ACRL IS Current Issue Discussion Digest – ALA Annual 2012

Culture Building & Change Agency: Vital Abilities for Advancing Information

Conveners: Courtney Bruch & Carroll Wetzel Wilkinson

Saturday, June 23, 4-5:30pm
Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel – Pacific Ballroom A | Anaheim, CA

Even if information literacy instruction is established in a college or university setting as a part of the library’s campus services, many instruction librarians still face an uphill struggle to advance their role as educators.  There are many familiar issues that influence this situation. Conflicting definitions of information literacy, faculty uncertainty about working with librarians, and disagreement among librarians about the depth and extent of the teaching role are three. But there are also some factors under the surface that have not yet been addressed at the individual, institutional or professional levels. Addressing these aspects of self, library culture, and campus community can help to advance programmatic development of information literacy instruction.

This session will define two components of second order change : culture building and change agency. The conveners of this session will introduce ideas about culture building and change agency techniques that are useful in the context of information literacy program advancement.  Then, participants in the group discussions will work together to talk over the concepts and answer questions to share with the full group of participants.

Questions to think about in advance: 

  • Have you ever been tasked with changing an instructional practice in your library setting? How did it work out? Were you satisfied with the results? (For example:  advocating for active learning rather than passive learning techniques, or adopting peer review of teaching?)
  • In talking with a library colleague about information literacy or library instruction, have you ever sensed you were approaching the subject from different perspectives? Can you articulate the different perspectives? Is it possible that underlying assumptions were hampering your conversation? Did you follow-up to continue the conversation? If so, how did it go?
  • Have you tried to makes changes to instructional practices at your institution? A policy? A shared approach to teaching? Something else? What were the results of your efforts?
  • Have you ever analyzed the ACRL Proficiencies document in the context of your work environment? Do you think it covers all of the capabilities that an instruction librarian needs to be effective? If not, in your view, what capabilities should be included?

Recommended Reading List:

Carroll Wetzel Wilkinson and Courtney Bruch eds. Transforming Information Literacy Programs: Intersecting Frontiers of Self, Library Culture, and Campus Community. Association of College and Research Libraries, Chicago, 2012.


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