Professional Development

In the 'ACRL' Category...

Amanda at Immersion 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016 4:36 pm

Lake Champlain, overlooking the Adirondacks

What is Immersion?

From July 24-29th I visited Burlington, Vermont to attend Immersion, a week-long, intensive training for librarians working on information literacy. Immersion was located on the campus of Champlain College. I attended the “Teacher Track,” which is ideal for early-career instruction librarians who are interested in strengthening their knowledge of instructional techniques and theory. Here were some of my key takeaways:

Transformative Learning

We began the week by considering information literacy through the perspective of “GeST Windows.” In this model, learning outcomes (as in, what we hope students learn) are seen as fitting into one of three categories:

  • Generic – skills-based (e.g. search strategies for library databases)
  • Situational – situated within an authentic social/cultural context (e.g. giving correct attribution for a Creative Commons image in a blog post), or
  • Transformative – transforms oneself or society (e.g. writing a social critique that challenges the status quo/questions assumptions)

These perspectives are hierarchical, and (I think) they can be in tension with one another. For those like myself, who have both the time and the desire to focus on the transformative, it’s still all too easy to default to teaching only “generic skills,” rather than engaging in the difficult work of teaching ideas that might be transformative for the student. However, generic skills are still essential, and I think it is important not to negate the very real benefits that “generic skills” can have for our students.

Williams Hall on University of Vermont's beautiful "University Row." I climbed up this four story(!) fire escape to catch a better glimpse of Lake Champlain. /brag

Williams Hall on University of Vermont’s beautiful “University Row.” I climbed up this four story(!) fire escape to catch a better glimpse of Lake Champlain. /brag

Learning to “Unlearn”

Perhaps my favorite “tidbit” of the week is the notion that a big part of learning is un-learning the things that we think we know. We began by learning about assumptions — particularly our own assumptions, which can be hard to uncover because often we don’t know that we are making them. We grouped assumptions into three types, based on Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher:

  • Causal Assumptions – an assumption about how something (like learning) works, and how to change it (e.g. making a mistake in front of students increases their trust in us). These are considered the easiest to uncover
  • Prescriptive Assumptions – an assumption about how we think something should be (e.g. What does a good teacher do?) These are often extensions of paradigmatic assumptions
  • Paradigmatic Assumptions – these are the hardest to identify, as to us they appear to be things that we know to be true, and deal with the way that we have ordered the world into fundamental categories (e.g. “adults are self-directed learners”)

So, we had a great activity in which we attempted to uncover our assumptions about our students (e.g. what do we “know” about our students vs. what we “think” we know). So, an assumption I’ve been known to have about Wake students is that they are generally well-prepared, academically speaking, for college. I’ve met a few students who have challenged that assumption, but it’s one that I know I hold and it directly relates to my classroom and instruction. Recognizing these assumptions, or having a critically reflective awareness of them, is important for furthering student-centered learning.

More of Lake Champlain at sunset, overlooking the Adirondacks

More of Lake Champlain at sunset, overlooking the Adirondacks

The Neoliberal Library Classroom

Immersion came at an interesting time. This summer, there has been a bit of controversy in the information literacy world over ACRL rescinding the Information Literacy Competency Standards in favor of the new Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education.

There have been a variety of different responses to this action, ranging from hurt to happiness to apathy. I like both documents, I find them both helpful, and I will continue to use both, but neither are the end-all-be-all for information literacy.

One of the smartest and more interesting responses I read was Emily Drabinski’s blog post What Standards Do and What They Don’t. It echoed many of Drabinski’s thoughts from Towards a Kairos of Library Instruction, which we discussed at Immersion. Essentially, both articles question our assumptions (there they are again!) about “standards” (and frameworks, for that matter) and what they do (e.g. create professional identity, allow us to bargain for resources) and don’t do (e.g. reveal “the truth” of information literacy, tell us how to teach/what to teach in our classrooms).

In the Kairos article in particular, Drabinski reminds us of what brought about our desire to create professional standards in the first place – an increasing notion that a liberal arts education be tied directly to employment/job-preparedness. Because of this, the “about-ness” of information literacy became defined by a set of skills meant to help students in the workforce. Drabinski reminds us that the focus of instruction should be, “on the particular students in a particular classroom with a particular set of learning experiences and needs” not defined by a list of frames or standards.

I think these ideas have been particularly revelatory (and dare I say, transformative) for me and my instructional practice. I’m super pumped to consider all of these ideas as I continue to revise LIB100 moving forward.

Obligatory Food Photo from Sherpa's Kitchen. This was my first experience with Nepalese cuisine.

Obligatory Food Photo from Sherpa’s Kitchen. This was my first experience with Nepalese cuisine.

Learning Outcomes, Peer Observation, Assessment, Oh, my!

We also spent a lot of time on the bread and butter of good instructional practice — learning outcomes, assessment, incorporating technology, peer observation. I can’t claim to be an expert in any of these areas, but I’m happy to share what I learned.

I will say Immersion served as a nice reminder to not backslide into poor instructional habits (“Lesson plan? I’ve taught this lesson over 30 times! I know what I’m doing!”). See those assumptions? It definitely inspired me to write learning outcomes for each and every lesson this semester, especially since I’m making a pretty big change by having my students create Wikipedia articles. So, thank you Immersion!

Everything Else

Burlington, Vermont was a neat town. The weather was amazing. The town was very walk-able and you can see Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from just about anywhere. There’s also a lot of beer and ice cream, so, what else do you need to hear, really?

I could talk about Immersion for days. And I did, apparently. If you made it this far, I owe you a Heady Topper! (If it can be found!)

My dorm (yes, this beautiful home is a dorm!)

My dorm (yes, this beautiful home is a dorm!)

Sarah at the APALA 35th Anniversary Symposium & ALA Annual

Monday, July 20, 2015 11:45 am

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) celebrated its 35th anniversary with a daylong Symposium on June 25th at the University of San Francisco. ALA President Courtney Young and President-Elect Sari Feldman opened the Symposium. The keynote speaker was Valerie Kaur, civil rights lawyer and documentary filmmaker. The theme of the Symposium was “Building Bridges: Connecting Communities through Librarianship & Advocacy”. Over 100 librarians, presenters, community activists, and writers/artists/filmmakers came together to celebrate this milestone.

My term as Secretary of the APALA Executive Board ended at ALA Annual. I became well-versed in parliamentary procedures through monthly virtual Executive Board meetings, and I gave an overview of Robert’s Rules of Order for incoming Executive Board members at ALA Annual. I also served as Co-Chair of the Archives and Handbook Task Force and co-authored the APALA Operational Manual, which was approved by the Executive Board in June 2015.

It will provide a reference for the Executive Board officers and committee chairs on committee procedures and timelines as well as provide a better understanding of the organization for succession planning.

I have been a member of the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee for 3 years, and we met on Saturday morning. I am continuing to monitor the STS listserv for announcements of upcoming conferences, including science librarian boot camps, and uploading the conference links to the CE Professional Development webpage. The Continuing Education Committee also co-hosts the STS Membership Breakfast, which I helped organize. We had a great turnout, and here are a couple resources that were shared at the breakfast:

http://insidescienceresources.wordpress.com

http://iue.libguides.com/STS-informationliteracyresources

I also learned about a new-to-me teaching methodology called the Cephalonian Method, which was used in the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group with pre-canned questions on color-coded cards for the audience. The Cephalonian Method was created by two UK librarians to increase participation in the middle of class. I’m planning to use the Cephalonian Method in my library instruction and LIB220 Science Research Sources and Strategies course.

 

MB’s March Conference travels (or From Abu Dhabi to Portland in 78 hours) in pictures and words

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 1:16 pm

Mary Scanlon, Mary Krautter (from UNCG) and I had the astute pleasure of presenting at the 21st Annual Conference and Exhibition of Special Library Association Arabian Gulf Chapter. The three of us did both a workshop on Developing an Entrepreneurial Culture in Libraries, and a presentation on Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Transforming Library Services. We were approached last July by email in what, I admit, I initially thought of just trashing because it was just so extraordinary to get an email from a representative of this conference across the world asking us to do them the honor of presenting at their conference. But after doing our due diligence, we began to prepare for this amazing opportunity. The representative who invited us, Mohamed Mubarak, was a most gracious host, and was anxious that everything be perfect for our presentation and our stay.

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

The workshop, held on Monday, March 16, was a pre-conference session attended by just 6 people. However, the small size allowed for a great deal of engagement and conversation. They were very interested in our presentation. All of the attendees were from special libraries, and interestingly, all of them did work related to tourism, either from post secondary schools that had programs that emphasized in tourism and hospitality, or from the government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. (We did note repeatedly that they take their hospitality very seriously in the United Arab Emirates.) While we carefully constructed our message owing to what we perceived as a more restrictive environment, we were delighted to learn that great strides had been made to increase transparency across the UAE. Their’s is a model that will go through growing pains for awhile, but there were definite signs of a relaxing of the rules to allow more entrepreneurial ideas and methodologies to take root.

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

The next morning, at the opening keynote, the themes of the conference became apparent as Dr. Essa AlBastaki, the President of Dubai University spoke about the need for expanding the economy beyond one that hinges entirely on the availability of oil. He mentioned the value of entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting it several times in his speech. We listened to this, (and other keynote speeches) through a simultaneous translator. This was also an interesting experience, and was again indicative of the hospitality extended to non-Arabic speakers. They were well prepared and willing to do whatever was necessary to make us feel welcome.

Our presentation was the afternoon of the first day. The session started a little late (we learned of what we termed the “elasticity of time” in the UAE) but the session was well attended and again they expressed a great deal of interest on advancing entrepreneurship in their libraries. Many people after the presentation came up to gather business cards and the questions posed in the Q&A indicated a deep understanding of the content. It was thrilling!

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial  Librarianship

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial Librarianship

Other presentations I attended included one with Rick Anderson from Utah University on e-books and the challenges of PDA models for ebook acquisition, and Lisa Hinchcliffe, from the University of Illinois on assessing the impact of information literacy education. I also caught up with former colleague Vanessa Middleton, who now works in Abu Dhabi in the Petroleum Institute, and she presented on how to develop better relationships between libraries and vendors.

Mary Beth and Vanessa Middleton

 

So aside from the occasional use of a translator, the issues in libraries are much the same the world over. That, I think, is the best takeaway of all.

Interested staff members from ZSR will be able to see many more photos (including non-conference photos) at a staff development session coming soon.

After a very brief turn around time, (arriving home Saturday morning at 3am and then leaving for the airport on Tuesday morning at 9am) I went to nearly the opposite side of the globe to attend ACRL in Portland, OR. The time difference between Abu Dhabi and Portland is 11 hours, so it is very nearly the opposite side of the world and the opposite side of the clock. (I can’t tell you how important coffee is to one’s body in this situation.) I attended the Ithaka S+R session that Roz already ably blogged about. I also was in the very enlightening and, frankly, inspiring session on Wellness and how libraries can impact wellness on campus that Susan wrote about.

I went to a session with three different library perspectives on emergency planning where I picked up this gem which unites my desire for simple signage, humor, and emergency planning.

In Case of Fire, Exit Building Before Tweeting About It

 

I attended two other sessions that were all about ebooks and their influence on researchers. One, entitled “STEM Users Prefer Ebooks. . . Or Do they?” provided a qualitative and quantitative study conducted at a large academic library which challenged the assumption that ebooks are welcomed, or at least not held in disdain, by the hard Sciences and Math researchers. Their assessment was very thorough and raised a lot of questions, not the least of which is that more assessment is needed. I had a meet up with the other “Assessment in Action” project coordinators who were at various stages of completing the research leg of their 18 month long assessment. Our final presentations are due at ALA in San Francisco. That is when I will be blogging next.

It was quite the whirlwind, (21 days of travel total) but now I’m glad to be back on Eastern time and home for a while. While I wouldn’t recommend it, neither would I give up the opportunity to do it again if the opportunity presented itself!

 

 

 

 

Carol’s View of ACRL

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 12:02 pm

A building at Portland State University

 

As a collections person, I found this conference rather thin on relevant programming, especially since I knew that Roz/Kyle/Kaeley would cover all the instruction angles. That said, the program committee did a good job of spreading the collections-focused sessions among the time slots so I had at least one relevant choice almost every time. I also took advantage of the chance to attend the occasional session outside of my niche, e.g., one on “Complexity and Contradiction in Green Architecture.”

Two presentations were respectively a denunciation and an apologia for DDA. Maybe when the virtual conference comes out I’ll watch them back-to-back and think of them as a debate. I tended to side with the DDA apologist. This fits my natural inclination, but she also used a CC-licensed photo from the ZSR Library Flickr photostream! Her point when showing this picture was that DDA would make libraries’ general collections more alike. Therefore, libraries will distinguish themselves by their special collections.

Miscellaneous Gleanings

On IPEDS statistical craziness: Mount Holyoke has over 600K e-books per ACRL’s definition and only 86 per IPEDS. (For painful detail, see this LibGuide and if you really want to go down the rabbit hole, follow the link to “Questions and Answers from IPEDS.”)

On Collection Development policies: A speaker expressed – with evident dismay – that 44% of ARLs don’t have a collection development policy.

DPLA can virtually reunite physically split collections. They cited a penmanship collection that is physically split between NYPL and the U. of Scranton.

The architecture speaker had learned in school that an optimal design moves water away from the building as quickly as possible. In the emerging green architecture ethos, you want the water to trickle down slowly and get filtered by plants along the way.

Bob Holley on self-published books. He named several categories where the library may want to acquire these works. For instance, local history, fringe perspectives (he cited anti-vaxxers as one example) and personal memoirs that are effectively primary sources.

The rest of this is about e-books

I attended a roundtable discussion on e-books. Nothing too groundbreaking, more like a group therapy session. It’s valuable to know that the challenges we face are also faced by others. NASIG got a name-check as an advocacy group for more library- and user-friendly e-books.

One speaker noted that 6 out of 7 students in a qualitative usability study had a stated preference for print. The speaker said that today’s college students got their early training and developed study habits in a print-centered environment. The preferences of college students may eventually change if K-12 education moves more toward e-books.

Sometimes students use print and e-formats of the same book in tandem. For instance, they may start with the e-book and move over to print for deep reading. Another university found that students used e-books for dip in, dip out reading to support writing papers. (At another conference, the researchers found the dip in, dip out behavior in print books as well.)

Images in e-books are sometimes missing due to permissions issues, so print is a more strongly preferred format for disciplines such as Art History, Theater and Architecture.

Over time, students got more selective about how much they print from e-books. For usability interviews, being guided around e-books made the participants more receptive of the format.

Look at usage of e-book titles that are deleted from the subscription and DDA programs. If there’s anything high use, we may want to buy a copy some other way. I already plan to apply this idea, although I’ll need to keep opportunity costs in mind. (This project may take a lot of time and yield just a few purchases, especially if the deletes are superseded editions.) These presenters found that deleted books had less use, on average, than the overall pool.

 

ACRL 2015 Portland – Susan’s Report

Thursday, April 2, 2015 12:24 pm

Waterfront Park View of the Convention Center

View of the twin spires of the Oregon Convention Center
from Waterfront Park, across the Williamette River

Selecting Portland as the site for ACRL 2015 seems to have been a wise choice. There was a record attendance (registrations) of nearly 3400. I think it was a combination of Portland attracting first-time visitors (like me) and the rich programming offered (over 330 sessions). For me, Portland was a perfect conference city. It has a unique personality coupled with excellent public transportation, good food AND it is most bicycle friendly! I arrived in town in time to jump on the light rail at the airport, and jump off (suitcase in hand) at the conference center in time for the opening keynote and exhibit hall opening reception. The keynote speaker was G. Willow Wilson, creator of the Ms. Marvel comic series starring a Muslim superhero named Kamala Khan. Having been raised in a household where comic books were not allowed (a story for another day), I am not a comic book aficionado and was not familiar with her work. So I really enjoyed hearing how the series came about and how it is now so well received that the character is going to be an Avenger! She also spoke about her multicultural background and the importance of listening to the narratives of native populations that are not the ones most of us learned in school.

I attended the Thursday vendor-sponsored breakfast where Bill Badke spoke (See Roz’s report for more information). Most of his talk was a self-proclaimed rant with these three themes – 1. Too much data, not enough metadata (the Web is anarchy under the control of a cheap dog, the search engine), 2. Epistemology – Students lack understanding about where information comes from, and 3. Students are challenged to articulate their information need. His recommendation for librarians – don’t fade away, seize the day!

People often think of ACRL as more useful for those librarians involved with instruction and reference. However, I was able to find a broad range of topics so I was able to attend concurrent sessions on data sharing/stewardship, well-being, instruction collaboration between research & instruction and special collections, and weeding (our own Carol Cramer). I particularly enjoyed a presentation by our former colleague Elisabeth Leonard (Executive Market Research Manager, SAGE) about research she conducted on students and their use of videos in higher education. Her white paper provides the details of the research findings. As you might imagine, there were too many choices during each time-slot, but one nice side benefit of attending is that registrants can access the ACRL Virtual Conference content and every contributed paper, invited paper, panel session, and TechConnect presentation offered at ACRL 2015 (which were recorded) for the next year.

This year was the 75th anniversary of ACRL and this was celebrated in a number of ways. Most impressive were the scores (it seemed) of cakes that placed throughout the exhibit hall on Thursday afternoon. On a more serious note, I attended an invited panel session by the authors of the ACRL 75th anniversary publication New Roles for the Road Ahead. Stephen Bell, Lorcan Demsey and Barbara Fister each led a discussion on their particular assignments in the report (Bell -higher ed, Dempsey – technology, Fister – information literacy).

Often the closing keynote is underwhelming because people start to leave to catch flights home and sometimes this results in a waning level of energy for the speaker. I was curious if this would be the case for no other reason than the choices for getting home were to leave first thing Saturday morning or late Saturday evening on the red eye. However, ACRL offered up Lawrence Lessig as the closing speaker, so it became a no-brainer for me to book the red eye home! And that seemed to be the consensus of most of the conference attendees because the room was full. He discussed three projects that he said are really one idea – the value of equality. His current project is Corruption in America. He described what is happening in America’s elections is Tweedism (Boss Tweed was a politician who said “I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”). Lessig explained how the funding bias present in the US primary selection results in a lack of democratic process. (TED Talk by Lessig). The second project he discussed was net neutrality and how recent rulings as the Internet as a utility will preserve equality. The third project was Open Access. He talked movingly about Aaron Swartz (developed RSS and Creative Commons and committed suicide at age 26 after he was prosecuted for downloading JSTOR articles and making them freely accessible). Swartz’s viewpoint on copyright was that current use of it doesn’t serve its purpose. It restricts access to knowledge elites, and the rest of the world is not included. He wanted equal access to knowledge. Withholding that knowledge makes it impossible for most to build on that knowledge to create new knowledge.

One last tidbit about Portland and the conference. I discovered that in Portland, food trucks are a big deal, there are over 500 of them scattered throughout the city. So the main lunch venue provided to all the ACRL attendees was a parking lot lined with food trucks. You all know how librarians are at meal time, and the picture below shows the long lines where everyone patiently queued to wait for their favorite cuisine.

Crowded at the Lunch Trucks

ACRL Librarians at Food Truck City

Roz @ ACRL 2015 in Portland

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 10:53 am

First of all, Portland is AWESOME. Great food, drinks (read local beers) and Powell’s City of Books where I literally could have spent a week and never been bored – my to-read list doubled. I love ACRL as a conference – it is such a great break from ALAs where I am bogged down in committee/section work and where the sessions are so extensive that they are overwhelming. This conference is always full of people to get great ideas from and a high percentage of relevant sessions to attend.

I will try to summarize my ACRL in Portland by hitting the main takeaways I got. If anyone wants more information on any of these sessions I have copious notes. I do like to do themes and at this ACRL I really took away ideas around two themes:

  • Listening to users
  • Going beyond the library

Listening to Our Users

Mary Beth and I started our conference even before the conference started with a Wednesday pre-conference talk by IThaka S+R about their faculty survey of research practices. They do this survey of faculty across the world every three years and are about to launch their next one in fall 2015. But any institution that wants to do a local version of their faculty can do that (for a fee, of course) and get back their results and benchmarks against the national survey results. The survey consists of the Core National Questionnaire which includes questions on:

  • Discovery and access
  • Scholarly communications
  • Research practices including data curation
  • Student research skills
  • Role of the library

Then schools can add additional optional modules – up to three

  • Digital research activities
  • Undergraduate instruction
  • Graduate instruction
  • Online learning and MOOCs
  • Library space planning
  • Library market research
  • Servicing clinicians & health scientists

MB and I found this idea very appealing as it could provide us much needed data on what our faculty do in their research and how they use our resources. We and will be discussing with the Assessment committee.

Known item searching in Summon, Google, Google Scholar (contributed paper)

Known item searching is still a problem with discovery tools – so many unexpected results frustrate users who are just trying to find that one thing. This study used Summon search logs for a semester – 35% of the searches were for known items — looked at 278 searches that they then re-executed the searches in all three search tools – Summon, Google and Google Scholar.

  • Google won over Google Scholar and Summon
  • Summon had 76% relevant results while 24% were partially relevant or not relevant
  • Worst performing searches in Summon
    • Partial citation searching – title & author for example
    • Only 6% used quotes but those who did returned relevant results
    • Formatted citation searches were also bad where they just pasted a whole citation in the search box
  • Need to teach them to be better searchers – explaining the why
  • Stop complaining about lazy search habits – empathize and instruct
  • Take away: The search logs in Summon can give excellent insights into how our users area actually using the service and can inform how we teach students to use it

How Students Really Search (Contributed paper)

This study recorded one hour research sessions of actual students (11) doing actual research for a paper. They used software to record what the students did. Here’s what they learned:

  • Students have different definitions of the ‘one search’ box (discovery search box on library home page)
  • Students don’t know what to do with keywords even when they have been taught
  • Only using limits in the search results to do language and full-text limiting
  • Don’t use quotes appropriately
  • Don’t understand the link resolver ‘get it at….’ (ours is WFU Full Text Options) –They think they have to come into library.
  • When something (a link resolver link, or a database link) breaks one time they think it breaks all the time. They give up.
  • Would not pursue an article even if it sounds good – they don’t have time
  • “Shocking secrets of the student researcher” – presentation to faculty – showed them the videos – that finally made the faculty understand that they need to teach this more
  • changed text of the link “get it online or in print” – will see how that works
  • Abstract without article they think of as bait and switch – have to explain how for faculty that is good information
  • Take away: Students (and I suspect faculty, too) are busy and unforgiving – we need things to work right a high percentage of the time if we hope to keep them using our resources. Teaching them quick easy ways to be better searchers can help with that.

 

How Do Students Use Video in Higher Education

So this was actually a vendor presentation given by former ZSR librarian Elisabeth Leonard who is now head of market research for Sage/CQ Press. She has been traveling around the last year talking to students and faculty about how they use video in their teaching and their research in an effort to help Sage as they start to produce video-based products. She has written two white papers, one on student use of video and one on faculty use of video. This presentation was on the student side of things. I will link to it below but the big takeaways from her presentation were

  • Students tend to use video in small chunks (3-10 minutes at a time)
  • Students are often looking for videos that help them understand concepts in a better/different way.
  • Students really appreciate engaging speakers and data visualizations.
  • Students don’t necessarily think of the library as a source of video content unless the faculty point them to our resources.

http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/press/2015/mar/16.htm

Going Beyond the Library

Bill Badke Talk

One of the breakfast sessions I attended was to hear Bill Badke speak. Those who have been around Information literacy discussion know Bill’s name – he’s been around for a long time and is the author of Research Strategies – one of the primary textbooks on doing research, now in it’s 5th edition. His talk was full of great insights like “the web is anarchy being watched by a poorly-schooled sheepdog called the database” and “we need to make sure that students understand that expertise and experience mean something when looking at authority – loud voices are not necessarily accurate ones.” He talked a lot about how a new kind of dark age is coming – not because of the dearth of information but due to an overabundance of information and we don’t know what to do with it. He noted that the belief that technology will solve the information literacy gaps in students is unfounded. And he challenged us to work more with faculty to increase students’ research skills. We can up the game of librarians and of faculty – our major focus needs to be on working with students to develop them as researchers.

  • Build more support relationships with faculty – alerts, citations, copyright
  • Offer to do workshops with faculty on how they can help students do better research
  • Make the library prominent with students in the CMS
  • Talk to your faculty about what their goals are for student research. “what does an ideal student paper look like?”
  • A professors good lies in their ‘expertise’ – working with wisdom through a problem
  • Have to enable faculty to guide their own students – move info lit into the academy – right into the foundations of the institution

We’ve Only Just Begun: Determining the value of information literacy in the first year. This was a series of papers from groups that had all been a part of the Assessment in Action first cohort. They all looked at assessing info lit instruction in first-year programs. They papers were all of different scenarios so I’ll just list some of the big take-aways across them all.

  • Librarians need to help train faculty to talk about information literacy with their students.
  • If students are made aware that these skills are being taught – they attend to them
  • Most IL learning happens in classes that had multiple meetings with the library but a one-shot is better than none at all – it is not necessary to be in every class meeting – there is a point after which you don’t necessarily get a better return on investment with librarian involvement
  • Students doing research generally are looking for quotes to plug into already composed papers
  • Students are uncertain about the best time to ask a librarian for help
  • ILI models that are recursive show increase in student learning
  • How can we assess and measure what we consider most valuable – lifelong learning, an informed citizenry, social responsibility?

 

Sarah at ALA Annual 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014 1:30 pm

I had a busy year on the Executive Board of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), which is a non-profit affiliate of ALA. I organized two APALA events in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference including a fundraising event with a tour of Zappos corporate headquarters and the community-focused Downtown Project. Over 30 people attended including Hu Womack, who wrote a great summary! I also organized the venue for the Asian/Pacific American Literature Awards Banquet, which had over 50 attendees. The 2013-2014 APALA Literature Award recipients are the following:

Picture Book Winner: Ji-li Jiang. Red Kite, Blue Kite. Disney/Hyperion.

Picture Book Honor: Marissa Moss. Barbed Wire Baseball, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. Abrams.

Children’s Literature Winner: Cynthia Kadohata. The Thing About Luck. Atheneum Books.

Children’s Literature Honor: Josanne La Valley. The Vine Basket. Clarion Books.

Young Adult Literature: Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani. Jet Black and the Ninja Wind. Tuttle Publishing.

Young Adult Literature Honor: Suzanne Kamata. Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible. GemmaMedia.

Adult Fiction Winner: Ruth Ozeki. A Tale for the Time Being. Viking.

Adult Fiction Honor: Jennifer Cody Epstein. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. W. W. Norton.

Adult Non-Fiction Winner: Cindy I-Fen Cheng. Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War. New York University Press.

Adult Non-Fiction Honor Book: Cecilia M. Tsu. Garden of the World: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California’s Santa Clara Valley. Oxford University Press.

I’ve also been active in the ACRL Science & Technology Section since 2004, and was reappointed to the STS Continuing Education Committee for another 2-year term. This committee coordinates the STS Mentoring Program, and I manage the Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science Librarians. The best science program that I attended was hosted by the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group, and I shared about my work in bioinformatics. I received encouragement from my fellow STS colleagues about my efforts in the bioinformatics area. I’m also grateful to an STS colleague who encouraged me to become a conference organizer of the first Science Boot Camp Southeast, which is next week!

Sarah at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia

Monday, February 3, 2014 4:56 pm

Throughout last fall, I participated in monthly virtual Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Executive Board meetings, and it was great to see the planned events come to fruition at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia. I spent Friday afternoon at the Asian Arts Initiative, where I heard talks on the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) by Samip Mallick and about Philadelphia’s Asian American community by Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and Mary Yee of Asian Americans United. We had a great turnout and enjoyed a catered lunch from Philadelphia Chutney Company.

On Friday evening, I attended the APALA Executive Board meeting at the convention center, where I provided the APALA Mentoring Committee Report. Early Saturday morning, I participated in the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee meeting. I am responsible for maintaining the Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science & Technology Librarians. On Saturday afternoon, I attended the APALA All Committees meeting and discussed plans of the Local Arrangements Task Force for the upcoming ALA Annual Conference.

On Saturday evening, I went to Karma Restaurant for the APALA Midwinter Dinner and listened to an excellent talk by authors Ellen Oh (The Prophecy Series, originally The Dragon King Chronicles), Soman Chainani (New York Times bestseller The School for Good and Evil) and publisher Phoebe Yeh of Crown Books for Young Readers.

Although my ALA Midwinter was busy with APALA and ACRL STS meetings, it was great to catch up with colleagues and meet new people, as well.

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force Webinar

Monday, November 4, 2013 2:52 pm

this afternoon several ZSR library faculty gathered to listen to the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force Webinar. Below are my notes taken during the session and my own thoughts about it all at the end. The presenters were Craig Gibson and Trudi Jacobson, Co-Chairs of the Task Force. The forums (today’s was the 3rd) have all been recorded and the links are available online. I encourage anyone who is interested to watch one.

Background:

The original Information Literacy Competency Standards were approved in January 2000.

They were a seminal document for higher education, not just academic librarians. Since 2000 they have been used by numerous institutions in defining general education requirements, by accrediting agencies, and many disciplinary versions have been created including ones for Science and Technology, Political Science, and more.

Why changes are needed:

There was a review task force that looked at the standards and recommended that they needed extensive revision because the current standards don’t:

  • address the globalized info environment.

  • recognize students as content creators.

  • address ongoing challenges with a multi-faceted, multi-format environments.

  • sufficiently address the need to position information literacy as a set of concepts and practices integral to all disciplines

  • address student understanding of the knowledge creation process as a collaborative endeavor.

  • emphasize the need for metacognitive and dispositional dimensions of learning

  • position student learning as a cumulative recursive developmental endeavor

  • address scholarly communication, publishing or knowledge of data sources

  • recognize the need for data curation abilities

 

The committee has said the new standards must:

  • be simplified as a readily understood model for greater adoption by audiences both disciplinary and collegiate outside of ALA

  • be articulated in readily comprehensible terms that do not include library jargon

  • include affective, emotional learning outcomes, in addition to the exclusively cognitive focus of the current standards

  • acknowledge complementary literacies

  • move beyond implicit focus on format

  • address the role of the student as content creator

  • address the role of the student as content curator

  • provide continuity with the AASL standards

 

The new model will:

  • provide a holistic framework to information literacy for the higher education community

  • acknowledge that abilities, knowledge, and motivation surrounding information literacy are critical for college students, indeed for everyone, in today’s decentralized info environment

 

Threshold Concepts

The new model will be built on the idea of ‘threshold concepts’ – core ideas and processes in any discipline that define the discipline but that are so ingrained they often go unspoken or unrecognized by practitioner. Threshold concepts are thus central concepts that we want our students to understand and put into practice that encourage them to think and act like practitioners themselves. (definition from the Townsend article below). Two of the articles on this are:

Townsend, Lori, Korey Brunetti, and Amy R. Hofer. “Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 11.3 (2011): 853-869. Project MUSE. Web. 16 July 2013.

Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising Within the Disciplines.” Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice – 10 Years On: Proceedings of the 2002 10th International Symposium Improving Student Learning. Ed. Chris Rust. Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff & Learning Development, 2003. Google Scholar. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.

Meyer and Land propose five definitional criteria for threshold concepts

  • transformative – cause the learner to experience a shift in perspective

  • integrative – bring together separate concepts into a unified whole

  • irreversible – once grasped, cannot be un-grasped

  • bounded – may help define the boundaries of a particular discipline, are perhaps unique to the discipline

  • troublesome – usually difficult or counterintuitive ideas that can cause students to hit a roadblock in their learning.

Metaliteracy

Also included in the new framework is the idea of metaliteracy. Metaliteracy builds on decades of information literacy theory and practice while recognizing the knowledge required for an expansive and interactive information environment. Today’s lifelong learners communicate create and share info using a range of emerging technologies.

Four domains of Metaliteracy Learning

  • Behavioral – what students should be able to do

  • Cognitive – what students should know

  • Affective – changes in learners emotions or attitudes

  • Metacognitive – what learners think about their own thinking

The draft will include lists of Threshold concepts (i.e. ‘Scholarship is a conversation’) and for each of these concepts, there will be dispositions (how students will feel about the concept) and knowledge practices (similar to learning objectives). There will also be lists of possible assignments that would allow students to master the concept.

Next steps – Timeline

  • December 1 – draft document released (may be later in December)

  • Mid-december – online hearing

  • Mid- january online hearing

  • In-person hearing at ALA Midwinter

  • Feb 7 comments on draft due

  • June – final report to ACRL Board (target date)

Discussion:

Not surprisingly there were lots of questions and comments in the webinar chat area and on Twitter (#ACRLILRevisions). Some question basing the whole new framework on the idea of threshold concepts and metaliteracy where there have not been many studies done on how appropriate these are for IL or other instruction. Others wondered if this would mean a new definition of information literacy. Lots of questions about how this framework would be implemented at 2-year schools or in places that had based significant things (like accreditation, gen ed requirements, etc.) on the old list of standards. Some worried that the concrete standards were being replaced by a more intangible ‘framework’ that would need to be defined by each institution.

My impressions:

There are a lot of unknowns at this point. Until we see the proposed list of threshold concepts it’s hard to say if the task force is hitting the mark. What I do think, however, is that a framework is much more flexible and has the potential to be more applicable across disciplines than the current list of standards. I understand the unease felt by those who have hung major initiatives at their institutions on the existing standards as they will have a lot of work to do. For us, we will need to look at our curricula for LIB100/200 and adjust as needed. Some of the things I liked most about what I heard were the moving away from the format-based focus and the recognition that we can’t just focus on skills anymore. There is a need to make our students more aware of the process of information generation and their place in that process because that is the first step in making them critical consumers and conscientious creators (and curators) of information. If what we teach them is really going to be transferrable to other classes and real-life situations, we need to make sure it is learned more holistically. I also think this framework will provide an increased space for discussion with faculty across disciplines and could give us some new inroads to helping faculty design assignments and work library instruction into their classes more effectively. More soon – I am sure this is not the last we will hear about this process.

Sarah at ALA Annual 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:52 pm

ALA Annual in Chicago was great this year, and I attended multiple programs sponsored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the Association of College & Research Libraries Science & Technology Section (ACRL STS). APALA is an affiliate of ALA, and I met some of my fellow Executive Board members when I volunteered at the Association Options Fair as incoming Board Member-at-Large.

One of the best sessions that I attended was the annual Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Ceremony sponsored by APALA.

This year, the APALA President’s Program was co-sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) on “Pushing the Boundaries: LGBTQ Presentation and Representation of/by Asian/Pacific American Writers.” The panel was moderated by Mary Anne Mohanraj and included authors Malinda Lo, Dwight Okita, and MOONROOT zine collective members Sine Hwang Jensen and Linda Nguyen.

One of the highlights of ALA was attending the APALA Social at the Oak Park home of writer Mary Anne Mohanraj. Dr. Mohanraj is Professor of Fiction and Literature at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I enjoyed Sri Lankan cuisine and networking with other APALA members.

I am a member of the ACRL STS Continuing Education Committee, and over the last year I led the update of the STS Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science & Technology Librarians.

Monday morning, I attended a program co-sponsored by ACRL STS and the Health Sciences Interest Group (HSIG) on “There’s an App for That: The Use of Mobile Devices, Apps and Resources for Health and Sci-Tech Librarians and Their Users.” The takeaway from the presentation is to start with learning outcomes and then think about which apps and technology to support the learning outcomes in instruction. Other related issues with using mobile apps in instruction are cost, device, function and usability, security and privacy, support, reliability, and access. I brought up the point that it would be a good idea to do a pre-course clicker survey to assess how many students have an iPhone, Android smartphone or neither.

Resources and further reading:

National Library of Medicine Gallery of Mobile Apps

MIT Libraries’ Apps for Academics

tabletsinlibraries.tumblr.com

stsmobileapps.tumblr.com

The Handheld Library: Mobile Technology and the Librarian by Thomas Peters and Lori Bell
Mobile Library Services: Best Practices edited by Charles Harmon and Michael Messina
Tablet Computers in the Academic Library edited by Rebecca Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier

Monday afternoon, I attended a program on “Altmetrics, the Decoupled Journal, and the Future of Scholarly Publishing” by Jason Priem. Here are some highlights from his talk:

  • altmetrics is a new way of measuring impact
  • “Communication is the soul of science”, and librarians are the experts of scholarly communication (pun intended)
  • Philosophical Transactions was the first journal based on the available technology (printing press) to improve dissemination
  • Instead of moving paper-native products, creating web-native science
  • Favorite quote: “An article is a story about data”
  • Bibliometrics mined impact on the first scholarly web by measuring citations
  • The old way: counting citations but citations only tell part of the story
  • Impact has multiple dimensions: PDF views, discussion on scholarly blogs and Twitter, Mendeley and CiteULike saves, citations, and recommendation
  • ImpactStory is for researchers and is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Abstrac: “Your dynamic personal scientific journal”
  • nanoHUB.org “Online simulation and more for nanotechnology”

I also made time to talk to vendors on the Exhibits floor and met with the Proquest Vice President STEM and provided input on the development of new science information resources. My summer reading list has become longer as a result of ALA, and I am looking forward to serving on the APALA Executive Board.

 


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