Volunteers needed for Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox Committee

The ACRL Instruction Section (IS) and ACRL Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC) invite volunteers for a new Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox Committee in the Instruction Section.

The creation of this committee marks the hand off of the stewardship of the Sandbox from SLILC to IS. The Sandbox was created by the Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board in 2016. While the Sandbox has been stewarded by a SLILC project team since 2017, IS has a large pool of knowledgeable volunteers who can manage, assess, and improve this important tool as an ongoing project from year to year.

If you are interested in volunteering for this committee, please fill out this form by April 19, 2019. Because this recruitment is happening alongside our usual appointment cycle, the form provides an opportunity to indicate you’d prefer appointment to this committee over others you may have volunteered for in that process.

Please note: If you didn’t volunteer for other committees through the regular appointment cycle, you ARE still welcome to volunteer for this committee through the form, but you must be a current Instruction Section member.

More on this committee after the jump…

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Join the ACRL Instruction Section Awards Ceremony at ACRL 2019 – you could be a winner, too!

ACRL Instruction Section Awards Ceremony 2019
Honoring 2018 and 2019 Winners of IS Awards and Scholarships
Thursday, April 11
Hilton – Hope D

Join the ACRL Instruction Section Awards Ceremony at ACRL 2019 – you could be a winner, too!

You’re invited to attend the ACRL Instruction Section Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 11, 1-2pm, in the Hilton Hope D. A $50 Amazon gift card will be available as a door prize while we gather together to celebrate the achievements of our colleagues.

Our Section award winners and scholarship recipients from the past two years will be recognized, including:

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2019 Innovation Award Winner Interview: Undergrad Research & Writing Studio

Photo of the Undergrad Research & Writing StudioChris Ervin (Undergrad Research & Writing Studio Coordinator), Jane Nichols (Head, Teaching & Engagement Librarians), Beth Filar Williams (Library Experience & Access Department Head), Hannah Gascho Rempel (College of Agricultural Sciences Librarian & Graduate Student Services Coordinator), Dennis Bennett (Writing Center Director), and Uta Hussong-Christian (Science Librarian), Oregon State University, for their Undergrad Research & Writing Studio (http://writingcenter.oregonstate.edu/undergrad-writing-studio). The Studio is a collaboration between OSU Libraries and the Writing Center delivering peer-to-peer point of need hands-on and experiential learning. The 2018/2019 Awards Committee conducted the following interview with Chris Ervin, Jane Nichols, and Beth Filar Williams of the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio team.

What was the impetus for creating the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio?

The Writing Center was outgrowing its space and discussions began about co-locating in The Valley Library. This pressure for the Writing Center to move created an opportunity for us to rethink our service philosophy. We were aware of writing centers moving into libraries as a trend, but at the same time one of our colleagues was working with another university on the concept of studio pedagogy. In this model, students don’t have appointments, instead, consultants move from student to student in a point of need model. This mirrors libraries’ point of need service philosophy. The library wanted to be on board with the project because of the pedagogy model and because we strive not to just have “tenants” in the building but rather partnerships in offering services.

Why did your team think this model would be the most effective in solving the problem?

The studio pedagogy model was considered most effective because it mirrors libraries’ point of need service philosophy.

Using Service Design Thinking was considered an effective way for the implementation team to work in a short time frame, 9 months from deciding to move to the first day of service. This framework helped us see how our service philosophy would work in practice. The implementation team was comprised of Writing Center and library folks (librarians and library staff) who designed the Studio in a way that would best meet the needs of students. We were methodical about how we were going to create the Studio, using the service design method [Library Service Design: A LITA Guide to Holistic Assessment, Insight, and Improvementby Joe Marquez and Annie Downey]. With the Studio, we could establish more cohesive partnerships and deliver more cohesive services thinking about student needs. We did journey mapping (the daily journey of a student) to determine the best flow in making the Studio effective for student seeking help.

Now that you’ve moved out of the pilot stage, how will you sustain the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio?

Marketing is important. Our baseline numbers are about 70% higher than before the Studio. An individual consultation in the Studio covers both research and writing help, and we want students to know that. The space has a large footprint. We have the space to host multiple small-to-medium sized classes at the same time, not just a tour, but writing and research activities, using the research and writing consultants. Part of marketing includes reaching out to STEM and other disciplines, like the Department of Communications, who don’t use the Studio as much as other disciplines. We’ve found that international students love the Studio, and we don’t have to market to them very heavily as they already love us.

Another aspect of sustainability is training for consultants. We have a Research Based Writing Professional Development Seminar, which is 8 weeks, 50 minutes per week, and the Student Consultants are paid. On the staff side, we meet regularly, keeping the lines of communication open so that we all know what is happening. We rely on librarians to provide train-the-trainer trainings as well as co-training to keep the Writing Center/Library partnership tight. We’re also in the beginning stages of building out to other literacies outside writing and research. We want to create a stronger, more direct link with OSU’s Student Multimedia Studio, which is located in the library, so we can help students with projects like posters and videos.

 Did your results surprise you? How?

As we mentioned, the Studio saw a 70% increase in student consultations compared to the old Undergraduate Writing Center. We expected an increase in usage with the location change. Previously the Writing Center was in a low traffic building; now it’s in the library, a high-traffic place. And students can come in and use the space even if they aren’t seeing consultants, just to study. But the 70% increase was a bit of a surprise. Underrepresented groups are heavy users of the Studio, but that wasn’t too surprising because the library is part of academic affairs and has strong partnerships with other offices that deal with those underrepresented groups. One thing we have had to work out is the role of librarians, which at the beginning wasn’t 100% clear. For some librarians, being a consultant is a good role. For others, the liaison role is a better fit where they encourage other people to use the Studio, or train Studio Consultants. We’re still iterating, we can still grow and change, the Studio is only in its second year.

What has the response been to the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio (besides this award)?

Generally positive. It has shifted people’s expectations about what a writing center can do. We ask for feedback from students who use the Studio. We ask consultants what they think through journey mapping, or space mapping. We have had to reframe student perceptions. For example, some students were initially confused by the space being occupied by a service instead of a study space. Some faculty are just beginning to learn about the Studio through Studio staff and librarians. For some, it’s a great match, but others aren’t ready. A few faculty are really excited and bring their classes over. For example, we have a Fisheries and Wildlife class that is working on a project through the Studio. We also have classes from the social sciences, so it isn’t just humanities and writing or English classes that are using the space.

What advice would you give to other libraries who want to build a service or program like this?

Use service design to help you plan. We brought the Library Service Designauthors, Marquez and Downey, in during the planning stages to do training. Hire outside people to come in during the development, a third party can help facilitate conversations. Be open to discovering something you might not have thought of. Make sure your implementation team has people from all partners. Bring people on board who value collaboration or want to collaborate with the library, who are not territorial. We saw opportunities for student learning which we wouldn’t have seen without those partnerships. One thing we regret is not having students on the implementation team. We consulted with them, but didn’t have them on the team. This was in part due to challenges with the implementation timeline, which spanned three academic quarters. But also we hadn’t allocated money to pay students. So make sure you include in your budget money to pay students to participate in planning. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is very important; we created one for the pilot year and then renewed it for a three-year period. Refer to it, make it a living document, and add a revisiting piece to the MOU to ensure you go back to it. In fact, the next steps from our MOU include developing a shared goal statement and creating an assessment plan.

For more information, see also:

Deitering, Anne-Marie, and Beth Filar-Williams. “Make it work: Using service design to support collaboration in challenging times.” International Information & Library Review50.1 (2018): 54-59. https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/downloads/js956n13s

Oregon State University Libraries “Undergrad Research & Writing Studio.” https://guides.library.oregonstate.edu/studio


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2019 Rockman Award Winner Interview: Stefanie R. Bluemle

Stefanie R. Bluemle won the 2019 Ilene F. Rockman Award for her article “Post-Facts: Information Literacy and Authority after the 2016 Election,” published in 2018 by portal: Libraries & the Academy. The 2018/2019 Awards Committee conducted an interview with Stefanie after she received her award.Photo of Stefanie Bluemle

What was the source of inspiration for this article?

Like many people, I was stunned, though not entirely surprised, when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. It seemed to me that an entire worldview had been overturned and replaced by another. I don’t think I had ever thought so clearly about how many of our assumptions about democracy versus the kind of gaslighting authoritarianism that comes so instinctively to Trump have to do with our relationship to information. And it wasn’t just Trump himself, his campaign, or (now) his administration who played a role. As a candidate with a populist message, Trump could not have been clearer that he defined elites by their relationship to information; tapping into citizens’ existing ire against those elites is part of what helped him win.

So of course, the election of President Trump had everything to do with information literacy and my own position as an academic librarian. It dawned on me: librarians find it so important to teach about authority and source evaluation, but what does any of that matter if a lot of people will instinctively dismiss certain sources of information quite simply becausethose sources claim expertise? And what do we really mean, anyway, when we talk about authority? I set out to answer those questions, and work through my own complicated response to our new reality in the process.

Much has been published on the topic of fake news, critical thinking, and the role of library instruction in addressing the two. Your piece extends beyond fake news to consider the concept of post-facts and the role of emotion — that is, beyond objective fact-finding — in decision making. How do you think post-fact thinking will affect college students going forward?

In certain important ways, college students (and all of us, librarians and other academics included) have always been affected by post-facts thinking. Librarians and others interested in epistemology have recognized for a long time that people have a tendency to look for and value information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs.

What’s different now is that we have a presidential administration–and, increasingly, a major political party–that actively embodies and legitimizes the idea that you should prioritize what you feel to be true over evidence and claims to expertise. The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education talks about intellectual authority as being constructed in community. Thanks to Trumpism, post-facts thinking is an approach to intellectual authority that has been constructed and now legitimized in community.

As academics, we have to recognize that the forms of intellectual authority we tend to recognize are up against post-facts thinking, which has just as much weight and legitimacy nationwide. We don’t know for sure where all of our students are coming from intellectually, and we probably shouldn’t assume we won’t encounter anyone who is fundamentally skeptical about traditional or mainstream forms of intellectual authority.

What is the role of academic institutions, and academic libraries in particular, in the age of post-facts?

It can be easy for academics to behave as though our undergraduate students are here to enter into our world–as though the value of learning about a discipline, entering a scholarly conversation, or revering peer-review will somehow be self-evident to them. I include academic librarians in that observation. It’s tempting to guide students toward being versions of ourselves, whether by teaching them the professional jargon and every nuance of navigating an academic library, or just by assuming they’ll care about the social, political, or other implications of information the same way we do.

But when we stop and think about it, we know that students go to college for any number of reasons. For many of them, academic disciplines and practices are a different planet with little obvious connection to the lives they envision for themselves. Librarians who work with undergraduates are, by and large, very student-centered, a quality that has become even more important post-2016. We need to tease out the elements of our areas of expertise that can make the biggest difference to our students’ lives as they actually are, and we need to communicate with students about whythey’re doing what they’re doing. That’s abstract, and it’s a tough thing to do. I know I fail at least as often as I succeed. It’s a worthwhile goal, though.

Additionally, post-facts politics effectively guarantees that libraries can never again even try to claim a form of neutrality. Some astute librarians have been arguing for a long time that libraries are never neutral. But Trumpism, just by being what it is, defines libraries, and especially academic ones, as political; that’s the world we now live in. So we have to acknowledge that–the inevitability, the inescapability, of standing for things that are political, whether we like it or not–even as we commit to making all of our students feel welcome.

At the end of your article, you allude to ways in which academic instruction librarians might address source evaluation in the post-facts era. Do you have plans to follow up on the conversation you started in the article? What should we expect next from you?

It’s always easier to identify a problem than a solution to that problem. By the time I wrapped up my main argument, I felt it would be a cop-out not to at least try to suggest remedies. That’s not to say that I think we can “solve” post-facts thinking or ever truly know how our students understand intellectual authority, either in college or later in life. But I do think there’s potential for librarians to move the needle, and I’m interested in gathering ideas for making that happen. So, yes, I do plan to follow up, although I’m presently still at the stage of reading and thinking and reading some more. It’s very much a work in progress.

Similarly to the way I began this project by asking myself, “What is authority?” I’ve recently been wondering, “What, exactly, do educators at small colleges like mine mean when they talk about the ‘liberal arts’?” At some point I want to pursue this question as a way of thinking about where and how information literacy fits at a liberal arts college. Is IL ancillary to the liberal arts, or is it central, and what are the implications? I feel like something really important is just beyond my grasp, and I hope to figure out what that is.

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Recording for Management & Leadership Committee Discussion Series – Critical Assessment Practices: A Discussion on When and How to Use Student Learning Data

On March 13th,  the Instruction Section’s Management and Leadership Committee hosted a virtual event titled Critical Assessment Practices: A Discussion on When and How to Use Student Learning Data Without Doing Harm, which is now available for viewing via ACRL’s YouTube channel. Session slides are also available. Our speakers were Nicole Branch, Zoe Fisher, and Ebony Magnus.

Session Description: Attendees will gain perspective on critical assessment practices in libraries from three academic librarians currently working with and exploring approaches that incorporate and are rooted in ethical orientations, inclusivity practices, and have impact on student learning as the guiding goal. Critical assessment practices engage critical perspectives and theories to interrogate the structures of power and methodologies that both motivate and facilitate assessment work in academic libraries. This hour-long panel will offer short, ten minute reflections from panelists, followed by twenty minutes of Q&A and discussion.

  • Outcomes
    • Consider critical approaches to library assessment practices
    • Examine trends and implications of libraries using student data through various modalities
    • Explore practical approaches and methodologies for implementing critical assessment of student learning

Thank you to our speakers and participants.

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March 2019 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.

March 2019 Site of the Month: Wheel of Sources
Interview with: Kian Ravaei and Doug Worsham
Interviewer: Emilia Marcyk

Project Description: UCLA WI+RE’s (Writing Instruction + Research Education) “Wheel of Sources” is an interactive tutorial modeled after a game show designed to help students differentiate between primary and secondary sources in specific research contexts. The tutorial uses H5P’s interactive video framework, which presents the learner with activities to complete at key points throughout the module. In addition to helping students understand the difference between primary and secondary sources, “Wheel of Sources” encourages learners to think of “primary” and “secondary” as context-specific characteristics instead of inherent qualities of sources. To help students with key terminology, such as “meta-analysis” and “empirical study,” definitions are included throughout the video. Equipped with this knowledge, learners are then asked to kickstart their own research process by brainstorming possible primary and secondary sources for a research topic of their choice. This module can be embedded in websites and libguides, and integrated into H5P-compatible platforms such as Moodle and Canvas.

The full interview is available at: https://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/march-2019-site-of-the-month/

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/

Look for more interviews this spring!

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Justina Elmore

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.

Justina ElmoreName:

Justina Elmore


University of Rochester

Job Title:

Outreach Librarian for the Social Sciences

Number of Years Teaching:

13 (eek!)

Are you a dogs or cats fan?

I have a dachshund the size of a cat… .

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Abbott’s Chocolate Almond Frozen Custard

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

I’m embedded in a writing class called Comics and Culture, where I provide information literacy instruction sessions for research and visual literacy. Over the course of the semester, students develop an argumentative research paper, transform that work into a multimodal project, and present their projects at a Comic-Con event held in the library. The lesson plan for the visual literacy session is available in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox under a Creative Commons license .

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

In the past few semesters, I’ve been working with classes to create digital scholarship projects using our Digital Scholar platform powered by Reclaim Hosting. For example, I’m embedded in a political science class which paired with a community partner in need of data to support advocacy for the creation of a Landlord-Tenant Court in Rochester, NY (which would require state legislation). Students in the course gathered and analyzed data on landlord-tenant cases heard in Rochester City Court during the 2017 calendar year to better understand landlord-tenant issues and the eviction process. The data analysis conducted by students was presented as a website using WordPress pages through Digital Scholar. I also love Mentimeter for polling in classes. During pop-up events, I’ve used Twitterfall to create an easy twitter wall on our 4K screens. Finally, if I’m teaching in a classroom without a whiteboard, I use Web Whiteboard. I like this tool because it’s easy to use and you can quickly get to it and share it without logins.

What class do you teach the most and how do you keep it fresh?

I am an embedded librarian mostly for introductory writing classes or upper level courses in psychology, political science, or gender, sexuality or women’s studies with a designated writing component. One of the easiest things to do is to get creative with and change up the anticipatory set. If it hooks you, it’s more likely to hook your students. I am also always looking for new/different approaches to hands-on activities (making these the bulk of any class!).

Are you involved as an embedded librarian?

Yep. When I negotiate with a faculty member, I always try to come armed with assignment ideas or assignment modifications to make it worth their while to change their syllabus and/or give up class time.

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

If at first you’re given a no by a faculty member (whether you’ve pitched a one-shot or are trying to flip one into something more embedded), keep trying! Building relationships with faculty takes time and effort. Keep making yourself useful and they’ll come to trust you. Second, use wait time consciously and try not to call on the same student twice. Ask students open-ended questions and don’t fill the silence; it’s okay for them (and you) to feel a little uncomfortable in order to get them to engage.

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2019 Instruction Section Special Certificates of Recognition & Appreciation

The Instruction Section occasionally recognizes significant contributions to the field of information literacy alongside our established IS Awards. This year, we are pleased to join the IS Awards Committee in honoring two contributions with Special Certificates of Recognition and Appreciation.

The recipients will be honored as part of our recognition of 2018 and 2019 Instruction Section Awards and Honors at the ACRL National Conference in Cleveland, OH on Thursday, April 10, 1:00-2:00 in the Hilton Hope D. More details on this event coming soon. All are invited to join.

2019 ACRL Instruction Section Special Certificates of Recognition and Appreciation

Nicole Pagowsky and the Critical Librarianship and Pedagogy Symposium received a Special Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation. Nicole initiated the Symposium in 2017, which takes place at the University of Arizona. The committee that organized the Symposium for the previous two years includes: Scott Buchanan, Jessica Calderwood, Jen Nichols, Anthony Sanchez, Maribeth Slebodnik, and Niamh Wallace. The certificate is in recognition of the contribution that the Symposium makes in building community among librarians interested in recognizing and critiquing power structures inherent in information practices, and in library professionals’ work as educators. Addressing an immensely important and timely issue in librarianship, the Critical Librarianship and Pedagogy Symposium provides a much needed space for library professionals to explore critical pedagogy and how it may inform their efforts in academic libraries and in higher education.

Brad Sietz, Director of LOEX, received a Special Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation for his dedicated work organizing the annual LOEX Conference and as editor of the LOEX Quarterly. The LOEX Conference is a premier venue for the instruction librarian community and has made a huge impact on the work of information literacy for librarians around the world by providing space for us to share ideas, ask difficult teaching and learning questions, and to get to know one another often leading to new collaborations and projects. LOEX Quarterly and LOEX Currents are must-reads for librarians to keep up-to-date on new and best practices in higher education and libraries, provides a venue for librarians to publish their ideas in pedagogy, as well as check out the current job ads. Brad has also be active in the Instruction Section for many years as an ex-officio member of the IS Advisory group, where he has shared his knowledge and perspective including participation in the discussions sponsored by the IS Discussion Group Steering Committee.

Congratulations to our 2019 recipients!

Meghan Sitar

Chair, ACRL Instruction Section

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Recording for Management & Leadership Committee Discussion Series – Mindful Leadership: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Academic Library Instruction Program

On February 20th,  the Instruction Section’s Management and Leadership Committee hosted a virtual event titled Mindful Leadership: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Academic Library Instruction Program, which is now available for viewing via ACRL’s YouTube channel. Session notes and resources are also available.

Session Description: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not just politically correct buzzwords; they are complex ideas that should be addressed by leaders of instruction programs. Mindful leadership involves the thoughtful reflection about and integration of practices that support DEI in our work as instructional librarians. This webinar offers a panel discussion and question-and-answer session examining DEI through the lens of management and leadership featuring four well-known specialists: Toni Anaya and Charlene Maxey-Harris of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, authors of the ARL Diversity and Inclusion SPEC kits 2010 & 2017; Anastasia “Stacy” Collins of Simmons University, author of “Language, Power, and Oppression in the LIS Diversity Void” (paywall); and Ione Damasco of the University of Dayton and co-author of “Tenure and Promotion Experiences of Academic Librarians of Color.”

Thank you to our speakers and participants.

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IS Member Orientation & Office Hours

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

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