Reading and thinking

I am having a rather unusual week this week. About five months ago I looked yet again at the rising pile of books and journal articles balancing on the edge of my desk in my office, and sighed because I never seem to get to really go into them. I decided to clear a week in November (generally a little less traffic in my office), to save up some of my dedicated research time, and to plan to read. And boy – have I read! My eyes are red, my fingers are numb with note-taking (I know, old-school). It has so far been wonderful to really dig in.

I almost always have to write to understand what I have read, and I write to organise my thoughts. Most of the blogging about the specific items I have sunk my teeth into will be written about on my Norwegian blog, but I thought I’d share something here, too.

These past years, I have been thinking a lot about standardising information literacy courses. I have thought a lot about pros and cons to these ideas, but I am interested in frameworks as maybe a good way to go. I have been digging into the ACLR Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education in particular, and I have been writing about it here and there for a couple of years. One of the criticisms toward this framework has been that it is difficult to understand, and much less concrete than the previous ACRL Standards that were widely used in the US. I have been having some difficulties, too. But as I have read more, I am starting to connect more dots.

I have been reading “The Intersection. Where evidence based nursing and information literacy meet” and “The no-nonsense guide to training in libraries” this week. Earlier this year I read more about Paulo Freire and his “Pedagogy of the oppressed”, a classic within critical pedagogy. I also read Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science, an excellent book, btw. If I am trying to connect some ideas together here, it becomes a bit of a pattern. “The Intersection” forced me to think more clearly about the overlap between evidence-based practice (EBP) and information literacy (IL). A big part of IL is to be able to get information and to know what to do with it. That is also a part of “Bad Science”. “The no-nonsense guide” gives you an idea on how to teach IL to a public that may or may not know much about IL, or even to be aware that they do not have enough skills in this field. In “The no-nonsense guide” I got a reminder to use different activities to aid the learning process of a spectre of students, and very practical tips on group work (for example). This goes well with Paulo Freire’s ideas on better power distribution to aid deep learning. And all of these ideas can be found in the ACRL Framework. In “Bad Science” and “The Intersection” I am reminded that authority is not enough to understand the quality of a work. This is a big part of the frame “Authority is constructed and contextual”. Including the student in group discussions is empasised in both “The no-nonsense guide”, “The Intersection” and in the frame “Scholarship as Conversation”.

Learning theories and the whole pedagogy field is a messy affair, with lots of theories pointing in different directions. I still love it.

Reference list:

Allan, B. (2013) The no-nonsense guide to training in libraries. London: Facet Publishing.

Association of College & Research Libraries (2015) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Available from:

Goldacre, B. (2008) Bad science. London: Fourth Estate.

Phelps, S. F., Hyde, L. og Wolf, J. P. (2018) The intersection : where evidence based nursing and information literacy meet. Cambridge, MA, United States: Chandos Publishing, an imprint of Elsevier.


The books I am attacking this week:)

Some new research methodology books for librarians

review bøker bilde

My concentration is failing today, so instead of doing what I ought to do, namely reading some articles for my motivations study (oh, the irony), I am writing about some of the books I should have spent time on. It`s Friday afternoon, after all..

So, anyway..

Systematic reviews are popular with particularly the Institute for health sciences here at the university. So I thought I should really do one to gain a better understanding of the process and procedures to follow. One of the books I am looking into is a book called “Assembling the pieces of a systematic review: a guide for librarians” by Margaret J. Foster and Sarah T. Jewell (eds.). It is a very well-structured book with chapters covering everything step-by-step from what a systematic review is to summarising. The main points, such as asking good questions, designing a search strategy etc seems very well explained, and in orderly charts and tables, just as we librarians like it.

The next book I am going to dive into is “Systematic approaches to a successful literature review” (2nd ed.) by Andrew Booth, Anthea Sutton and Diana Papaioannou. This book is covering much of the same (of course), but does not look at it from a librarian`s point of view, but rather the scholars. It`ll be interesting to compare them.

The final book is one that I am embarrased to say have been on my desk for at least two months without being opened. It is not one of those books you read from A-Z, but rather a book to dive into when needed. It`s called: “Research methods in Library and Information Science” (6th ed) by Lynn S. Connaway and Marie L. Radford. I am particularly interested in the parts on grounded theory since I am looking into doing a study using that methodology, but I`ll certainly also be looking at their chapter on ethnographic approaces to qualitative data, which I find very interesting.

But before I really sink my teeth into any of these, I am going to have a weekend off, I think. Perhaps it will make me ready for articles on motivation on Monday morning. Have a nice weekend!

Journal of Information Literacy anniversary issue


I`m as happy as this girl right now:) (

One of my favourite academic journals, Journal of Information Literacy (JIL), just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and took the opportunity to publish a special issue (vol 11, issue 1) with lots of great articles from some of the most well-known IL experts in the world.  I have already downloaded several, and I can`t wait to dive into them.

Amongst the authors are some of my absolute favourites, like James Elmborg, Sheila Webber, Bill Johnston, Sharon Markless, David Streatfield, Annamaree Lloyd and Alison J. Head. Even Christine Bruce has co-authored an article. I also had the pleasure of hearing Barbara Fister at LILAC (conference) once, and I can`t wait to read her article. It really is an amazing issue, with all these heavyweights in place.

Thank you, JIL!

So many articles – so little time

Businessman climbing the stairs to the success of knowledge


I always like to start my week by looking through my rss feeds and having a look at some saved items in my reader. Sometimes, that is all I have time for – just registering that there is something interesting there – and then putting it aside for later. Sometimes, I have the opportunity to look through things a little more thoroughly  (=btw, the hardest word I know of to spell correctly in English).

Today was mostly a “look through briefly” kind of morning, but I thought I`d share a few tips here. Maybe that will motivate me to look through more later tonight?

I haven`t read these articles, but I looked at some of the abstracts. Many of them are presentations from Creating Knowledge VIII, a conference that took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2016. The abstracts and (some) papers were published in the latest edition of NORIL.

There were also some presentations from LILAC17 that were held last week in Swansea, UK.

If you are interested in information literacy (who could not be? :), and do not already follow Sheila Webber`s blog, you should consider putting it on your rss feed. Webber updates regularly, and often live blogs from conferences, so it is well worth taking a look at her blog.

Anyway, here are some items on my reading list for this spring: 

From Nordic Journal of Information Literacy 2016 8(1), special issue:

Eriksson, F. (2016) Constructive Alignment as a Means to Establish Information Literacy in the Curriculum.

Webber, S. (2016) Teaching the Next Generation of Information Literacy Educators: Pedagogy and Learning

Head, A. J. (2016) “What Today’s University Students Have Taught Us”

Nierenberg, E. (2016) How Much Do Nursing and Teacher Education Students in Norway Learn about Information Literacy in Their First Months of Higher Education?

Various items from LILAC17:

I would have loved to see this poster:

White, J. & Ball, C. ‘So you didn’t get your Hogwarts letter…’ Engaging muggles in the library experience (poster).

Will be watching Alan Carbery`s LILAC17 keynote, available here:

From ACRL17:

James, H. G. and Gibes, E. A.: Embracing Threshold Concepts: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Framework

DeSanto, D. and Harrington, S. Harnessing the Intersections of Writing and Information Literacy

Grant, R., Haywood, F. and Casper, D. The Proof is in the Worksheets: Tying Library Instruction Assessment to ACRL Information Literacy Standards

Gessner, G. C. , Eldermire, E. ,Tang, N. and Tancheva, K. The Research Lifecycle and the Future of Research Libraries: A Library of Apps

Well, I doubt that I`ll be able to read and watch all of this content this spring, but I will do my best to get through abstracts and bibliographies at least.

Teaching Information Literacy Reframed

teaching information literacy reframed

Teaching Information Literacy Reframed

I have been working on a small project recently. I think it`s about time that librarians in Norway discuss whether or not we should try to use a standard or a framework in our information literacy classes, and I have been working on translating the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to Norwegian and tried to see if I could somehow find some practical uses, through describing learning outcomes and learning activities to match them.

The framework itself is conceptual and quite hard to understand, and I came across a great book that I would like to recommend to those who seek to understand the framework. It`s called “Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners” and is written by Joanna M. Burkhardt.

Burkhardt has analysed the six frames in the ACRL framework and has tried to find leaning activities to match them. The activities themselves are perhaps not easy to use in Norway, as quite a few of them are very adapted to American society and history, but as inspiration they are great. In my little project, I could not use any of the activities from the book directly, but they made me think more broadly on the subjects and activities that better match the classes that I teach. Many of the activities described in the book are perhaps easier to use in classrooms and smaller groups, rather than in a lecture hall, but maybe one could use this book together with the ideas of a book that I have written about before: “Hvordan engasjere studentene” [How to engage students]? Using ideas from both books might work in lectures. 🙂

Anyway – I`m often impressed by how much interesting and good literature there really is about teaching information literacy. Now if we could only take the time to read and to discuss the ideas with other teaching librarians we could make some real changes..

Reading tip: “Writing essays by pictures”/ Gröppel-Wegener

picture from an illustration from the book

One of the illustrations from the book, describing different levels of texts and what you can expect to find.

I came across a review of this book earlier this fall, and I asked the acquisitions librarian if she could buy us a copy. It arrived last week, and I just read through it. It was such a fun read! It is a workbook with ideas on how to write essays. It covers the whole process, from harnessing an idea, finding evidence, reading, organising, referencing and structuring your essay. Everything is illustrated and with short tips and snippets of text to help you understand the process. I got some great tips on how to present students with this information, and there were some very nice ideas there on note taking and how to understand and work with the texts. A quick read, but very informative and fun. Two thumbs up!


Gröppel-Wegener, A. (2016). Writing essays by pictures : a workbook. Huddersfield: Innovative Libraries.

Reading list – October and November

me with bookThere are so many new things going on at work these days that it is hard to keep up with the new literature. I have a few books and articles on hold that I will bring home with me soon. One of the books is the newly published “Pathways into Information Literacy and Communities of Practice: Teaching approaches and case studies”, edited by Dora Sales and Maria Pinto. I browsed quickly through the table of contents just now, and it looks really promising. As always, I am looking for practical approaches to teaching and assessment, and it looks like the authors have used both theoretical approaches (frameworks, critical thinking) and practical approaches (case studies, blended learning, rubrics, flipped classroom techniques) here. I am looking forward to reading more.

While I am talking about frameworks etc.. I have an rss feed to Meredith Farkas` blog “Information wants to be free”. Yesterday, a post popped into my reader. It was an answer to Christine Bombaro`s “Viewpoint article” in Reference Services Review, where Bombaro argued that the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education was elitist. I am not going to sum up their respective standpoints, but I would recommend having a look at both texts. It is very interesting the framework can be perceived so differently.

Other items on my reading list includes:

Burkhard, J. M. (2016).Teaching information literacy reframed: 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information-literate learners. London: Facet Publishing.

and some Norwegian articles on how students in secondary schools learn writing skills, and what reality they meet in higher education with regards to academic writing.

So many interesting books/articles – so little time!

Reading list: March

It`s been a while since I have written about items on my reading list. The reason is, as so often before, that other tasks were prioritised. We are just now in the process of learning a new library system (Alma) that will replace the current Bibsys (been around for 40 years!) later this year. Things like this tend to take up some time, and it`s hard to keep focus on the big picture, like learning, developing new services, when maintenance issues like a new library system are coming. Still, I am hoping to have time to get some reading done before the Bachelor`s thesis marathon begins.


Image of the book: "The one-shot library instruction survival guide"While most librarians are walking quickly away from one-shot instruction (and not looking back), there are those who are trying to make a case for one-shot library instruction. I am currently reading “THe one-shot library instruction survival guide” by Buchanan and McDonough (2014). I have to admit that when I saw the title I was surprised that someone would publish a book about one-shot instruction in 2014, thinking that it was a thing of the past. I was so surprised that I just had to buy the book and have a look at these ideas.

The first thing that caught my eye in the book was that the authors claim that it IS possible to plan, integrate and assess lessons, even in one-shot settings. I have always thought of one-shots as lessons that are completely separated from the other content in a subject/course. I have always thought one-shot instruction equaled the “milk and spinach” approach (1) (p.17). Right off the bat, this gave me a new opinion on the whole idea of one-shots. I still think that we (meaning librarians) have to integrate our lessons more, and that we must try to get more involved in the writing processes that go on in many cources. It takes time to build new skills, and I don`t think that one-shots can really help students understand the need to invest time in learning these skills. For that you need to be more involved in the entire course. Still, I am starting to think that there MAY be room for some one-shots where there is a good understanding between librarians and teachers on planning, learning outcomes and assessment.

I haven`t been through all the chapters yet, but there are chapters on how to collaborate with teachers, a chapter on classroom strategies, a chapter on assessment and one on coping with the mass of students wanting your help on assignments. I have had a brief look at all the chapters, and read the first ones more carefully. I think it was well worth my time, and I`ll definitely think about some of the strategies suggested here.

Buchanan, H. E.&B. McDonough (2014) The one-shot library instruction survival guide. Chicago: ALA Editions.

Other items on my reading list for March and April include:

Brabazon, T. (2013) Digital dieting: From information obesity to intellectual fitness. Farnham: Ashgate.

– a book on how we are to deal with the vast amount of information available, and how we can teach our students to take control over the information. Looking forward to this one! Tara Brabazon has a unique way of writing and presenting, and hearing her at LILAC (conference) in 2012 was a joy!

I am also reading some articles about how college freshmen use information, particularly using Project Information Literacy (PIL)/ Alison Head`s “Learning the ropes” from 2013. Great stuff! I recommend having a look at Project Information Literacy`s website. Lots of important and interesting information.

Head, A. J. (2013) Learning the ropes: How freshmen conduct course research once they enter college [online]. URL: (07.02.2014).

At home I am reading a mix of novels and documentaries at the moment:

Mak, G.& E. Rasmussen (2014) USA: en reise. [Oslo]: Cappelen Damm.

– travels through the US, following in Steinbeck`s travels in 1960. Very interesting, but a rather slow read. Many details and names..

Winslow, S. (2014) The persuasion of Miss Jane Austen. London (?): Heather Ridge arts

and a couple of others.. Oh, the joys of a good book! 🙂



(1) Meaning that the teacher wants students to have library instruction because it “is good for them” in a general sense, without any real connection to specific tasks or learning outcomes.

On my reading list

Books in a pileIt`s been quite a semester with lots, lots, lots to do. Being one short on the staff side makes a lot of difference, of course, and I have been running around the place even more than before, but now that we are expecting our replacement (new librarian arrives on Monday – yay!) I hope that I`ll get a chance to blog more (haven`t been blogging here since August – weird) and to catch up on my reading. I have been reading some very interesting articles on faculty-library collaboration, and I would like to recommend Li Wang`s (2011) article on team-teaching (and more). I found it very useful. Monroe-Gulic, O`Brian and White`s (2013) article on librarians as research partners is also worth the time.

I have so many interesting things on my reading list now, and I really want to get started soon. I am particularly looking forward to Ragains (2013), Pickard and Childs (2013), Bradley (2013) and Markless and Streatfield (2013). There are so many things going on in the profession, and I find it a little hard to stay on top of things, but by choosing teaching as my main area of interest it gets a little easier.

Bradley, P. (2013) Expert internet searching. London: Facet.

Markless, S. og D. Streatfield (2012) Evaluating the impact of your library. London: Facet.

Monroe-Gulick, A., M. O’Brien og G. White (2013) Librarians as Partners: Moving from Research Supporters to Research Partners.

Pickard, A. J. og S. Childs (2013) Research methods in information. London: Facet.

Ragains, P. (2013) Information literacy instruction that works: a guide to teaching by discipline and student population. Chicago: Neal-Schuman.

Wang, L. (2011) An information literacy integration model and its application in higher education. I: Reference Services Review, 39(4), s. 703-720.

Librarians – research support or research partners?

To say that the research activity at GUC has increased is a gross understatement. From 2004 to 2012 we went from having 8,2 publication points (1) to 88,6 points. In that time we have also gotten our own PhD programme and PhD research positions as well as grants for faculty staff members who want to get their PhDs at others institutions.

So – what about the librarians` role? Are we still just research support staff – a person you can call when you need a little help with your reference manager or to dig up a copy of some ancient journal article? OR do we see a new role emerging..?

Several librarians I have talked to lately has spoken about their competence in seaching, finding, evaluating sources and documentation now being sought for something more than “support”. Mariann Mathiesen, a librarian at the Norwegian knowledge center for health services, was part of a research team. Not only did she give advice about knowledge organisation subjects, but she actually did the systematic searches involved in the study that the team was working on, and Mathiesen was made co-author of the study. (Btw, read her excellent, award-winning Master`s thesis – if you read Norwegian..) Is this the way of the future? Can we become valued partners in research teams?

Of course, there are some questions:

  • Resources: Do libraries have the resources to let their librarians engage in research teams?
  • Skills: Do all librarians have the necessary skills to do the job properly?
  • Interest: Are librarians interested in these kinds of tasks?
  • Interprofessional knowledge: Do researchers know that they can ask librarians about these issues?
  • Will: Do the researcher want to engage librarians – as equal partners?

I think it very likely that some research teams here at GUC could have had good use of the librarians` expertise in knowledge organisation, and I (personally) would be very interested in participating in such a team (as a partner), but I also think that I would have to learn by doing, and that I would be a little anxious about not getting it right the first time (Control freak= me). I have talked about Embedded librarianship before, and I still very much believe that we need to be better integrated in the academic environment at our institutions. Being true research partners in teams would certainly be a step in the right direction here.

I read the article “Librarians as Partners: Moving from Research Supporters to Research Partners” by Monroe-Gulick, O`Brian and White(2013)  today – and the article served as inspiration for this blog post. Although the article didn`t really provide me with much new information, I think the fact that it is being discussed at all is interesting. And then again — it seems like we (meaning the library profession) is moving in very different directions. On one hand we are to be “learning centres”, focussing our efforts on our students and to provide them with the academic writing skills they need as well as more traditional services like access to information. On the other hand we need to be/ want to be partners in research teams. These are interesting times to be a librarian. I think that we`ll see more of this professional developments and that we are moving towards a less unified perception on what a librarian is. There will probably be no such thing as “core competensies” to all librarians in a while. We will be “research librarians”, “teaching librarians”, “digital service librarians” etc. and probably have less in common than we do now. The questions are: How do we handle the transition? Are we willing to live with the consequences of our choices?

Well – these were just a few musings (and rants) on a Thursday afternoon. And now– coffee!

Monroe-Gulick, A., O`Brian, M.S., and White, G. (2013). Librarians as Partners: Moving from Research Supporters to Research Partners (online) URL: (25.04.2013).

(1) Here in Norway there is a system of awarding publication points for different types of research publications. The institutions then receive monetary support according to publication points achieved.