LILAC Spring Training RSVP

LILAC Spring Training: Up Your Game!
Practical Innovations Beyond Traditional Information Literacy

Friday, June 8th, 2018 | 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
CUNY Central | 205 East 42nd Street Room 818

The LILAC Spring Training is an afternoon filled with presentation pitches, a facilitated group activity, and more. Presentations, discussions, and workshops of various lengths will be divided into three tracks. During the first session, all participants will have the opportunity to sign up for an individual track after learning more from each presenter about their session.

RSVP is required by June 1st due to building security.

Space is limited.

Light Refreshments will be provided.


  • Using Google Docs and WordPress for Communication and Instruction
    Sarah Johnson and Mason Brown, Hunter College
  • Encouraging Student Engagement in the Library Classroom with PollEverywhere
    Emma Antobam-Ntekudzi, Bronx Community College
  • Not teaching OneSearch is No Longer an Option
    Marta Bladek and Maureen Richards, John Jay College
  • Using OneSearch: Librarians Need to Stop Worrying, Our Students Like It
    Anne O’Reilly, LaGuardia Community College


  • Strategies for Embedded Information Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners
    Clara Y. Tran, Stony Brook University, and Selrnsy Aytac, Long Island University
  • Dis/Information Nation: Voter Personas and Dis/Information Literacy in the 2016 Election and Beyond
    Iris Finkel, Hunter College and Lydia Willoughby, SUNY New Paltz

Evaluating Sources

  • Navigating between Trust and Doubt on the Internet
    Linda Miles and Haruko Yamauchi, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College
  • Understanding Fake News by Teaching with the Game Factitious
    Sharell L. Walker, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • What Do You Meme it’s Not Credible? Using Memes to Counter Misleading Information
    Christina Boyle, College of Staten Island

The Library Information Literacy Advisory Committee, LILAC, is the Library Discipline Council of the City University of New York. All librarians inside and outside of CUNY are welcome to attend the Spring Training.

LILAC Spring Training Committee:

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, co-chair
Daisy Domínguez, co-chair
Anne Leonard
Linda Miles
Robin Brown
Julie Turley
Jonathan Cope

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LILAC (UK) 2018 Conference Roundup

I recently attended the 2018 LILAC Conference in Liverpool, England. The conference is organized by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) information literacy group, so they are a bit like LILAC’s sister organization across the pond! There were some fantastic presentations that offered innovative ideas, creative ways to teach IL skills, and many exciting insights about our profession in the ever expanding digital environment. The following are some of my highlights…

Information and Digital Literacy at the University of Sheffield

The librarians from the University of Sheffield described their three year project creating an information and digital literacy (IDL) framework at their institution. The framework echoes ACRL’s framework and threshold concepts, and works to employ active and engaged learning aimed at creating information and digital literate students. The six frames include: discovering, understanding, questioning, referencing, creating and communicating. The literacies help students develop the skills throughout the curriculum and progress from novice to expert during their academic career. The university recognizes information and digital literacy as one of its core graduation qualifications (so lots of buy in) and a means to help provide students gain the necessary skills to be successful in an ever changing digital environment. This fascinating project aligns well with our own mission as information professionals! Want more info? Check it out here!

What Does Embedded Even Mean?

The librarians at the University of Leeds discussed their practice of embedded librarianship and the multiple and unexpected opportunities that arose across campus and within the community. Their presentation offered ideas and inspiration of how to become better embedded and showcased how they embed information literacy skills within course delivery. Examples included: collaborating with nursing faculty in developing and delivering  academic assignments to nursing students, offering library support for employees who are part of the university’s local business partnerships, sharing teaching methods with the local National Health Service (NHS) libraries, and supporting students in publishing Open Access journals. The wide range of examples demonstrates the problematic nature of defining what we consider to be ’embedded’, but, it also serves as inspiration that we can embed ourselves across a wide range of places we may not had previously considered, reconsider our pedagogy, and engage students in innovative ways.

Librarians and Students in the Digital Landscape

In his keynote presentation, David White from the University of Arts London, discussed the ‘dataself’ or the ‘technoself’, and how it is essential when teaching students that we position them as a central in their own digital environment and experience. He touched on notions of critical pedagogy in teaching students how to navigate the complexity of the digital environment and expressed great insight into how essential our mission is as informational professionals and librarians. Supporting this mission helps students learn how to navigate the digital landscape, critically question the information that they discover, and learn to maneuver within this stratosphere. As such, we help students understand that the data and information that they interact with impacts their interwoven self-identity. Check out his keynote.

CILIP Redefines Information Literacy

On the final day of the conference, CILIP released a revised definition of information literacy:

Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully with society.

The revised definition addresses how the theory and practices of information literacy has changed since 2004. In rethinking the definition, they considered the impact on Higher Education, but additionally on all individuals using information. The new definition contains four elements: a high level definition, a secondary statement, contexts, and the role of information professionals. Read more about it here!



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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love OneSearch

LILAC has been talking about how OneSearch works and how to teach with it. Based on those conversations as well as on Allie’s presentation to LILAC last fall and just plain old experience, I am ready to tell you How I Learned to Stop Worrying
and Love OneSearch

What is OneSearch is anyway?

We librarians know it as a “discovery layer” and that’s probably not a bad way to talk to students about it. But it is also really important that they understand what’s in OneSearch. So, it includes what the classic catalog has always had – our holdings! What’s on the shelf in (or checked out from) the library. It also searches across many, but not necessarily all, of our databases. And it includes other stuff too: LibGuides and digital items mostly. This image that no longer appears in the OneSearch landing page may or may not help in understanding that.

Background info, Books and Articles all in one place.

For instruction purposes, the filters in OneSearch offer a one-stop way to show students how to see reference entries, books and scholarly (or news) articles all in one place. For example, in a search in the CUNY instance of OneSearch for the term immigration (see it here) you can see that there are reference entries, books and articles. The filters on the right allow the researcher to see just one resource type at a time.

Reference Resources for Topic Exploration

The reference resources filter is a great way to get a list of background articles that provide different perspectives on a topic. In the same immigration search with the Reference Resources filter on (see it here), just looking at those few sources we can already see religion, law, history and child development as perspectives to explore. Sometimes, especially with introductory or composition classes, looking at reference entries first can help students to consider how to approach their topics.

Speaking of Filters . . . .

You can “lock” filters in place, which is really, really useful for continued searching/keyword exploration within a single resource type. Once the filter is in place just hover over it and a “lock” will appear; click to set in place.

Pre-formatted Citations, Ready for Proofreading!

On any record, just click the quotation mark to see the standard citation style options. Works best for books and articles, but overall seems pretty accurate. Don’t forget to remind students to proofread these computer-generated citations before handing them in!

 OneSearch is the Instant Pot of library databases

Seriously! It does kinda do everything, except when it doesn’t, just like Instant Pot.

Anyway, students are going to ask you this question: Why would I ever search in different databases if I can just search in OneSearch for everything? And sometimes the answer is – OneSearch is all you need. Just like you can use the Instant Pot to cook almost anything.

However, there are 2 main reasons why a researcher might end up at another database instead of (or in addition to) OneSearch.

  • Can’t find what you’re looking for. Sometimes OneSearch doesn’t actually provide all the answers, so another database is always a good bet.
  • Need more precise, subject-focused research. For example, if you need to use specialized vocabulary such as MESH terms which work great in Medline, but not so well in OneSearch. As well, subject databases allow researchers to find only works written with a disciplinary lens, and that can be tricky to identify in OneSearch since it has so many results.

Basically, it’s one more tool in the researcher tool box . . . or an Instant Pot in the research kitchen!

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LILAC Spring Training Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals/ Potential Sessions

LILAC Spring Training: Up Your Game!
Practical innovations beyond traditional information literacy

Friday, June 8th, 2018
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
CUNY Central
205 East 42nd Street

We are seeking proposals for 10-45-minute presentations, discussions, or workshops on any of the following information literacy topics:

  • How I learned to stop worrying and love OneSearch
  • New approaches to “fake news”
  • Student agency in the research process
  • OER – teaching beyond the firewall
  • Information literacy and resistance in action beyond academia
  • Public higher education and social justice
  • New kinds of skills our students are expected to master
  • … or any other information literacy innovation

Event Format:

  1.      Welcome
  2.      Opening ice-breaker activity
  3.      10 minute break
  4.     Breakout sessions (10-45 minute, multiple concurrent sessions)
  5.      10 minute break
  6.      Session sharing and wrap-up

Please submit a description for a 10-45 minute breakout session using this form.
Deadline: April 15, 2018

Not sure about presenting? Register to attend the June 8th event here.
Registration is required.

LILAC Spring Training Committee:
Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, co-chair
Daisy Domínguez, co-chair
Anne Leonard
Linda Miles
Robin Brown
Julie Turley
Jonathan Cope

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Open access and ScienceDirect/Scopus

From Elsevier’s newsletter, this article might be useful for teaching and researching:

7 tips for finding open access content on ScienceDirect and Scopus

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IL Instruction Overload

As a relaxing summer is behind us and we are in a new academic year, everything goes back to a normal rhythm from Adagio to Andante. That means IL teaching activities pick up the tempo and are likely to accelerate to Allegro as semester progresses.

May I recommend a timely article, “Forty Ways to Survive IL Instruction Overload; Or, how to Avoid Teacher Burnout.”

Like recommended in the article, I sometimes play music by using audio files in PowerPoint to calm down/entertain/relax/wake up/energize my classes, “Sleep Away” at the beginning and “Kalimba” at the end.


Badia, Giovanna. “Forty Ways to Survive IL Instruction Overload; Or, how to Avoid Teacher Burnout.” College & Undergraduate Libraries (2017): 1-7.

Teaching information literacy (IL) sessions can be emotionally exhausting, especially when faced with a heavy instructional workload that requires repeating similar course content multiple times. This article lists forty practical, how-to strategies for avoiding burnout and thriving when teaching.




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Subject Liaison Librarian

One of the programs often seen in academic libraries is the subject liaison program. Librarians are assigned responsible area(s) based on their education background and/or professional training. They serve as a bridge between teaching faculty and the library. A liaison librarian’s tasks may include, but are not limited to, bibliographic instruction, collection development, and research consultation. In addition, the liaison librarian is responsible for informing the target department/program about current status of relevant information sources should any changes occur. In the teaching front, some libraries, in collaboration with teaching faculty, embed liaison librarian in the program as a co-teacher for the class.

At York College Library, we have assigned 24 subject areas among 10 librarians.  One librarian served as an embedded librarian in a health science class in 2012-13. An exciting event occurs every year when we receive the budget for new book acquisition. Each of us will get a share of the pie and update our collections with his or her wisdom.

A recent article on the topic by Karen Stanley Grigg, Science Liaison Librarian at University of North Carolina at Greensboro Libraries, is worth reading.

Building a Successful Liaison Program from the Ground up

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A teaching tool

I found this 5-page handout rather useful.

Literature Search: A Librarian’s Handout to Introduce Tools, Terms and Techniques co-developed by Katy Kavanagh Webb, Head of Research & Instructional Services at East Carolina University’s Joyner Library, and Library Connect newsletter of Elsevier.

Each page of the handout can stand alone or be used together as a teaching tool that covers:

  • Keywords, operators and filters
  • Search tools
  • Types of literature
  • Evaluate information
  • Organize research

You may download the handout in PDF here.

“It’s not a replacement for librarian-led instruction,” says Katy, “but it can act as a calling card to introduce key concepts or as a leave-behind visual reminder to continue these best practices when we librarians are no longer in the room.” (Library Connect April 7, 2017)

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Library anxiety

“Library anxiety” was identified thirty years ago when Constance A. Mellon of East Carolina University published her paper, “Library Anxiety: A Grounded Theory and Its Development,” [College & Research Libraries 47.2 (1986): 160-165. <>], describing college students feeling intimidated, embarrassed, and overwhelmed by libraries and librarians. Library literature has been enhanced by this topic since then.

The anxiety appears to be more common among freshman students. This phenomenon ascertains the importance of library instruction for first-year undergraduates, as well as calls for user-friendly learning environment. A recent report on Columbia libraries is fun to read: “The Strange Affliction of ‘Library Anxiety’ and What Librarians Do to Help” <>

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Reference and Social Justice conversation at the LILAC Spring Event

As part of the Lilac Spring Training event, Kate Adler, Ian Beilin, and Eamon Tewell led a very interesting conversation on the connection between reference work and social justice. This is a conversational format, which was very helpful in terms of hearing not just from the presenters, but from the community.
Among the topics that were discussed were  space issues (including eliminating the reference desk, on-call reference etc.) and  the real importance of finding venues for substantial conversations with students. We discussed the power dynamics that are behind many of the academic structures that we take for granted. We also debated whether standard librarian best practices are social justice oriented already. We discussed the difference between reference as passive knowledge transfer, and reference as a conversation.
This was a very worthwhile and interesting event.
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