Professional Development

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Joy Attends The Innovative Library Conference and NC-BIG

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 11:27 am


On Thursday, May 12, Amanda, Kyle and I made the lovely two hour scenic drive to Radford University to attend The Innovative Library Conference (TILC). Registration for this 75 participant conference filled in 27 minutes, so we were fortunate to be a part of this well-done and informative event.

The keynote speaker was Donna Lanclos, Associate Professor for Anthropological Research at the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC-Charlotte. Donna’s speech can be found here on her blog, but just pondering her job description was enough to make the speech interesting! She talked about Active Learning Classrooms and their implications for libraries and librarians. She focused on the importance of active learning and the idea that the community IS the curriculum. She encouraged librarians to serve as “consultants, partners, and leaders on campus with faculty” to encourage active learning across the curriculum. She was adamant that 25 years of research has proven active learning is more effective than traditional lecture. However, I cannot just summarize what she said without sharing some of my own skepticism to this approach. I am a huge Parker Palmer follower, and I believe that there are many approaches to teaching that can be highly valuable. While active learning is my approach to classroom learning, I cannot imagine ever suggesting to Ed Wilson that he should integrate active learning into his classroom.

My favorite session was led by Maryke Barber from Hollins University which was titled “Balance Through Mindfulness: The Art of Now in the Library Classroom.” She led us in three contemplative practices that can be integrated into our instruction. She created an amazing LibGuide for her presentation that can be accessed here.

One interesting session was led by Patrick Rudd (librarian) and Paula Patch (Coordinator of the College Writing Program) at Elon University who reflected on their experience from librarians doing one shot, canned presentations, to becoming co-owners of the curriculum. They created is a wonderful “community of practice” model that impacted the entire Elon University first year writing program.

After lunch, Amanda and I participated in a Selfie Scavenger Hunt of Radford’s McConnell Library. It was the perfect after lunch session. I had heard NC State present on this self-guided approach to library tours, but it was my first time experiencing it. They equipped us with a map, a list of items to find, and an iPod mini. You will be pleased to know that thanks to Amanda’s technology skills, we (team “Deacons”) won!

My Selfie Scavenger Hunt "Team Deacons" partner.

My Selfie Scavenger Hunt “Team Deacons” partner.

It was a good, but long day. Hats off to Radford University and the TILC Conference Committee for pulling off one of the best instruction conferences anywhere!


On Friday, May 13, Kathy, Kyle and I attended NC-BIG Camp 2016! Kathy did a great job as the facilitator for the “ACRL Framework” discussion. I have still not watched the John Oliver video, but I plan to do that soon!

I also participated in the “Learning How to Teach” session which was a fun and interesting discussion facilitated by Amy Harris Houk. Our group had representatives from public libraries, community colleges, small colleges, and large universities. To me, it was the quintessential NC-BIG “unconference” breakout session because our entire discussion was fueled by one librarian’s question which was, “How do you learn to teach?”

My big takeaway from NC-BIG was that you can convert PDFs to Google Docs using Google Drive. This one piece of information was worth attending the conference!

Joy at LOEX 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 3:37 pm

LOEX is always a dream conference for instruction librarians, and this year was no exception. This year’s Pittsburgh Conference brought together a record 425 participants from 40 states, but most exciting was our Wake Forest contingent which included Kyle, Amanda, Meghan and me.

The conference kicked off with an opening reception Thursday evening, and began in earnest early Friday morning with an opening plenary session by Dr. Sheila Corrall who encouraged us to become reflective teachers. She made the case for the idea that critical reflection should be elevated to the status of a threshold concept. In her lovely British accent she described how in England, in order to become a librarian, one must first graduate from library school and then work two years in a library, during which time one is required to keep reflective journals. At the end of two years, one must write a capstone paper reflecting on the experience. She made the compelling case that in order to become effective professionals, we must incorporate critical self-reflection as instructors and learners.

Here are some of the things I learned about from various breakout sessions:

  • Candice Benjes-Small (Radford University) gave a great presentation on how to assess one-shot sessions by using the mixed methods observation technique. Evaluations should be immediate, actionable, and able to be captured. At the end of one-shot class sessions, students at Radford are given quick written surveys/quizzes and at the end of the sessions instructors return to their offices and spend 30 minutes, self-assessing and making changes for upcoming one-shots.
  • Inclusion and social justice were dominant themes throughout the weekend. Emilie Vrbancic (U of Colorado, Colorado Springs) led a great session on creating inclusive teaching environments by designing instruction centered on principles of Universal Design. Most of what she said, I am already incorporating in my classes, but I had never heard that the most inclusive room design is one in which student are facing one another. We should promote interaction between students, have group activities, keep instructions simple, present instructions in multiple formats, allocate a third of class time for individual work, and integrate citation management tools such as Zotero (there is more, but I’m stopping there!).
  • Eamon Tewell (Long Island University Brooklyn) introduced ways of incorporating critical information literacy in library instruction. Critical IL aims to understand how libraries participate in systems of oppression and finds ways for librarians to act upon these systems. Tewell gave the results of a survey in which instruction librarians shared how they address critical IL. Some instructors use social justice issues in their search strategy examples. Some instructors introduce alternative media zines to introduce a variety of perspectives. Other instructors abandon the search strategy demonstrations altogether reasoning that students can learn it themselves and social justice issues are far more important than search strategies.
  • I attended a session on international students and academic libraries. I learned that the 2014/15 academic year saw the largest increase (10%) of international students in the United States of any time since the 1970s. Most of the students (57%) are from China and 22% are from the Middle East.
  • Kyle and Amanda had the most interesting session of the entire conference! They talked about their experience teaching LIB100 online last summer and the changes they made in their fall LIB100 sessions. I believe we could create an in-house WFU mini-LOEX and learn a ton just by hearing what is happening in our classes! They shared this link which I will share with you: ly/wfuloex
  • Catherine Fraser Reihle (Purdue) and Merinda Kay Hensley (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) gave the results of a study on what undergraduate students know about scholarly communication (an article will be coming out on this). They surveyed students currently engaged in research experiences such as capstone projects or scholarly research with faculty members. The majority of respondents were STEM students. The findings were fascinating: Not a single student could say with confidence that they owned copyright to their work; most respondents were not concerned about the data they had generated and many did not know where the data was located (in a notebook somewhere); and the vast majority collected the data in a written notebook with no digital version.

Amanda, Meghan and I took an early flight Thursday morning to Pittsburgh in order to take in a few of the sights. During the ZSR Reynolda: An American Story Library Lecture Series, I learned that the Reynolda Gardens greenhouse was designed by architects Lord & Burnham. When Allison mentioned that Lord & Burnham also built Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, I immediately put Phipps at the top of my list of things to see while at LOEX. You can see the similarity of this amazing building (built in 1893) and our own Reynolda greenhouse (1913).

Overall, it was a wonderful conference and I am very thankful for the opportunity to attend LOEX 2016!

Joy at WISE Conference: Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement

Thursday, February 18, 2016 4:13 pm

On Thursday February 4, I had the opportunity to attend the eighth annual Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement and Conference hosted by Wake Forest University held at the Winston-Salem Marriott in beautiful downtown Winston-Salem. Because of my recent appointment to the newly formed Arrive@Wake Board (part of Wake’s Quality Enhancement Plan), Leigh Stanfield encouraged me to attend. This conference had attendees from study abroad programs in colleges and universities across the United States.

It was a delight to be able to participate in a conference outside the world of libraries! The first person I met when I walked in the door of the Marriott was Niki McInteer, who is the WFU Associate Dean International Admissions. We introduced ourselves to each other and quickly figured out that we were both on the Arrive@Wake Board. It was wonderful to meet her and to learn that so far, Wake has 1,300 international student applicants (a record!).

The keynote speaker for the Opening Plenary was James Pellow, President and CEO of the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE). According to their website, they are “the world leader in international education and exchange.” One of the main points of his speech focused on the needed for increased intercultural competency. He presented the findings from a study that found that employees in the global market desire intercultural communication skills above all other skills, even above language skills (which was second in the survey).

The first breakout session I attended was titled “Micro-Practices to Develop Intercultural Competencies” led by Adriana Medina at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It was perhaps the best breakout session I have ever attended at any conference. She gave seven competences crucial for a successful study abroad experience: description, observation, ability to ask questions, flexibility, adaptation, keeping an open mind, and engaging in ambiguity. For each competency, she had group activities to demonstrate these concepts, all of which could be easily adapted to teach students preparing for study abroad.

The next breakout session I attended was titled “Demystifying Intercultural Outcomes Assessment and the Changing Assessment Paradigm” led by Darla Deardorff at Duke University. This session was theoretical with no examples given of what authentic assessment looks like. I can tell you some things I learned: Pre/Post tests are insufficient assessments, a standardized tool does not sufficiently assess, and outcome assessment is different from program assessment. We are to move to learner centered assessment, find authentic evidence, assess from multiple perspectives, use a holistic approach, and it should be about the process (not numbers). By the end of the session, it was very clear to me that I like concrete examples in presentations.

Overall, it was a wonderful day and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to participate. I have already been able to use many of the concepts I learned in my position on the Arrive@Wake Board.

By the way, the logistics for this conference were all top notch–delicious, abundant, and beautiful food. The picture was from lunch held in the Garden Room of the Embassy Suites. At my table were people from UNC-G, Amsterdam, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. My respect for the WFU Center for Global Programs & Studies has grown immensely and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this conference.


NC-LITe at UNC-CH, December 2015

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 12:02 pm

On Wednesday, December 16 Sarah Jeong, Kyle Denlinger, Amanda Foster, Meghan Webb, and Joy Gambill traveled to beautiful UNC-Chapel Hill to attend NC-LITe, the twice-annual mini-conference loosely focused on instructional technology in libraries. NC-LITe is always an awesome conference and this was no exception! Our day began in the Undergraduate Library where we checked in and spent time informally meeting and greeting colleagues from 15 institutions across the state. After the check-in, we made our way over to the historic Wilson Library where the program began in earnest.

The beauty of NCLITe is its small size and each time we meet, we begin with a check-in to hear what is happening at each institution represented. These updates are always interesting and it is where we learn things such as which campus has a new library dean (WFU!) and the fact that Canvas is being launched as the Learning Management System for several NC institutions.

After hearing updates from each campus, Jonathan McMichael (UNC-CH Undergraduate Experience Librarian) led a design thinking activity (based on Stanford’s method). The design thinking process is unique in that it focuses on needfinding, understanding and empathy first, and then the designer and user work together to define, ideate, prototype and test solutions. Also, one of the fundamental concepts at the core of this process is a bias towards action and creation: by creating and testing something, you can continue to learn and improve upon your initial ideas.

One of the highlights of the day was touring one of UNC’s newest (and by that I mean re-modeled) active-learning classrooms. The classroom use to be a 150-seat lecture hall. It was transformed into an active learning space (seen below) that featured around 100 rolling Steelcase “Node” desks and several projection screens.

The classroom was inspiring, to say the least. We had some definite classroom envy. Naturally, there is a high demand from instructors to use the classroom. Instructors must apply to use the room and show that they have plans to use the room for active-learning. which has challenged instructors who teach sections with 100+ students to re-think their teaching. Overall, its first semester has been a success and almost all the instructors asked to teach in the classroom again.

If the library gets another instruction classroom, I (Amanda) think we could definitely use some of the ideas featured here for ourselves. It definitely inspired us to think creatively!

Image Credit: UNC Center For Faculty Excellence – Interactive Classrooms at UNC-CH

After the classroom tour, we heard four lightning round talks including two from our own Sarah and Kyle! Kyle taught us how to use Voice Thread.

Sarah talked about her 2015 Summer Technology Exploration Grant from Wake Forest University Provost’s Office, that she used to convert a lecture-based course, LIB 220 Science Research Sources and Strategies, into a learner­-centered, flipped course. Her talk highlighted the redesign process to incorporate student reflections using Blogger as a core component of the course to enhance metacognition in learning outcomes.


After the wonderful lightning talks, we went to lunch on Franklin Street and spent more time catching up with NCLITe colleagues. Please note that this post was a collaborative effort by Meghan, Sarah, Kyle, Amanda, and Joy!

LOEX Fall Focus Conference 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 9:17 am

On Friday, November 13 I traveled to Ypsilanti, Michigan to attend the inaugural LOEX Fall Focus Conference. This two day conference focused exclusively on the new Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. There were about 120 instruction librarians in attendance from across the nation.

A Brief History of the Framework

For those of you who keep up with what has been happening in the ACRL world of instruction librarianship, you know that our world has been rocked by the February 2015 filing of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. In 2011, it was decided by an ACRL Review Task Force, that significant revisions were needed to the fifteen year old Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. In March 2013, the Revision Task Force began their work and in January 2014 the first draft of the Framework was introduced. Reactions to the Framework were mixed and many discussions (often heated) ensued. The controversy swirled around the nature of the Framework. While the Standards focused on information literacy as skills-based, the Framework introduced information literacy as a social practice. Originally, the Framework was supposed to replace the Standards, but in February 2015, the ACRL Board of Directors decided to “file” (as opposed to “adopt”) the Framework. And so this past weekend, 120 instruction librarians from across the country gathered together to try and figure out what all of this means for the instructional programs at our institutions.

LOEX day one – Friday

I will begin by saying that I wish they had kicked off this conference with a plenary session such as the one we had Saturday morning. While many key concepts were introduced throughout the conference, it would have been great to have someone provide a more structured context for the new Framework with more discussion about the learning theory behind the Framework. While I believe I finally have a grasp on “Threshold Concepts” as being transformative, troublesome, and irreversible, there are other learning theory ideas that I’m still trying to digest. For example, there was mention throughout the two days that information literacy can only be understood within the context of a discipline or social context. Also, it was evident that some of the concepts truly resonated with the librarians (so many references to “Scholarship is a Conversation”!), but some of the concepts were rarely mentioned such as “Research as Inquiry.”

SESSION one – “Translating the Framework into Your Current Practice” by Jo Angela Oehrli and Diana Perpich (U of Michigan)

This session incorporated a jigsaw exercise which the presenters use to train the 100 people who do library instruction at the University of Michigan. They took three of the concepts and distributed them on colored cards throughout the room so that each person held one frame: Authority is Constructed and Contextual; Scholarship as Conversation; and Searching as Strategic Exploration. You first found 2 other people who had your same concept (mine was “Scholarship is a Conversation”) and I must say that it was very interesting to hear what others are doing with that frame! When I teach, I just mention the concept in class (which is a valid approach I later learned!), but some instructors have students examine articles that build upon previous articles/research. The first group was our “expert” group. We then formed our “jigsaw” group and found people with the same color card but with different concepts. We then shared what we learned and that was also interesting! For the “Authority is Contextual,” one librarian was into rock bands and she talked about how a band becomes an “authority” for that type of music. That is not an analogy I could use, but I bet Steve Kelley could nail that!

SESSION Two – Information Literacy by Design by Jonathan McMichael and Liz McGlynn (UNC-CH)

Some of the sessions I attended just tbecause of who was presenting (in this case Jonathan). This presentation was based on Liz McGlynn’s SILS Master’s Paper. In this presentation, they talked about how they trained graduate students and paraprofessionals to use Understanding by Design (which they changed to Information Literacy by Design) to shape their library instruction sessions for their freshmen English 105 classes. They credited the Framework with freeing up the canned sessions they previously presented, to empowering their instructors to tailor the sessions by keeping the learning outcomes for the session the main purpose of the session. They use “Big Ideas” to transform student experiences (very much in line with “Threshold Concepts”) and they teach using “chunking” rather than “coverage.” On a side note, every time I hear Jonathan speak I feel like I’m not working hard enough! The undergraduate library at UNC has two instruction librarians and they are reaching over 300 sections of this writing class by using graduate students and paraprofessionals as instructors, and that is just one piece of what he accomplishes each semester!

SESSION Three – Framing New Frames by Lisa Hinchliffe (U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Laura Saunders (Simmons College)

This was probably the most highly anticipated breakout sessions of the conference. Lisa is the lead instructor for “Immersion,” a past ACRL President, and an active contributor to listserves and social media about information literacy issues. Her skepticism of the Framework has been well documented. Laura Saunders is an Assistant Professor at the Simmons School of Library and Information Science.

They began their discussion by talking about the pros and cons of the Framework. They saw its potential in how it is conceptually based, how it inspires pedagogy, how the metaphors invite exploration, and how the new-ness is energizing. They saw the pitfalls as: treat frames as standards (I will reiterate this later, but this was mentioned several times—frames were never meant to be measured or treated like standards); thresholds become ends; functions to limit and not expand; unclear state of concepts rejected. Lisa and Laura both pitched the idea that we need to go with the idea of just “concepts” and give up the theoretical “threshold concepts.” They also believe that the Framework should allow for new concepts to be added. Laura’s new Concept was “Information Social Justice” and Lisa’s Concept was “Information Apprenticeship in Community.” You can read their Knowledge Practices and Dispositions here.

LOEX day two – Saturday

PLENARY – Merinda Kaye Hensley (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

By far, the highlight of the conference was the plenary session on Saturday morning. Merinda Kaye Hensley served on the Framework committee and I learned so many things from her presentation! She presented findings from a study from a survey (in which I participated!) about how the Framework was being used in the Fall of 2015. While that information was interesting, it was the nuggets of additional information that were fascinating! She was a superb presenter and she reminded the group that the Framework was a committee effort and she did not agree with all of the document. She talked about the new definition of information literacy. The old definition could easily be summed up by saying: “an information literate person is one who can find, evaluate, and use information.” Here is the new definition: “Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” Merinda pointed out that there is nothing in the new definition about evaluating which she sees as an essential element to information literacy.

Here are some findings from the survey: 1) most believe that threshold concepts help to elevate librarians from practitioners to instructors; 2) one of the complaints of the Framework is that the learning theory jargon contributes to confusion; 3) people are divided over whether or not information literacy is a discipline (most do not think it is).

She said that FRAMES CANNOT BE TESTED and she specifically mentioned the TATIL test that is being developed to test the Framework! This was reiterated in other sessions by other presenters, but she clearly stated that TATIL was missing the intent of the Framework. This was significant for a couple of reasons: one was that TATIL was presented a breakout the day before, and also we (ZSR) agreed to help test the BETA version of this with at least 25 of our students. Learning Outcomes should be tested, not the Frames.

Another very important criticism of the Framework is that there are no Learning Outcomes included. Each institution is encouraged to come up with their own Learning Outcomes to meet the particular needs of their institution. She stated that the knowledge practices and dispositions should be based on Learning Outcomes and not the Frames. This one idea was worth the entire conference for me! No wonder we are all grasping to understand this document. She also believes that the Standards and the Framework can exist together and that many people are pulling Learning Outcomes from the Standards to be used in the Framework.

The last nugget of gold that she tossed out, was that “No one is expected to teach all the frames.” She went on to say that sometimes just mentioning a concept at the beginning or end of a class is enough. By the way, I did not realize the Frames are listed in alphabetical order! The committee could never agree on an order based on priority.

Session 5 – “A Framework Rubric” by Emily Z. Brown and Susan Souza Mort (Bristol Community College)

Emily and Susan used the LEAP VALUE Information Literacy Rubric to assess the information literacy skills of the students at their community college. When the Framework was introduced, they changed the rubric to reflect the new concepts. This was the only session I attended that gave out their Powerpoint as a handout and they also gave everyone a copy of their rubric. They were primarily doing citation analysis, but Amanda, Kyle and I will be able to use many of their ideas on a LIB100 final project rubric we are in the process of developing.

I attended a few other sessions, but those are the highlights. Overall, it was a fantastic conference! Friday night, I enjoyed eating at a local restaurant with 11 other librarians from the conference (a “dine around”). It was fascinating to talk about all kinds of things. I did not know that at Emory, their I.T. department and Library are combined, and the head of I.T. reports to the University Librarian! Now that is an interesting model!

I am very thankful for the opportunity to attend this conference and I look forward to attending LOEX in the May in Pittsburg!


Joy, Kyle, and Amanda at The Innovative Library Classroom Conference

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 4:30 pm

For the second year in a row, the Instruction Cave descended upon Radford University (in Virginia) for the Innovative Library Classroom Conference. Here are some of the highlights from our visit.


Carrie Donovan, head of Teaching & Learning at the Indiana University Libraries gave a high-energy talk on how she and her team have viewed the ACRL Framework discussion as an opportunity to shift their role in supporting the teaching and learning of information literacy on such a large campus. Rather than delivering one-to-one instruction (which we’re able to do here, but which one could imagine being quite impossible with a student body north of 40,000) or developing a credit-bearing course program as we have, they’ve shifted their focus to be more consultative during the course development process, with an eye toward integrating information literacy concepts into individual courses and entire curricula. Carrie made it a point to reinforce in us the idea that we’re experts in our field and should act like it when we’re talking with faculty about information literacy concepts and how we can help their students achieve IL learning outcomes.

Conversation Starter: A Framework Tasting: Trying Out an Upcoming Vintage in Info Lit
Ginny Pannabecker, Virginia Tech

This was a great interactive session that allowed librarians to workshop the new Framework for Information Literacy. In the session, librarians were broken up into six groups to discuss one of the six new frames. Each group was then asked to discuss the following questions:

  • What does this frame mean to you?
  • How does your instructional practice already support this frame?
  • What else would you like to try to engage with and support this frame?

Though the questions may seem simple enough, I thought the facilitator did an excellent job asking questions that really engaged the audience with the topic. My group had so much to discuss we didn’t even make it through all three questions. I think the session might be worth duplicating at some point at ZSR.

Can You Kick It? Bringing Hip Hop Pedagogy to the Library Classroom
Craig Arthur – Radford University

It’s fairly common to use “real world” examples to illustrate plagiarism and copyright when teaching students about these concepts, so I appreciated some of the fresh examples this librarian brought to the presentation. For example, when Mac Miller copied the beat of Lord Finesse’s “Hip 2 Da Game” without attribution and, of course, got sued (warning: nsfw language on the videos). It’s a great example that illustrates the complexity of copyright infringement, especially since Lord Finesse’s song also contains short samples of other music.

I think what I appreciated the most about this presentation was the discussion about the intersections of hip-hop production culture and information literacy. For example, he emphasized the fact that traditional hip-hop production actually requires a lot of information and research skills (as highlighted in the documentary Scratch). For DJ’s, acquiring knowledge of older music to potentially sample is an early example of Information Has Value. There is a lot of crossover between the ideas of academic integrity and sampling — the conventions are different, but both involve giving credit to those that have come before. Critical information literacy folks may also appreciate the brief discussion on the hidden history of hip-hop — one that does not follow the traditional “Rapper’s Delight” narrative, but instead starts much earlier with DJ’s/emcees. (Sidebar: this reminded me 9th Wonder’s visit to Wake Forest where he also discussed the lesser known history of the origins of hip-hop). It would certainly be an interesting subject to have students research in the future!

Emotionally Intelligent Library Instruction, Or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love our Feels
Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam (UNC-G)

Kyle, Amanda, and Joy all attended this breakout session because we knew anything led by Jenny and Lynda would be good! Unless you have been under a rock for the last 17 years, you are probably very familiar with Daniel Goleman’s research regarding Emotional Intelligence which has been used in the business world since 1998. Goleman’s work inspired an avalanche of literature and presentations around the topic of Emotional Intelligence as it pertains to a wide variety of professions. One of these inspired works was written in 2005 by Alan Martiboys, Teaching with Emotional Intelligence: A Step-by-Step Guide for Higher and Further Educational Professionals. We have the 2011 2nd edition available as an ebook through our catalog, but I believe you can get the gist of what he is saying through the first link and that is the book I will cite.

Martiboys states that learning and emotion are intertwined; subject expertise is not enough for classroom success. In addition, we need teaching and learning methods as well as emotional intelligence (2). Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be learned, and Martiboys offers advice for making it part of the classroom experience. An EI teacher is: approachable, accepting, positive, a good listener, empathic, good at making eye contact, non-threatening, open, respectful, good at recognizing students, and not presumptuous (11). Instructors should plan their emotional environment which includes everything from how the classroom is set up to how you start your sessions. Martiboys stresses the importance of learning the names of students. Chapter four of his book focuses on the physical experience of learners. Martiboys says that we must plan the physical learning environment , including getting students up and moving in the classroom. While students do some movement in most of my classes, I plan to be more intentional about this starting in the fall. Another interesting section of this book is p.102-104 which talks about the concepts of “strokes” as a “unit recognition.” A stroke can be any acknowledgement that we give another, verbal or nonverbal, and we all need strokes to survive. As instructors, we are in good positions to offer positive strokes, and Martiboys encourages us to put energy into giving and accepting (not discounting) positive strokes.

How I learned to Love Evaluation and Not Care So Much about Assessment
Annie Zeidman-Karpinski (University of Oregon) and Dominque Tornbow (UC San Diego)

Annie and Dominque used the ABCD objective model to make the argument that one-shot sessions should focus on evaluation and not assessment. ABCD is an acronym for “Audience (Who are the learners?), Behavior (What do learners need to demonstrate to show they’ve achieved the outcome?), Condition (Under what conditions do learners need to perform the behavior?), and Degree (To what degree do learners need to perform the behavior?).” Instructors should be able to categorize learning outcomes within Kirkpatrick’s 4 Level Evaluation Model (Level 1 – Reaction; Level 2 – Learning, Level 3 – Behavior, Level 4 – Results). By this model, LIB100 courses are able to evaluate Level 3 (they are able to demonstrate appropriate search skills in class) and they are moving to Level 4 (where they will be able to apply those skills outside of LIB100). Here is a link to the slides used in this session.

In this session, they used several online survey tools (which I believe would have worked better if I had a device other than my iPhone):
Poll everywhere =
Revised Blooms Taxonomy Action Verbs
Kahoot =
padlet =


Overall, it was a really good day with a great group of people! Attendance at this Conference was limited to 75, so it was a wonderful place to connect with other instruction librarians (including Lauren Pressley!) and to hear what is happening in library classrooms in the Virginia/North Carolina/Maryland region.

LOEX 2015, April 30-May 2 in Denver, CO

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 10:39 am

Last week, Amanda Foster and I had the privilege of attending LOEX 2015 which was held this year in Denver, Colorado. This year, 390 instruction librarians from the United States, Canada, and Norway (yes, two librarians from Norway!) gathered to exchange ideas, commiserate, and re-energize. Our common bond was library instruction. As with past LOEX experiences, this was an extremely well executed event filled with outstanding plenary and breakout sessions. The entire conference took place in the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center located 10.5 miles from downtown Denver.

Thursday Evening Opening Reception

One of the best parts of LOEX is having the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people in the world. At the Friday night reception, I sat with the engineering librarian at the University of North Dakota who was an entomologist and worked for the USDA for many years, including a three year stint in Raleigh, NC (and this is just one small example of interesting people!). At the reception, I learned that LOEX is now a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization thanks to a behind-the-scenes successful rescue by a group of librarians who helped LOEX dodge being absorbed into Eastern Michigan University’s budget!

Friday Morning Plenary Session

The opening plenary session was one of the best I’ve heard. Anne-Marie Dietering from Oregon State University spoke on “Reflections on Reflection: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Meta.” Two years ago, I incorporated metacognition elements in my LIB100 sections and I was less than pleased with the experience. Anne-Marie never used the term “metacognition,” but instead used the term “metathinking,” which I really liked. You can read her entire speech, including the findings here (it includes the names of several books that we have in our library that helped shaped her five year journey with this topic). The punch line of her talk focused on Mary Helen Immordino-Yang‘s findings which connects “social emotion, cognition and culture.” It seems that through the 1980’s, scientists believed that thinking and emotion were separate, controlled by different parts of the brain. But it turns out that emotion is an essential part of higher-level thinking. New experiences receive “tags” that we put into our emotional knowledge banks that determine how we make decisions moving forward. Anne-Marie says that our world is comfortable with binary thinking (good/bad; guilty/innocent, scholarly/popular, novice/expert, etc.). She challenged us to stretch ourselves and our students to accept the uncomfortable spaces between the binaries. We are not good or bad, but in the middle and we must learn to deal with the complexities in between. She says that librarians are particularly equipped to navigate grey areas and that we should embrace our unique role. I personally loved this speech for several reasons. It helped me to understand what was wrong with my metacognition exercises that I used in my classes two years ago which were completely analytical, “What I learned” reflections. It also affirmed what happens naturally in my classes when most of the students let go of old research habits and embrace new search strategies and tools. We introduce them to the uncomfortable world of databases, the catalog, and Summon and the angst they experience is the sweet spot for knowledge. I was so inspired by this speech that I could have gone home after her presentation and declared LOEX 2015 a success!

I will very briefly discuss some of the other highlights of the conference:

Breakout: “Using Satirical News Sources to Promote Active Learning and Student Engagement” By Stephanie Alexander (California State University East Bay)

In this session, the presented showed three video clips and then asked us to use the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy and select the threshold concepts the clips addressed. The presenter shows the clips in one shot sessions. Amanda and I were both at this session and we agreed that the first two clips could not be used in our classes (both took jabs at conservatives: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Rand Paul’s Plagiarism Problem by Stephen Colbert). However, the last clip was John Oliver’s Commentary on the Sugar Industry had more potential. She showed an excerpt from the clip that quotes research from the sugar industry that says sugar does not cause obesity. This clip could be used to discuss the first concept, “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” where learners determine the credibility of sources and understand the elements that might temper their credibility.

Breakout: “Hacking the Framework: Using the Art and Science of Story to Address the Dispositions” By John Watts and Joshua Vossler.

I attended this session because I attended a LOEX preconference two years ago led by this pair and I thought it would be a fun session. It was entertaining, but I was disturbed by the story on which they hinged the presentation. Josh gave a very dramatic presentation about an English professor he had in graduate school who screamed at them for not using proper MLA format when they were given an introductory exercise in class and the answer was Moby Dick: Or, the Whale. After the class, I asked him which threshold concept this represented and he said it fell under, “Scholarly is a conversation,” and the disposition under that was, “systems privilege authorities and not having a fluency in the language and process of a discipline disempowers their ability to participate and engage.” I have thought about this a lot, and it is my sincere hope that this is not the meaning of this disposition. By the way, the Framework was a common thread throughout the conference, and it was clear that everyone is still trying to figure out what it means and how it will be used.

Roundtable Discussion: Assessment of Instruction

During lunch, I attended this roundtable discussion (with Susan Smith in mind), just to hear what others were doing. We will be a beta site for the new SAILs assessment tool starting this fall and I will be using it in my classes. I learned that the full version of SAILs requires a lot classroom time and that other institutions are using “Research Ready” and “Guide on the Side,” but no group seemed thrilled with their tools. I also learned that Megan Oakleaf is a consultant on this topic and she was given rave reviews by those in attendance.

Breakout: Teachers-turned-Librarians Share Tips for Improving Instruction

This session was filled with common sense tips for classroom management and effectiveness. Instructors should engage students, build rapport, and work to prevent distractions. When disruptions occur, subtlety is the key—focus on positives, keep your cool, ignore if possible, never reprimand in front of the class, discuss issues with students one-on-one. Up to 90% of how we communicate is with body language, so be self-aware! Stand still when you are giving directions, be aware of boundaries, use eye contact, be positive and upbeat, and be honest. Find ways to improve your instruction by using peer observation, practicing reflective teaching, co-teaching, and using mentors.

Breakout: Teaching Evaluation Can be a One Dish Meal by Heather Campbell at Brescia University College in Canada

I thought this was a particularly interesting breakout. Heather is the coordinator of instruction at her school, and she implemented a 360 degree style teaching evaluation to help strengthen the presentation/teaching skills of their teaching librarians. She shared copies of the feedback form as well as the rubric they developed. The purpose of the evaluation is to be supportive and helpful, and is not used for job evaluation.

I attended other sessions, but I have summarized what I thought was most interesting. It was a wonderful conference and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend!



NC-BIG Camp @ UNC-G 2014

Thursday, June 5, 2014 9:29 am

NC-BIG Camp had the coolest name tags ever! Designed by Kyle and printed by Craig Fansler.

On Friday, May 30 Hu, Amanda, Kyle, and Joy traveled to UNC-Greensboro to attend the second annual meeting of NC-BIG. NC-BIG is sponsored by the Bibliographic Instruction section of the North Carolina Library Association. Kyle was on the steering committee, and it was an extremely organized and well-planned unconference. The entire event consisted of three break-out sessions with four group choices in each session. Unlike NC-LITe, this was a larger group of librarians representing a variety of institution types such as high schools, community colleges, public libraries, special libraries (from the Research Triangle Park), and college and universities. Here are some of the breakout sessions we attended:

Presentation Tips and Tools(Joy)
The facilitator for this group was Amanda Glenn-Bradley who works at UNC-Asheville. I always enjoy learning about new presentation ideas and tools, and this session delivered both. I decided to try out Haiku Deck to demonstrate one of the free presentation tools I learned about. Here’s the presentation, and I think it looks great, but I had to switch it to Google Presentation to make it public (I could not get it to upload to Slideshare) and I was not able to include links to the tools. I thought the most helpful link shared was Sam Harlow’s Free Media Software LibGuide. I mentioned this link in my NC-LITe post, but her guides are simply amazing and include tools for MindMaps, Brainstorming, Screencasts, Presentations, Word Clouds, etc. We could use a ZSR LibGuide like this!!

Digital and Visual Literacies (Joy)
I think I have become a Sam Harlow groupie! Sam (the facilitator for this session) is the Media & Digital Resource Librarian at High Point University and she works with faculty to help them integrate digital resources into their curriculums. ACRL developed Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education in October 2011. Visual Literacy is defined as a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. The part I found most interesting in this session was Sam’s discussion of her Research Poster Creation instruction sessions. She even offers suggestions for developing and grading multimedia projects.

ACRL Information Literacy Framework (Amanda)
This breakout session was quite popular — everyone wants to talk about the framework! As we get further into summer break, I believe librarians have had more time to digest the recent drafts of the new framework. Since then, the discussions about the framework are only getting better and more thought-provoking. Several interesting ideas were discussed at NC-BIG Camp. One was using the new information literacy framework as a gateway to move away from information literacy as a one-shot library instruction session and into something that is integrated throughout the curriculum. I think this will be difficult for many libraries, especially those without lots of institutional/faculty buy-in and some wondered if it was necessary to get institutional buy-in for the new framework. Since not all the threshold concepts have been decided upon, we also made predictions on what threshold concepts may be coming down the pipe in upcoming drafts of the framework to be revealed around the time of ALA. I placed my bets on something that encompasses Information as Commodity* or Information Privilege so we will have to wait and see! (*This is not my idea, I’m basing my guess on possible threshold concepts presented in this article: Troublesome Concepts and Information Literacy: Investigating Threshold Concepts for IL Instruction).

Program Assessment (Amanda)
Joy and I led a breakout session on program assessment. Though we were “leading” the discussion, I think we both learned quite a lot about what some other institutions in the area are doing for program assessment. For example, we learned that Wake Tech is also participating in Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success and overhauled their information literacy assessment and wrote a 100 page (!!) QEP proposal for information literacy. They detailed the changes they made to their program assessment and the group discussed moving away from “user satisfaction” assessment to “did they learn” assessment. This theme was repeated later in a breakout session about Student Learning Outcome Assessment, where we discussed final product assessment.

Creative Outreach Programs(Hu)
Facilitating this session was the highlight of my day! First, it offered me the opportunity to introduce the session by talking about all the great outreach programs at ZSR this semester! After discussing the new ZSR Fellow position, and their role in planning and implementing these big events, I described the Dean’s List Gala, The Future of Higher Education Symposium “The Big Disruption: The Coming Transformation of Higher Education,” and the Connections and Conversations, an alumni weekend focused on well-being, I also mentioned the 5th Annual Senior Showcase , and ZSR’s Role in the Wake Will Capital Campaign.

This led to a discussion of creative outreach programs at other libraries. Here are some highlights from the session notes:

  • Durham Public Libraries have a new bookmobile and they are revamping that program. They also have a new library mascot, a moose the kids named, you can “check out” the moose and take it on vacation!
  • High Point University worked with a group of freshman leaders, from student government, to promote the library, host an event, and share the library’s page on social media. (This reminded me of our Library Ambassadors program!)
  • Meredith College has a sports equipment collection that circulates; student activities funds went toward it; students get to know them and come into the Library!
  • Campbell Student Government came to the library with a lunch, and Librarians talked to these students about their lives, the library, the chat service, all in an effort to better know their users.
  • Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson– Poster competition through an art class and a professor; online scavenger hunt

Libraries at commuter schools are a particular challenge. Creative outreach programs at these schools must reach students who spend a minimal amount of time on campus, increasing the need for opportunities to effectively engage these students online. We had a diverse group of libraries represented at this session, and it was inspiring to hear such a variety of creative outreach stories.

Gaming and Gamification (Kyle)
This session was all over the place, as people approached it with completely different ideas of what gaming in libraries means. I actually can’t believe we were able to talk about all of these things, but we did:

  • game lending programs
  • video game labs (such as that at UNCG)
  • gaming events in the library that serve the purpose of outreach (like our own HvZ and Capture the Flag, and other libraries that have hosted board game nights),
  • library instruction disguised as big games (such as the live-action CLUE game at UNC-CH that has students solving a murder mystery by combing through some pieces in their special collections)
  • “gamified” library instructional materials (such as the “Goblin Threat” plagiarism game)
  • “gamified” library instruction in general (which includes digital badging programs like Purdue’s Passport)

I was glad I went to this one! I went into it thinking we’d just talk about gamifying library instruction, but I learned so much from some of the folks there that are paying more attention to gaming in general.

Teaching with Technology (Kyle)
I facilitated this session, which was a lot of fun. We each got a chance to share some of our successes with using technology in the classroom, some failures we’ve learned from, some of our favorite instructional technology tools, and how we keep up with new developments in instructional technology. I wound up sharing a lot about ZSRx, which I didn’t expect to do, since NC-BIG is focused on classroom instruction. Nonetheless, people were eager to learn about what we’ve been doing with that platform, and I was able to share some of the tools I’ve been using to build those courses. Out of that discussion, I learned that Durham County Public Library is working with a contractor to offer more than 500 free online courses, which is kind of amazing.


NC-LITe at UNC-Charlotte May 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014 3:11 pm

Joy, Amanda, Kyle, and Kaeley

On Wednesday, May 28, Joy, Amanda, Kyle, and Kaeley traveled to UNC-Charlotte’s Atkins Library to attend the biannual meeting of NC-LITe. In order to keep from repeating ourselves, this post is combined into one. For those of you who need a refresher on the NC-LITe, this is a biannual “unconference” that brings together college librarians interested in discussing instructional technology uses and ideas. UNC-Charlotte’s librarians were amazing hosts and they provided muffins and coffee when we arrived and they also provided our lunches.

There were ten colleges and universities represented with a total of about 30 librarians in attendance. The day kicked off with introductions and updates from each campus represented. It is fascinating to hear how technologies are being used in classrooms, both face-to-face and online. If you have not checked out NCSU’s newest 3 minute videos, “Picking Your Topic IS Research,” “From Idea to Library,” and “Peer Review in 3 Minutes,” I suggest you take some time to look at them. Appalachian, UNC-Charlotte, and NCSU all reported that they are in the process of combining their service desks into one. NCSU and UNC-Charlotte are also in the process of creating Makerspaces in their libraries. NCSU also has a grant for purchasing ebooks as an alternative to printed textbooks. About an hour of our day was spent listening to the updates from the various campuses.

After the campus updates, we had breakout session to discuss topics such as “Creating Tutorials for Freshmen,” “Using Google Communities & Google Hangout in the Classroom,” and “Creating Makerspaces.” Joy went to the breakout session on Google Communities and Hangouts and in typical “unconference” style, it turns out that none of us had ever looked at Google Communities. We watched the video about it and then a lively discussion ensued that covered everything from speculation about how this tool could be used with book clubs to a tangential discussion of how Google Scholar continues to improve. It was interesting to note that all of the librarians in my group frequently directed students to Google Scholar (if you have not tried it out lately, you should). “Unconferences” are great fun because of the informal ideas that come up such as using Trello for project management work.

After the lunch, there was a round of lightning talks. NCSU talked about a new program that refer to in-house as the “Walk-in Wisdom” program. It builds on the idea of what Hu does with bringing the Library to the students by setting up a table in a dorm lobby and just hanging out. They came up with the idea of a “popup” service station within their library that offers the answer to a specific question. They chose three days in mid-November from 10:00-1:30 and 1:00-2:30 and they located the table in a high traffic area. They hand-drew beautifully designed signs on whiteboards (they only displayed one “offering” at a time): “How to become a Google Scholar Power User,” and “How to get books & articles from Across the Universe with Tripsaver.” Tripsaver is NCSU’s Interlibrary Loan service. It was a big hit and they plan to do it in the future. They attributed the success of the program to the novelty of it and a big bowl of candy also helped lure the students over.

Another interesting lightning talk was presented by Samantha Harlow at High Point University. Samantha is their Media & Digital Resource Librarian and she has made some very helpful LibGuides related to media topics such copyright & visual resources. I especially liked her guide that offers a list of where to go for open source/acceptable images for academic papers and projects. Her guides offer many how-to instruction videos that are also very helpful.

After the meeting, the UNC-Charlotte librarians offered a tour of their Library. It is an impressive space that includes 35 study rooms and some awesome technology like the whiteboard we are posing in front of in the picture at the top of this article.

NC-Lite is always a fun and informative experience, but perhaps its greatest strength comes from having the opportunity to get to know other librarians in our state with similar interests and experiences. If we get approval, we are hoping that ZSR will be hosting NC-LITe in December!!


Kaeley in front of coffeeshop.

Advertisement for printing from phones in the Atkins Library.

Joy at LOEX 2014 in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 3:19 pm

As Amanda said in her blog, LOEX was a wonderful experience this year! It is always energizing to be surrounded by instruction librarians, but it was twice as fun this year because Amanda was with me. This year’s LOEX Conference was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. What a great place for a conference! This historic hotel is located in the heart of Grand Rapids, within easy walking distance of numerous shops, bars, and museums including the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. We took an early flight to Grand Rapids and we spent the afternoon as tourists visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House as well as the Presidential and Art museums. It was a magical day where everything went right including our flights, the cab ride, and they even had a room ready for us at the hotel at 11:00 a.m.! That evening we attended the LOEX Hors d’oeuvres Reception where we met many wonderful librarians from across the United States and even bumped into Steve Cramer who provided some great tweets over the two day conference.

Since Amanda has reported on several sessions from the conference, I will try not to repeat what she said. Here are some of the sessions that I particularly enjoyed and found helpful:

Friday Morning Plenary Session – Terry Doyle

The conference kicked off with a great presentation by Terry Doyle who is a Professor of Reading at Ferris State University. The title of the presentation was, “The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain” (which also happens to be the title of a book he wrote that was published in 2013). Doyle’s expertise is neuroscience as it relates to teaching and learning, and for this session the focus was on creating the best conditions for student learning. He presents the idea that the burden of creating these conditions falls mostly on learners (if teachers could fix the problem alone, they would have fixed it years ago!). He started off by showing the Gardio Sarducci 5 Minute University video which is totally worth five minutes of your life if you would like to add some humor to your day. He laid the groundwork for his talk by stating that by 2018 57-67% of all jobs will require a four year college degree and that many of the future jobs do not currently exist. Students must learn how to learn. He dispelled a couple of theories such as the idea of right or left brain learners, and the idea of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. He stated that learning creates a change in the neurological patterns of the brain. It is the “ability to use information after significant periods of disuse and it is the ability to use the information to solve problems that arise in a context different (if only slightly) from the context in which the information was originally taught.”

He stated that “it is the one who does the work who does the learning.” He then proceeded to describe the conditions needed to learn. He talked about the importance of paying attention and how we do not have the ability to multitask. Multitasking interrupts learning and decreases mental resources. At this point, he focused on five things all learners need to be prepared for the learning experience: oxygen, hydration, diet, exercise, and sleep. Here are just a few of the things he said:

Physical activity is a reliable way to increase blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain.

  1. Water is essential for optimal brain health and function. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. Even mild levels of dehydration can impact school performance.
  2. Glucose is needed for fuel your brain and since neurons cannot store glucose, the bloodstream provides a constant supply. Glucose comes from carbohydrates you consume in the form of grains, legume, fruits, and vegetables. Too much sugar or refined carbohydrates can actually deprive your brain of glucose and deplete your brain’s power to concentrate, remember, and learn. Glucose enhances learning and memory. Recommended foods for healthy brain function include: blueberries, avocadoes, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, and wild salmon.
  3. In order for our brains to function optimally, we required regular physical activity. Research shows that movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to: strengthen learning, improve memory and retrieval, and enhance motivation and morale. I like this line, “regular exercise, even walking, leads to more robust mental abilities beginning in childhood and continuing into old age.” Exercise also erodes stress (stress disrupts the process by which the brain collects and stores memories).
  4. While we sleep, our brains flush out neurotoxins through the spinal column. Sleep also plays an important role in the formation of long term memories. The final two hours of sleep from 6-8 hours are crucial for memories to be laid down as stable residents in your brain. Your brain also prepares for learning during the “second half of the nights, so if you sleep six hours or less, you are shortchanging yourself and impeding your learning.” Sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. Sleep also helps us produce new and creative ideas. If a person is sleep deprived, even though they are fully awake, the neurons used for important mental tasks switch off. Doyle said that humans are supposed to nap daily and that 20-30 minutes is ideal. Resting after learning improves your chances of remembering (more Starbucks time?).

Terry Doyle has a website titled “The Learner Centered Classroom” filled with fascinating links such as “Helping Students Learn in a Learner Centered Environment,” and “The Learner-Centered Classroom.” I think LIB100 does a great job of helping students develop several of the essential skills he says they need including: Learning how to learn on their own, and taking more control of their own learning.

Sculpting the Mind, Shaping the Learner: Mindfulness Practices in the Classroom

My first breakout session segued perfectly with the plenary session, where Jill Luedke from Temple University and Deborah Ultan Boudewyns at the University of Minnesota introduced the idea of incorporating mindfulness practices in the classroom. Jill is a yoga instructor and Deborah practices yoga, and our session started with a two minute meditation exercise. They explained the benefits of mindfulness practices to foster more productive learning experiences with greater awareness, patience, and focus. I must say that these presenters completely had my attention when they talked about us creating a collective body to be more aware and present in the moment. They showed an image of the constellation Orion and they said that they encourage their students to find the brightest start for their research. They defined mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment.” They talked about loving kindness and bringing that to the classroom. These presenters are both art librarians and I found their presentation to be completely authentic and genuine. I have never taken a yoga class, but after this session, I’m ready to give it a try!

ACRL Information Literacy Framework (Roundtable Discussion)

Amanda did such a great job talking about this, that there is no need for me to say much about this discussion. I will reiterate the fact that the overall theme of this discussion seemed to fall under the category of uncertainty and perhaps skepticism. One of my personal goals for this summer is to spend some focused time on the Framework so that I can be up to speed with what is happening. I am hoping that Amanda, Kyle, and I will have the opportunity to lead some discussions about this with the Research and Instruction team. This is still a work in progress and a second draft is scheduled to be released in early June. The next draft will include even more threshold concepts and scenarios that will provide ideas for how to incorporate the concepts into instruction. In order to understand the differences in the documents, you can start by looking at the different definitions of information literacy:

Information literacy as defined by the 2000 Standards: Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” [Note: there is more, but this is the first line and summarizes the rest.]

Information literacy as defined by the 2014 Framework: Information literacy “combines a repertoire of abilities, practices, and dispositions focused on expanding one’s understanding of the information ecosystem, with the proficiencies of finding, using and analyzing information, scholarship, and data to answer questions, develop new ones, and create new knowledge, through ethical participation in communities of learning and scholarship.”

More to come in the future on the new Framework!

Unifying Ideas: Building For-Credit Information Literacy Courses Around Themes to Optimize Student Learning

In this break-out session, Elizabeth Price and Rebecca Richardson, both from Murray State University talked about their experiences teaching a one-credit course using themes. One of the instructors used the theme of “Digital Footprints” and then she had the students research the topics in light of their majors. For example, “How do privacy issues affect us psychologically (or sociologically)?” “What are the financial risks related to privacy breaches?” She touted the approach as helping students analyze sources for their usefulness. The other instructor used the theme “Is Google Evil?” which sounded very intriguing to me, especially since my husband just purchased a Chromebook this weekend!

Saturday Morning Plenary Session – Lee Van Orsdel

Lee Van Orsdel is the Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Her presentation was about the new $65 million main library on their campus which opened in the fall of 2013. She showed numerous pictures and explained the “social/student centered” approach. The layout and philosophy are very similar to the NC State’s Hunt Library‘s. Here are a few things that she said that stood out for me: there is no signage in the building; furniture is only moved by the staff at the beginning of the semester, the rest of the time students are free to rearrange furniture as they desire and they do this frequently with tables and chairs going up and down elevators; only students work at service desks; students do their “Peer Consultant Experience” consultations (the equivalent of our PRS’s); they track a lot of data about their consultations; and they provide quiet study rooms (the opposite from our stated purpose of study rooms). My impression is that it is a beautiful library, but I don’t think I’m ready to turn ZSR into a social-centered instead of an information-centered library.

Zombies, Pirates, and Law Students: Creating Comics for Your Academic Library

This presentation was a lot of fun and presented a range of ways that comics have been developed and used in academic libraries. Jennifer Poggiali at Lehman College and Matt Upson at Oklahoma State University both used artists to create original comics based on actual people in their libraries. Jennifer worked with her college’s art department and Matt hired a nontraditional student assistant who happened to be an artist. The part of the presentation that I got most excited about was Katy Kavanagh’s (East Carolina University) presentation on how she used ToonDoo to liven up their LibGuides. Evidently there are several options beside ToonDoo for creating comics, and maybe if I get some extra time this summer, I’ll explore some of them! Wouldn’t Hu Womack make a great super-hero librarian?! I I think this concept has a lot of potential.


Overall, LOEX was simply wonderful! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend this great conference.



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