ACRL IS Current Issue Discussion Digest – ALA Annual 2014

Thinking Like a First Year Student: Academic Librarians’ Changing Educational Roles

Discussion Conveners: Beth Tumbleson, Jessica Long and John Burke, from Miami University Middletown

Saturday, June 28, 2014  |  4:30pm – 5:30pm
Las Vegas, Nevada  |  LVCC-N110

Recent studies are redefining the role academic librarians play in higher education.  This discussion forum will focus on the findings from the following reports:

Through collaborative reflection on professional trends and the common challenge of teaching information literacy in a disruptive digital environment, participants will share their perceptions, experiences, and practices with colleagues.

The latest Project Information Literacy (PIL) report underscores the necessity of engaging first year students as they conduct course research, as all too often they are unprepared for the challenge of completing college-level research.  First year students benefit from interacting with instruction librarians who can help them access and use the numerous resources available in academic libraries.  According to Allison Head, first year students “found campus librarians and their English composition instructors were the most helpful” at assisting them with research papers and projects (2013, 3).  How does this finding impact the work done by librarians in first year experience, personal librarian, and embedded librarianship programs?  What partnerships might academic librarians seek to establish on campus and in the community to better serve incoming students who are less likely to have been introduced to school libraries and librarians?

The Ithaka S+R US Library Survey further emphasizes the importance of information literacy education in academic libraries. Despite differences in institution size and degree offerings, library directors are committed to promoting information literacy education.  What approaches are librarians using to address this increasing need for information literacy education? How will librarians modify their information literacy instruction programs to strengthen their presence in undergraduate education?

The first draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education was released this spring and a second draft is expected in early June 2014.  This update to the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education reframes information literacy around threshold concepts, learner dispositions and knowledge practices.  What adjustments will have to be made to instruction programs in academic libraries to accommodate this new Framework?

After briefly summarizing key elements from these three reports, the discussion conveners will engage participants in three simultaneous discussion stations.  Attendees will rotate, discussing each of the three reports with peers and sharing concerns, opportunities, and practical strategies for implementing change.

Discussion Questions

At each discussion station, these questions will initiate conversation:

  • How will academic librarians engage undergraduates who do not yet understand the role of libraries in college-level research?
  • How can academic librarians promote collaboration with university administrators and faculty? How can librarians reinvent their instruction program to fit changing student needs in our increasingly digital teaching and learning environment?
  • How can academic librarians equip students with the core concepts and skills they need to conduct research throughout their college experience and beyond?

Each group will record their insights using a mind-mapping app on iPads supplied by the discussion conveners.  The resulting mind map will be shared with the larger group at the conclusion of the session and will be available online for future reference.

Recommended Reading

Anderson, Rick. “What Library Directors are Thinking: An Ithaka S+R Survey Report,” The Scholarly Kitchen, March 19, 2014.

Gibson, Craig, and Trudi E. Jacobsen. 2014. , “Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.” Last modified April 22, 2014.

Harris, Benjamin. 2013.”The New ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards.” Communications In Information Literacy 7(2): 139- 45.

Head, Allison. 2013. Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College. Seattle: University of Washington.

Mackey, Thomas and Trudi Jacobson. 2014. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman.

Schofeld, Roger and Matthew Long. 2014. Ithaka S+R US Survey 2013. New York: Ithaka S+R.


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