Trends in Information Literacy Instruction – July 2020

This summer, recent publications from the Information Literacy Instruction (ILI) lead us to think critically about Critical Library Instruction, examine the teaching moments in our reference transactions, and look again at the improved outcomes from multiple library sessions in a single class.

The 10 year anniversary of Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods brings us a special issue of Communications in Information Literacy that updates and reflects on this seminal work. Additionally, Debbie Schachter of Capilano University publishes survey and interview results that paint a picture of the critical library instruction landscape of BC academic libraries.

Several recent articles in the ILI literature turn our focus back to the reference interaction as a teachable moment. We have a look at mapping virtual reference emails to the ACRL framework and a review of literature about one-on-one reference transactions as a venue for ILI.

Finally, we have more evidence of scaffolding and multiple library instruction sessions leading to better outcomes for students in a study of first year writing classes.

Communications in Information Literacy – Critical Library Instruction Special Issue

It has been 10 years since Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods was published. This work has become somewhat of a central text to instructions librarians who wish to embrace critical frameworks around library instruction. The June issue of Communications in Information Literacy has been edited by Maria T. Accardi, Emily Drabinski, and Alana Kumbier and its articles offer critique, reflection, and continuation of the work that they began. This is an open access journal and I highly recommend this issue.

Renirie, R. H. (2020). Instruction through virtual reference: mapping the ACRL framework. Reference Services Review, 48(2), 243–257.

As a distance education librarian, Renirie points out the importance of asynchronous reference services (that is, reference through email, forms, or other online methods). In her examination of emails provided by distance librarians, Renirie maps the contents and templates used to craft those emails along the ACRL Framework and finds that reference librarians still need to be cognizant of the instructional possibilities or teaching moments that happen inside of asynchronous reference transactions.

Schachter, D. (2019). Information literacy teaching in BC academic libraries: Research into critical approaches to library practices. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 43(1), 48-65.

Debbie Schachter, University Librarian at Capilano University, has published the results of a survey and interview series she completed with academic librarians from BC who focus on information literacy instruction. Focusing on principles and practices of Critical Library Instruction (CLI), these surveys and interviews discuss what librarians know about CLI, how they are trying to implement it in their library instruction practices, and some of the barriers that exist to hinder a full understanding or ability to ingrate principles of CLI into library instruction.

Stapleton, J., Carter, C., & Bredahl, L. (2020). Research consultations in the academic library: A scoping review on current themes in instruction, assessment and technology. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 46(4).

One-on-one meetings with librarians are a common practice at academic libraries. In their review, Stapleton, Carter, and Bredahl look closely at recent studies that look specifically at this model not just as a reference point, but also as a possibility of library instruction. In many of the studies, students preferred this kind of customized attention, had positive feedback about the experience, and performed better on learning outcomes around research.

Walker, K. W., & Whitver, S. M. (2020). Assessing information literacy in first year writing. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 46(3).

Using a pre- and post-test framework, Walker and Whitver aim to assess several variables within ILI environments. Their data find that the most effective classes have ILI integrated throughout several points in a scaffolded course and that the development of IL competencies can rely on close collaboration between writing instructors and effective librarian instructors.

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