award. Sincere appreciation to Mary George from Princeton for her invaluable contribution in articulating the process for academic libraries and for the instruction librarians who have implemented the approach, particularly those at Arizona State and University of Arizona for recent collaboration with professors. Thanks to my husband, John, for our ongoing conversation about interesting ideas. Finally, thanks to the folks at Rutgers for providing a stimulating research environment.
I am honored to receive the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian of the Year Award. My thanks go to Elsevier for sponsoring this award on behalf of their publication, Research Strategies, which is edited by Natalie Pelster. Research Strategies is a prime example of a discipline journal which has emerged during the time of my career. I am impressed with the significance of its contributions.
I would also like to thank Appalachian State University in beautiful Boone, North Carolina. We are celebrating the University’s Centennial year, and I am deeply grateful for the support the University has shown for the library and library services.
I want to add my personal thank you to Dr. Clinton Parker, Senior Associate Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and my boss, who came with his wife, Darlene, to New Orleans for the sole purpose of seeing me accept this award. Dr. Parker and his wife have honored me by being here.
It is an honor to join the other recipients of the Miriam Dudley Award and to be named in the same year that Hannelore Radar was named the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year and Susan Nutter was presented with the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award.
It is a privilege to know Mimi Dudley and to have worked with her through the Instruction Section. Mimi’s influence and warmth continue to give to ACRL through this award. She sent a lovely note to me which I treasure dearly.
I would like to spend a moment talking about the importance of what we do. Library instruction and information literacy is all about intellectual awakening, curiosity, and rigor. All of us in instruction have the pleasure of working in a field where we get to reenforce every day that true learning occurs by making the material your own. This is not an easy task nor one that can be learned without repeated efforts. Crucial to making the material the learner’s own is the availability of a variety of resources and points of view. Also crucial is the ability to evaluate sources used, and we are lucky to be librarians at the time when the shift is being made from emphasis on finding the needed information to being able to evaluate it and use it. What the library provides will never go out of fashion.
Another point I want to share is the importance of each student. Although we have to evaluate programs in the aggregate and think about how many students we reach, it is each individual student that we have the opportunity to influence and teach. Working with students remains the most stimulating part of my job. In relation to the University’s Centennial the Library sponsored a Life-Changing Book contest. One of the students wrote that it is a “privilege to read a good book.” I believe it is also a privilege to be able to help students find that good book, article, or Web site and that is what we are about every day.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the librarians with whom I have worked at Appalachian State University, the University of Arizona, Georgia State University, the University of Buffalo, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. (You know what they say about not being able to keep a job.) I am especially grateful to my husband, Rao Aluri, my intellectual and life partner, who started my thinking in library instruction and to our son, Krishna Aluri, who represents all children in being our future.
Three things strongly contributed to my commitment to information literacy—long before I had a name for it!
I had a work experience as a para-professional in a Lower East Side branch of the New York Public Library before I even finished my undergraduate degree. I worked primarily in the children’s room, and knew that the library was making a difference for the better in the lives of those children who constituted a mini-United Nations. The Seward Park branch also had a large collection of black and white photographs taken from the time of heavy immigration through Ellis Island. They showed how children lined up literally for blocks waiting for the doors of the public library to open. It was clear that for these children access to information in the library was a stepping stone to the better future for which their parents had sacrificed so much in coming to America. Later when I was in fund raising, I thought back to these experiences and knew that I wanted to go back to college and do whatever it took to become a librarian—so that I could make a difference for the better in peoples’ lives.
The second influence took place while in library school. I read Patricia Knapp’s book, The Monteith Experiment. It was exciting and made sense to me that students need to learn how to access, evaluate and use information effectively through experiences integrated into their classroom learning. I was also impressed that the experience was written up, even though for all practical purposes it was a failure! (I did not realize until after I came to Wayne State University that this was the home of Monteith.)
The third experience happened the year following my acquiring my master’s degree in library science. I was working at a reference desk at Brooklyn College when the City University moved to an open admission policy. I observed at-risk students, who a semester earlier would not have been allowed into the College, coming into the library for the first time. They were huddled together for mutual encouragement within the intimidating environment of the huge university library when they came in to complete an assignment which was given as part of their orientation to the campus. I soon discovered that the first question to be answered in their assignment was: “What are the differences between the Library of Congress and Dewey Classification Systems?” My commitment and passion—for what I then called information management skills—was set for life. I knew there was a better way to introduce students to the library, and I came back to Brooklyn College and did a controlled experiment for my doctoral dissertation with English professors to determine whether information management skills could help in the retention and academic success of at-risk college freshmen. It could then and still does today!
“I have a few other thank yous to make. It’s always the cliche almost to say I don’t deserve this award, I owe thanks to many other people. I have to be honest and say that in my case I think it’s absolutely true in the sense I feel very much in the debt of people. They are very special people and I think anyone who has spent time in instruction realizes that people who have given much to the profession continue to give to others who are new. I have have to mention two other people, too. As a very new librarian right out of school I had the opportunity one day to go to a progran at Dayton and there met and heard speak an extraordinary librarian named Virginia Tiefel who more than anyone else at a very early stage in my career helped me understand what opportunities there were to participate in the lives of our students by taking on that instructional role. I had the privilege of working for a number of years with Carla Stoffle who, I think, as much as anyone else made me recognize that our students come from a wide range of rich and diverse backgrounds as do our faculty and the role of librarians as educators is not be in the library to wait for students or faculty to come to you, but there are partnerships where those people are.
When Katherine [Branch] called me she mentioned that one of the nominations described me as a “holistic instruction librarian” and as I started to think about it, it sounded like you don’t do any one thing very well but you do a lot of different things and it reminded me of the early comments on the course that I was teaching for the last five years that one of my students made on the end-of-the-semester course evaluations. It went something like: “Professor MacAdam is an excellent teacher but she can be a little hyper and a little intense like a hamster on benzedrine.” I was a little worried about this so I thought I’ve got to tone it down and I took the liberty of telling my students at the beginning of every semester, “I’m very enthusiastic about what we’re doing here and you have to rein me in. Just tell me I’m out of control.” They took that very well. But then this past semester, one of my students said, “You’re not hyper. In fact, hyper is in. Being hyper in this modern age is just being a multi-tasker.” Multi-tasking is in, I know, because I read it in WIRED magazine and being a multi-tasker means that you’re ready to take leadership in the digerati in the new electronic environment. So, I decided to take this as a compliment because I’m sure all of you who learn about human behavior from WIRED magazine will understand that I decided to accept this, but I think those anecdotes tell you a lot about the joy of being a teacher.
But they also, I think, convey something else and that’s how transforming teaching a course really is. When I’m teaching a course to students, it has been for me helping me form the role of a teaching librarian in the intellectual life, in the academic life of the student experience.
And, I guess what I’d like to do is leave you with a few ideas. At the University of Michigan, when a faculty member is given the Teacher of the Year Award, it’s called a Golden Apple and the faculty member is allowed to give what they call their “last lecture”. If this is their last lecture, it’s what they’d give. So I have three ideas to leave you with, for I think these are important times for our campuses, very important times for the profession, and certainly students because in a research university I’ve come to appreciate the continuum that today’s students will be tomorrow’s faculty members and they really represent our future.
And the three ideas are this: these are things I think our students really need to understand and I believe that librarians are the people who need to help our students understand these. First is that faculty have never told students how they learn. And one of the important roles of the teaching librarian is to help students understand how best they filter information and transform information into ideas. The second thing that I think is ever important as our information frameworks change and the complexity of society is that information and the free and open exchange of knowledge in the Knowledge Age IS a democracy. The tensions between the bounds between things that we believe, in a good and just society, is the the open exchange of information and this is not an easy tension to resolve. I think we have to make our students understand and affirm for themselves these principles and that sometimes means believing in the principles even when ideas are ones that you abhor, or behaviors that you would prescribe. And, finally, two ideas to focus on the learner.
And now I want to focus on us, fellow librarians, and all of you. I know we spend a lot of time in this environment listening about what we need to be and skills we have to acquire, but I think this is a time of relinquishment for us and what I would relinquish are the givens and assumptions that have gone along with a predominantly print-centered culture and we have to recognize that our students are different, they’ve grown up in a different time. They think and they learn differently. And we have to prepare them to sustain their intellectual growth and think critically about the role of knowledge in what may be an image-based culture.
And I just want to close with one idea that I think is compelling. Our students, having come this far to our universities and colleges, will be the first graduating class in the year 2000 and I think that is a terribly compelling idea. And as we think about the challenges and opportunities that face us, I would just remind everyone of the last words of Christa McCauley, the teacher who was killed in the Challenger accident. I thought about these words many, many times because you know the cliche that we teach those things we need to learn. One idea I want to leave you with is this: that to be a teaching librarian means to touch the future optimism that’s there. So from the bottom of heart, thank you very much. There’s no award anyone could have given to me that means more.”
In 1976, when I accepted my first librarian position, I was immediately faced with the awesome task of teaching a required, one-credit library instruction course. Having had absolutely no previous teaching experience, or even a hint that teaching might be a skill required of librarians, I did what any respectable person would do–panic! When the panic subsided, I began to search the library literature for information, resources, and assistance. What I discovered was a renaissance for library instruction among academic librarians: this gave me both encouragement and determination. But, early into my first semester of teaching, I had serious qualms about both the content of the course and my pedagogy. Then, two important things occurred.
First, I connected with a small group of teaching faculty at the college who were also questioning traditional pedagogy. They were interested in exploring the then avant-garde concept of active teaching and learning: I felt as if I found a group of soul mates. We subsequently authored and received an NSF grant to create a cluster of courses known as the Freshmen Reasoning Program. The program’s premise was to redesign our traditional courses to emphasize critical thinking skills as a primary goal for our students. This approach was a perfect “fit” with my own goals.
Second, and equally significant, I discovered BIS. I discovered through BIS that I was not a solitaire in my discomfort about the content of library instruction. Indeed, I discovered colleagues who were challenging, discussing, and debating the core questions about the nature and purpose of library instruction. Their energies energized me, and our discussions led me to explore concerns of mine: critical thinking and library instruction. This relationship, between critical thinking and library instruction, has served as stalwart building blocks for me over the years.
Now, twenty years later, I have long since lost contact with the teaching faculty who initially fueled my interest in critical thinking. The same, however, is not the case with the colleagues I have met in the ACRL Instruction Section. For twenty years, I have relied on them and returned to them to provide me with new insights and challenge old precepts. I have never been disappointed.
I was extremely honored in 1994 when I was choosen to be the recipient of the Miriam Dudley Award. But, I must admit, I have come to realize that the ACRL IS Section, has ultimately given far more to me than I have given in return.
When I began my library career at Eastern Michigan University as a Humanities Librarian, I had never heard of library instruction, user orientation or bibliographic instruction. One of my first assignments was to provide freshmen with library orientation and I had to figure out what that meant and how to do it. Several months into my first year as a librarian I was sent to a small library orientation workshop in Detroit, where Patricia Knapp was the speaker, and I was “hooked”. I began studying the subject and a few years later became the Orientation Librarian as part of a five-year Council of Library Resources grant to bring library instruction into the curriculum. I became involved in holding the first LOEX conference at Eastern Michigan University and eventually began the annual review of the literature for Reference Services Review, now in its twenty-second year. The rest is history, as is commonly stated. I have continued to be deeply involved in user instruction and then information literacy. At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside we created one of the first “teaching libraries.” Here at Cleveland State we began one of the first integrated information literacy programs and set goals and guidelines for that, which we eventually shared with ACRL. I have tried to mentor librarians to move into this part of librarianship and have continued to teach, give presentations and write about information literacy.
Recently, I returned from South Africa where I had been invited by the University of South Africa under the sponsorship of the United States Information Agency to study briefly library instruction programs in ten universities and to hold several workshops on the topic. In the near future librarians will become more and more trainers and teachers to help people on all levels gain valuable and necessary information skills. User instruction has been a wonderful training ground for all of us to help us prepare for the 21st century and becoming trainers and teachers for all citizens. This will indeed be a most exciting future. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that librarians will be successful in this important endeavor.
When I was asked as a Dudley award winner to write a piece about my background and influences for the Instruction Section’s website, I began to think not only about what was most pivotal in shaping my career but also about what words of wisdom I would like to pass on to librarians who are in the early stages of their careers and who are finding out who they are professionally.
The first thing that I think is essential is a sense of passion for what you are doing. Be excited about being a librarian. It is our passion that fuels us and brings forth our creative energies to make libraries greater. I work in libraries because I believe in them. I know that we sometimes get tired of hearing each other talk about our attraction to libraries and the “mom and apple pie” appeal that they have. Yet I think it’s important to maintain a somewhat idealized view of libraries and that it is a good thing that so many of us working in the profession came to do so because of our strong attraction to what libraries are and what they can mean. It’s my view of the library as a central pillar in society and in education that first drew me to this line of work and that has held me a willing captive to it.
Second, find colleagues who share your outlook and passion. It has been my great fortune to find along the way many librarians who have shared mine. The director of the Fulton (MO) Public Library, where I worked as a teenager, the dean of the library school at the University of Oklahoma, where I earned my MLS, the head of reference at the University of Illinois, where I spent the first two years of my career, and colleagues at both Illinois and Northwestern University have helped to shape my thinking and to enrich my experiences as a librarian. The people who have been most influential in helping me build my own personal theory of libraries have been those who have shown me the importance of focusing on the user in planning services and who have shown me how library instruction can be a rich part of students’ academic experiences. These people have included librarian colleagues and dedicated faculty members who have brought me into course collaborations and discussions about the true meaning of education. One of the most valuable assets an instruction librarian can have is colleagues with whom to form synergistic professional relationships, relationships that can help to shape ideas and get them out, both within the work environment and to the broader profession.
Third, extend your professional environment beyond the workplace. Professional activities have always been very important to me. Early on in my career I became active in the ACRL Instruction Section, seeing that it offered many opportunities to further define my theory of libraries and to collaborate with colleagues from around the country. My involvement with the Instruction Section has given me some of my most stimulating and career shaping experiences. Along with chairing the section (when it was still BIS), my most memorable and rewarding experiences within the section were leading the second Think Tank on Bibliographic Instruction and serving as one of the principal editors of The Evolving Educational Mission of the Library. It was with great pride, both personally and on behalf of the Instruction Section, that I saw how well received this publication was both nationally and internationally. I was most gratified that the reviewers remarked on the philosophy and theory of library instruction offered by the book because theory has always been important to me.
This brings me to the fourth point I would like to make. Find a workable theory to ground and direct your efforts. In the library profession, a distinction between theory and practice is not infrequently made. All of the work that I have done that has been considered theoretical has found its way into the practical and has brought about programs, services, and proposals that simply would not have happened without up-front think pieces and theoretical groundwork. This was brought home to me once again recently at a talk by a Northwestern faculty member in the communication studies department. He said that, in his field, the tools keep changing — “you’re nowhere without a theory.” How true this is for libraries. I believe a greater understanding of the philosophy of instruction is part of my legacy to the Instruction Section; it is definitely a part of the legacy of IS to me.
I am honored to have my name included in the list of Dudley Award winners and proudly display the plaque in my office, where it has been in a special place since I brought it back with me from ALA over four years ago. To me, the award said that my work had made a difference. It is a profound sense of accomplishment and recognition that I would like all instruction librarians to experience, whether they have a plaque or not.
I was very lucky to have started my career when there was a dynamic, bright, committed and sharing group of librarians trying to initiate and advance education as a key academic library activity. At the national level, people like Tom Kirk, Hannelore Rader, Sharon Hogan, Ann Beaubien, Mary George, Jacqueline Morris, Carolyn Kirkendall, Jay Poole, Anne Passarelli, Shelley Phipps, etc. were colleagues who challenged and nurtured (mentored) each other as well as myself. At the same time, we had people like Evan Farber, Mimi Dudley, Beverly Lunch and Dick Dougherty who took time with all of us and gave us ideas, encouragement, and support. They stepped in critical moments and helped us individually and as a group to move to the next level in our development.
On the local front, I was blessed with a director, Joseph Boisse, who not only understood and believed in the educational role of the library, but gave me the freedom to explore, innovate and fail. Also the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, especially Judith Pryor, Linda Piele, and Ken Herrick, enthusiastically supported the development of an instructional program and helped to do what it would take to create a strong educational program. Finally, we had the vision of Chancellor Alan Guskin and the willingness of the faculty to try new ideas. This, and support, have made a substantial difference to my own expertist and to the success of our instructional activities. Without this environment, my efforts would have come to naught.
So, in the end, it is the people with whom I have worked that have been my greatest influences. They are jointly responsible for whatever successes resulted.
To begin with, I came to librarianship right out of the teaching field, so, of course, my teaching background was a major influence. I had taught for more than ten years — six years in the Davis, California school system where I was a teacher of Spanish and English and then for another five years in Victoria, BC, where I was head teacher and director of a small independent elementary school which added junior high and high school levels during my last two years there. My orientation, therefore, was toward education. Furthermore, I had always been an advocate of free schools and considered A. S. Neill a mentor, agreeing completely with his philosophy that children learn best by participating in the teaching process. I had grown up in California where John Dewey’s radical (for their time) philosophies were in place so my own education had been rather free and participatory.
Library school itself helped convince me that people needed to know that there was a wealth of information “out there” that could help them in any number of ways. I was actually furious to learn ofreference sources that would have made my own undergraduate days much easier if I had only known about them. No one in any of mycourses at the University of California at Berkeley had ever bothered to mention them; chances are the professors didn’t know about them either.
My first job out of library school was in the Contra Costa County Library System where I became the young adult and outreach librarian for a branch library in or near Antioch, California.There I worked with young adults who were often in non-academic programs. I was told that they never read and weren’t at allinterested in books. I found that not to be the case and had considerable success in getting them involved in the library.I also worked with Mexican-American field workers in a community near our library. I held Spanish-language story hours for theirchildren and English classes for their wives. These experiences convinced me that everyone could be induced to use a library, given the right motivation.
From Contra Costa I moved to Berkeley where I was school librarianfor the Jefferson Elementary School and spent my time working withteachers and children in grades kindergarten through third.
In 1971 I moved to New York state and began work in the reference department of the Undergraduate Library at Cornell. By 1975 the Bibliographic Instruction Section had been formed and I attendeda conference held at the State University of Michigan’s Lansing campus under the sponsorship of LOEX (Library Orientation Instruction Exchange). It was at this conference that I met all of the “earlylights” of the instruction movement–such people as Anne Roberts, Mary Reichel, Miriam Dudley, Carla Stoffle, Sharon Rogers, Evan Farber and many more. These people and the materials I was able to get through the LOEX Clearinghouse were tremendous influences on my own instruction program at Cornell.
The Council on American Libraries, in the late ’70s awarded anumber of grants to promote instruction in academic libraries andI was the grant recipient for Cornell. With the $20,000 providedby this grant the program I had been trying to implement took agreat leap forward and by 1980 Cornell’s library instruction program was fully integrated into library services in the Undergraduate Library. The Bibliographic Instruction Section’s”Think Tank” recommendations of 1981 had a big influence on thework I was doing and helped, I feel, to convince me that our instruction program was by far the most important aspect of ourreference work. My particular interest was in making good teachers out of the librarians on our staff and I devoted muchof my time to “teaching librarians to teach.” It was that program, I believe, which became of interest on a national level.
I am now retired and have moved on to other things, but winningthe Dudley Award was a marvelous way to end a truly exciting career.
What were the important influences on your practice, research, and teaching in library instruction?
People and Readings: Hannelore Rader, Sharon Hogan, Patricia Breivik, Sharon Rogers, Carla Stoffle, Joe Boissee, Mary Reichel (I worked with her at the University of Nebraska at Omaha), Betsy Baker (I worked with her at the University of Illnois at Urbana-Champaign), Anne Beaubien, Mary George, Evan Farber, Larry Hardesty, Claudette Hagle, Francis L. Hopkins, Thomas Kirk, Carolyn Kirkendall, Patricia Knapp, Anne Lipow, Anita Lowry, S. Michael Malinconico, Constance Mellon, Bill Miller, Bara Moran, Cerise Oberman, Judy Reynolds, Craig Gibson, Beth Shapiro, Virginia Tiefel, Barbara Wittkopf, Arthur Young, Betsy Wilson, Mimi Dudley, and I know I am forgetting many others who I worked with on committees or in other capacities over the years. The people that I have me ntioned here have all published over the years and I enjoyed reading and learning from each of them.
I would also like to say that the first head of reference that I worked for in an academic library (University of Nebraska at Omaha), Sara Lou Williams (I also went to library school with her) was a really visionary leader and had a great influence on my personal and professional growth and development. She felt that library instruction was the key to effective and productive library use and she encoura ged my own efforts in library user education and reference service.
I began my own professional career as a high school teacher and librarian and this background in teaching was invaluable! I have continued to teach (almost every year) at least one course in graduate schools of library science. This has allowed me to continue an activity I enjoy very much and provides me with many opportunities to keep up with readings, trends and developments in many areas that I often do not have responsibility for on a day to day basis.
Events and Activities: A librarian at the University of Washington Undergraduate Library invited me to become involved in the beginnings of the American Library Association planning for bibliographic instruction before the section ever existed. That first session included a couple of rooms for interested people to come and talk to a number of us. I remember that Mary Reichel and I were together at that time and Carla Stoffle was in another room. Shortly after that the section was developed, I began serving as a committee member of the Education for BI. Sharon Hogan was chair and I followed her as chair in the mid-80s. The BIS section (which I also chaired at one time) and the people involved in that section were wonderful, and a great influence along with the BIS programs, Think Tanks, and Dudley Awards. I also enjoyed the Canadian Library Annual Work shop on Instruction in Library Use) programs and the LOEX conferences. I went to several of these and was once a keynote speaker in 1991 at the Canadian one. I have also given a number of presentations in libraries in Europe on some aspects of library user education. The most exciting events, though, also included just doing instruction in the institutions where I worked. The faculty and students were so interested and motivated. I also enjoyed all the opportunities that I have had to give presentations, moderate programs, and so forth on library instruction: not just at ALA and state library professional associations, but in the Organization of American History, Modern Language Association, and the Missouri Valley History Conference.
I also taught some sessions on library user education over the years in some of the library schools around the country and while at the University of Nebraska at Omaha taught several undergraduate courses on use of the libraries in the College of Education.
I believe that reading outside of the profession (in higher education journals, in business, literature, history, and other subject areas and within other disciplines) has been very valuable as well. I do this as often as I can.
What were the important influences that helped shape my approach to and practice of bibliographic instruction? When I’ve been asked that, I’ve always tried to explain that it was more than just a few, but a whole series of responses to personal experiences and to the contributions of many individuals.
I suppose the earliest of those experiences was library school, and suddenly realizing that a few years earlier, in graduate school, I’d wasted so much time and missed so much material, simply because I hadn’t known about all those indexes and other finding tools we were learning about. Another contributing experience was several years later, when I was on the Emory University Library staff. One day I was in the periodicals stacks and a young man asked me where he could find a particular biological article, a rather technical one. I asked him if he’d looked in Biological Abstracts. “What’s that?” he asked. I then asked him what year he was. “I’m a graduate student,” he replied. I was stunned–a graduate student in biology who had never heard of Biological Abstracts?! I didn’t think much more of that at the time, but I’m sure that incident stayed in the back of my mind. Something similar happened in my first year at Earlham; I remember how surprised I was when a student–a junior or a senior–told me he’d never heard of the Readers’ Guide. As good as an Earlham education was, knowing how to use the library was not part of it.
Then, in my second or third year at Earlham–that would have been 1963 or 1964– I was working at the reference desk one evening, and a student came up and asked me how he could find information about the characters in “The Bear,” the Faulkner story. I showed him. Ten minutes later another student came up with same question, and I showed her. Fifteen minutes later, another . . . etc., etc, etc. So the next morning I called John Hunt, who taught that course, told him what had happened, and suggested that the next time he was giving such an assignment, I come to class and show the entire class how to find that information. John, a very efficient person (he later became a dean at Lehigh) agreed, and I did come to a later class of him for a presentation. Hey, I though, think of all the time we could save! By talking to classes instead of individuals we could even cut down on reference help! How naive that was. . . It not only increased the work at the reference desk, but also raised the level of questions we got there. It also made a significant difference in the way in which students perceived a librarian and in the willingness of students to make good use of a reference librarian. It was a small step in my thinking, but an important one.
Members of the Earlham faculty were an important influence. They were (and are) superb teachers, interested in good teaching, and open to suggestions from librarians as to how their teaching could be more effective, and then cooperative in working with librarians to implement those suggestions. Their supportive role, working with us as colleagues, not only helped us try new techniques and approaches, but provided a continuing moral support. Also, from observing them in the classroom, and talking with them about their teaching, I became very much interested in teaching techniques.
At some point during these early years at Earlham, I became intrigued with the Library College movement, and very much appreciated its emphasis on the importance of librarians in the teaching of undergraduates. However, I soon realized that despite its noble intentions, it was totally unrealistic–it had gone overboard in emphasizing the role of librarians. My observation of and working with Earlham faculty made me recognize that there was no way I or any of the librarians I knew could teach academic subjects nearly as well as they, or I presumed, faculty at other schools, could. We would do much better spending our time and energy at building library skills, something we knew about, into the courses taught by regular college teachers; a year or two later another experience reinforced that notion. I was teaching a section of a first year course. My section was on the Depression Era, but I was also responsible for giving the bibliographic instruction for all the other fifteen sections, each on a different topic chosen by the instructor. I was very conscientious about getting together with the instructor of each section, planning the BI, and then talking to the individual sections- but I neglected to do the same thing for my own section! (I did finally, but pretty late in the term.) Reflecting on this later, I realized that I was so busy preparing for my section each day, grading the students’ papers, having conferences with individual students, thinking about next term’s textbooks, and so on, that BI was pretty far down on my mental list of priorities. If this was true for me, how could I expect any better from regular faculty? That convinced me that good teaching is enormously time and energy-consuming, and the more conscientious the teacher, the less time he or she had to think about anything but one’s courses and one’s students. It also taught me that BI librarians had to be proactive, and cannot wait for teaching faculty to come to them.
As for specific individuals who influenced me, I was fortunate shortly after I came to Earlham that was able to hire several staff members. Tom Kirk, Jim Kennedy, and Bonnie Frick were instrumental in developing our BI program and, in so doing, greatly influenced me, either by affirming what we’d been doing, or by suggesting and implementing new approaches. Tom, in particular, had a strong influence. Whereas I had confined my instruction to the social sciences and humanities, Tom showed me that BI would be just as useful for the sciences. And indeed, the BI built into our biology courses became perhaps the strongest aspect of our program.
Two incidents helped solidify my thoughts. The first was the College Libraries Section program at the 1969 ALA Annual Conference in Atlantic City. At that meeting we presented Earlham’s BI program in some detail. We had expected only two or three hundred to attend but about seven or eight hundred showed up. The size of the audience and the questions and discussion after the presentation indicated to me that what we were doing was significant and that academic librarians needed an organization to share ideas and experiences about library instruction. The second incident was a request by John Lubans to submit a piece on course-related instruction for his book, Educating the Library User. I did, and working on that piece made me think seriously about what we’d been doing–not just the activities but more importantly, the rationale. In looking over that piece, written twenty-five years ago, I think almost everything I said about the basics of course-related instruction–the advantages, the purposes, and the strategies–are still valid.
The most important influences on my library user education work have been people. My motivation has always been to help students learn to use information efficiently and effectively. The people who have been most influential in my work share that common goal.
Fellow librarians have been a very valuable source of good ideas, encouragement and good advice. The fellowship at conferences, such as LOEX and the ACRL programs, has provided good information, motivation, and stimulation.
Classroom faculty and administrators see a different picture and contribute an extremely valuable perspective to library user education. They can offer ways of communicating more effectively with faculty and gaining support in the campus environment. Ma ny of them have been an important influence in my work.
I have worked for two very supportive bosses: Thelma Bumbaugh at Hiram College and Bill Studer at Ohio State. Both were library directors (Bill Studer still is) who supported library user education. For example, at Ohio State every library faculty membe r is expected to participate in the library user education program: it’s a part of every faculty job description. That could only have come about through the leadership of the library director. I believe the support of the library director is absolutely critical to the successful development of a library user education program.
There have been other important factors in my work such as accessibility to university resources and granting agencies. But for me, the most important influences have been the wonderful people: librarians, classroom faculty, and administrators who share the common vision of educating students in information-seeking skills.
It has been eleven years since I had the privilege to accept the plaque and most welcome check from Mountainside Publishing for this award.
At the time I was serving as Director of the LOEX Clearinghouse, editing a BI column, and representing ACRL in its then initial efforts to extend our message of service to other professional associations in the field of higher education. Due to the nature of these responsibilities, it was not so much what I did in providing BI but in collecting and reporting what others were doing that was my major work focus.
In these capacities, what I said then I think is still the best response: I could not have been awarded this honor without the cooperation and best efforts of all those who were unselfish proponents and activists for the cause of library user education. The influence of Mimi [Dudley], Tom [Kirk], Hannelore [Rader], Sam, John Lubans and Carla [Stoffle] were invaluable; the contributions from hundreds of academic librarians both here and in Great Britain werre responsible for the current and ongoing level of quality of library instruction programs today.
It was an exhilarating time to be involved in the BI movement. The best parts of that experience were meeting and working with a grand group of enthusiastic and generous souls who were willing to share their experiences and skills for our common BI good. Through the generosity of the Doughertys this productivity is still being recognized.
The important influences on my practice are as follows:
- Two school librarians who demonstrated the potential for being effective contributors to education. Both were very involved in the school curriculum and demonstrated high quality service.
- Evan Farber, my mentor, who not only got me into the profession but was the model during my early years as a young professional.
- Faculty at Earlham who were (and are) concerned about more than content and not only responded to my overtures and suggestions but often ran ahead of them to design programs that depended on use of library resources.
- A Quaker philosophy of education that recognizes the importance of individual development, the worth of every individual, and the capacity of an individual despite their station in life to find truth. The philosophy also recognized the life long nature of learning.
- A number of professional colleagues who helped develop ideas: Patricia Knapp, Carla Stoffle, Elizabeth Frick, James Kennedy to name four, but includes many others.