LOEX 2019: Collaboration

Those who read this blog on a regular basis or follow me on Twitter know that one of my first interests within teaching in libraries is collaboration with faculty staff. Without having working relationships with teachers and other faculty staff, we do not stand a chance of outreach. Without them, the library remains an island where visitors shove a plank across when they need librarians, and take it with them when they leave. We need our collaborators to make a bridge to the students, and to maintain the bridge when it is in place. Before I am in dager of overusing the metaphor, I will get on with what I learned within this are on LOEX 2019.

Ula Lechtenberg and Zach Claybaugh, Sacred Heart University held an excellent session on “Sharing our compass: Faculty development and information literacy”. (A picture of the compass can be seen in their presentation) The north, east, south and east positions on the compass were substituted with: “Mapping the Quest”, “Packing”, “Unpacking” and “Repacking”. Lechtenberg and Claybaugh used this compass to explain their journey on how they built a new course on information literacy for teachers.

Anyway – Lechtenberg and Claybaugh talked about how their mandatory information literacy course had been cut, and a portion of it had been moved to a first-year seminar. This created some problems. Lechtenberg and Claybaugh, inspired by a similar idea at the University of Arizona, decided to make a new IL course/ workshop for teachers. Teach the teachers!

Lechtenberg and Claybaugh had emphasised interaction in their course, and they used both Round Robin and World Café as methods to get the participants to interact with each other and with librarians. Ahead of the course, learning goals for students were developed. The learning goals were connected to the ACRL Framework, but to avoid all the “tribal language”, librarians had developed learning goals that the participants could understand. For example: “Students will be able to develop creative search strategies to navigate different systems and locate materials relevant to their research assignments”. The course participants could choose three learning goals that they wanted to explore, and they moved around to the tables where their learning goals were discussed. On each table, a librarian facilitated the discussions. The World Café is a similar idea, but the participants were supposed to share ideas, stories etc. that they had from the course, and these were noted on the tablecloth on the tables. These ideas and stories were shared when a new group came to sit down. The topics on each table were connected to the ACRL Framework.

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Claybaugh has made a useful library guide on teaching information literacy for instructors. It is available here.

Several presenters had cited this article from Cowen & Eva (2016). I have saved it, and I am going to get started on it soon.

It is important to find the right partners on campus. Find the ones that have access to students.

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I have been thinking a lot about this session after the conference. I think that we, due to the continual understaffing at the library, the workload and information overload for teachers, that we need to get a better grip on how to deal with collaboration and outreach. I really want to make something along the lines of what Lechtenberg and Claybaugh did here, but I guess I am too much of a realist to be able to imagine having a two-day course here for teachers. I can’t imagine many (or any?) teachers that would make this a priority. I am thinking about other ways to get this done. Maybe in mini or micro sessions? Maybe integrated at staff seminars? Maybe a MOOC?

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