Spring Training reports – part III

Today we present the third installment of reports from the 2019 LILAC Spring Training.

MoneyBoss Workshops – Financial Literacy for Community College Students Through Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Presented by M. Anne O’Reilly (LaGuardia Community College)

Blog post by Susan Wengler (Queensborough Community College)

Building credit. Managing student debt. Preventing identity theft. These are just a few of the many financial challenges facing college students today. During this detailed and engaging training session, Prof. O’Reilly described how LaGuardia’s Library Media Resources Center helps its students meet and master these challenges through MoneyBoss, a popular workshop series designed to strengthen financial competencies and knowledge.

LaGuardia typically offers six MoneyBoss workshops per calendar year; their 2018-2019 topics included:

• Starting a Home-Based Business
• Getting Control of Your Credit
• Tax Reform – New Tax Law Changes
• What You Need to Know to Start Your Own Business: First Steps
• What I Wish I Knew About Student Loans
• Identity Theft

Prof. O’Reilly shared specific tips and tricks for librarians and libraries interested in launching financial literacy programming:

Partner: At LaGuardia, MoneyBoss is co-presented by the Library Workshop Committee, the Business and Technology Department, and the Social Science Department. Cross-campus collaborations have resulted in increased institutional support and visibility.

Partner Some More: These one-hour workshops are taught by library faculty as well as classroom faculty and community partners. Prof. O’Reilly sends a call for proposals out to all LaGuardia faculty, thereby expanding both topic ideas and perspective; she has also brought in presenters from the Small Business Development Center and the Municipal Credit Union.

Brand: She recommends branding your workshop series with a catchy name, e.g., MoneyBoss; she also suggests creating a program logo and flier template to be used in all promotional activities.

Find Built-in Audiences: At LaGuardia, all Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) students are required to attend two campus events each semester; therefore she works closely with her ASAP office to ensure those students are aware of the library’s offerings. When feasible, MoneyBoss workshops are scheduled during the participating faculty’s class time; participating faculty can require their students to attend workshops as a classroom activity.

Streamline Registration: LaGuardia students pre-register for MoneyBoss workshops through the workshops’ research guide: https://guides.laguardia.edu/moneyboss

Incentivize: LaGuardia provides snacks to MoneyBoss attendees; a financial literacy-related book is also raffled off at the end of each workshop session.

Assess: After the workshop presentation and before the book raffle, O’Reilly asks attendees to complete a satisfaction survey, which is distributed in paper format. Since 2017, 565 students have attended MoneyBoss sessions; of those students completing a survey, 85% rated the sessions as very good or excellent.

For more information on financial literacy programming, please contact Prof. O’Reilly or visit LaGuardia’s MoneyBoss research guide.

Mindful Movement and Breath Work for Everybody & Every Body
Presented by Anne Leonard (City Tech)
Blog post by Meagan Lacey (Guttman Community College)

For a variety of reasons—repetition of lessons, disinterested students—teaching librarians often report burn-out. Burn-out, resulting from chronic workplace stress, creates feelings of exhaustion that can negatively affect job satisfaction and performance. For this reason, Anne Leonard, Associate Professor at City Tech and certified yoga-instructor, led a class full of teaching librarians (many of whom were burned-out) through a 40-minute sequence of gentle stretching and breathing in order to help them calm and refocus their attention and energy on the present.

All exercises were performed while seated in a chair or by using a chair for stability so that librarians could practice these movements in their office and make time for mindfulness in the midst of a workday. During the discussion that followed, one participant suggested using some of these techniques with students as well, perhaps as a way of opening a one-shot session. For more about burn-out, mindfulness, and embodied practice, see Prof. Leonard’s Padlet of resources.

Active Learning in the Archives: Teaching Undergraduates about Digital Archives using Innovative Techniques

Presented by Jessica Wagner Webster (Baruch College)
Blog post by Alexandra Hamlett (Guttman Community College)

Jessica Wagner-Webster described her undergraduate course “Digital Traces: Memory in an Online World” and how she used active learning techniques to help students grasp archival concepts. She spoke about her syllabus and course content and the initial challenges of introducing students to the notion of an archive, as students are especially unfamiliar with the concept of a digital archive and often had not considered the lasting impact that a digital archive has on the historical record.

In her course, she used active learning techniques so that students could more directly interact with the course materials. For example, one activity had students probe questions about archiving a CD-ROM. Students analyzed the content, decided what content they would archive, and considered how to archive the materials in an ever-changing technological environment, mirroring real-world problems that digital archivists face. In another activity, students participated in a multi-week debate on the topic of police body-cams. Students were productively engaged in the debate, while simultaneously exploring the complications that technology and privacy present in the process of archiving digital materials.

Finally, Prof. Wagner-Webster employed a jigsaw reading strategy so that students would be engaged in peer-to-peer learning and teaching. Unfortunately, she found it was still a challenge to get students to complete their assigned readings, and so this active learning strategy did not go as planned. Part of the reflective process of teaching! By the end of the semester, it was clear that active learning had helped students better understand key concepts of digital archiving.

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Spring Training reports – part II

Today we share the second installment of reports on the 2019 LILAC Spring Training sessions.

Wikipedia Redux: Using Wikipedia in One-Shots and Credit Courses
Presented by Monica Berger (City Tech)

Blog post by Julie Turley (Kingsborough Community College)
Professor Berger’s presentation was an opportunity to ask the audience how they have used Wikipedia in an active learning style in library instruction. Given her deep interest in Wikipedia as a pedagogical tool, she noted that Wikipedia is under-used, and when included has primarily served only as a passive “show and discuss” tool, as many librarians say they have no time for any kind of active learning in one-shots.

Dissatisfied with typical Wikipedia “show and tell,” Prof. Berger pointed out that there was much that could be done in respect to Wikipedia engagement, even in a one-shot, ranging from discussions about keyword and topic development to issues of attribution and citation. In her own classes, she noted that students are particularly fascinated with the “Talk” tab on every entry–the place where public discussion about an entry take place.

She also noted that Wikipedia is a fruitful starting point for pop cultural topics, and that Wikipedia, as an introductory site or a bridge to library resources in a one-shot, has the benefit of being instantly familiar with students, whereas they might not be with the library’s own website. During her session, Prof. Berger proposed several ideas for using Wikipedia in library instruction, including: performing a resource analysis exercise with article references using a worksheet; exploring how articles are rated in the “talk” tab and exploring the quality scale; or having students flesh out “stub” articles.

Baptism by Call Number
Presented by Paul Sager (Lehman College/Hunter College)

Blog post by Julie Turley (Kingsborough Community College)
While many library orientations “skip the stacks,” Professor Sager wants to make sure Lehman College freshman interact with Lehman College Library’s book stacks as part of orientation activities. Noting anecdotally that students don’t use the library collection of print books enough and that other info literacy activities never ask them to find a book in the library–and that nationwide, overall book circulation statistics are down–Prof. Sager thought that bringing students to the stacks might do a little, at least, to rectify this trend and expose students to valuable library resources.

Because books come up as part of OneSearch results, Prof. Sager felt a book search activity would be highly relevant. He chooses the books that students must find in advance, spacing out the call numbers throughout one designated section of the Lehman Library. Some students run into a problem when a book that is in the catalog is missing from the collection. This difficulty, however, presents a pedagogical opportunity.

“How Can We Do All This in One Session?” The Advantages of Multi-Shot Library Instruction
Presented by Derek Stadler (LaGuardia Community College)

Blog post by Sheena Philogene (Brooklyn College)
Derek Stadler described his design of multi-shot instruction, in which he incorporates three 1-hour library sessions into a First Year Seminar class, for students intending to major in the Natural Sciences. The sessions are intended to introduce various aspects of the research process and build on one another: The first session includes explanations and activities that give students a chance to think critically about their topics, ideas, and the research process as a whole. Then, the second session involves choosing relevant databases and keywords developed in the first session to find appropriate sources to satisfy students’ information needs. Finally, later in the semester, he uses the third session to show students how their newly learned research skills can extend beyond the classroom, by helping students discover more about prospective careers using research methods.

During the group discussion, Prof. Stadler said that the gaps between sessions seemed to allow students to absorb and apply the skills they learned better over time, and made it easier to build rapport with students. The group also talked about how much the multi-shot approach requires faculty buy-in and a large time investment from librarians, so it may not be as practical in cases where librarians have many sessions to teach. But when organized correctly between the librarian and professor, this method can provide the kind of point-of-need instruction that students can really benefit from.

Socratic Method
Presented by Bill Blick (Queensborough Community College)

Blog post by Sheena Philogene (Brooklyn College)
Bill Blick explained how he uses Socratic questioning during his library sessions to enhance the single session format. He opened the conversation by raising the point that students often don’t know or understand why they are taking a library session, and this makes them less receptive to the information they are given. In response, Prof. Blick has started asking students open-ended questions during library sessions. He reasons that rather than having a librarian give all the answers, Socratic questions can encourage students to do their own critical thinking, create and articulate their own ideas, and draw conclusions (find the “why”).

In the ensuing discussion, Prof. Blick acknowledged that asking students questions can be hit or miss, leading to a silent room or a discussion that is monopolized by a few students. However, when it works, this method is a good way to build a comfortable environment with students where they can feel welcome to engage with their learning and share their ideas and perspectives. Since students will need these skills throughout their academic careers, it will only help them to practice early and often.

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Info Lit without Librarians?

A few years ago, while attending ACRL’s Immersion Program, an instructor held up an Ease-Impact matrix, a visual tool we could use to prioritize our IL program’s efforts. As this drawing illustrates, effort is measured against impact:

Image Source: Dave Gray/Youtube

In our class discussion, we decided, for example, one-shot sessions would fit in the lower-right quadrant of the matrix since they are “easy” in terms of effort, but “low” in terms of impact. One-shots are not a waste of our time, but, on their own, they are not going to make information literacy happen for our students. Yet, for most IL instruction programs, one-shots remain the primary mode of delivery. So why do we spend time promoting and delivering one-shot instruction when it has such limited impact on our students learning of IL?

Of course, I am not the only librarian to ask this question. Embedded librarianship exists precisely for this reason. But I wonder: What if the best thing librarians can do to improve students’ learning of IL is to not teach—at least, not one-shots? What if instead they redirected their efforts to focus on higher impact practices, for instance, creating PDs for faculty that focus on designing better research assignments, or, better yet, teaching faculty to teach IL?

Again, I am not the first librarian to ask this question. As early as 1997, librarians Risë Smith and Karl Mundt were arguing for a “train the trainer” approach. In their ACRL paper, “Philosophical Shift: Teach the Faculty to Teach Information Literacy,” they reason,

[F]aculty control the learning environment and are in a better position than library faculty to create situations which allow students to see information seeking as an essential part of problem-solving in a discipline. The time has come to shift our focus from the students to the faculty—to teach the faculty to teach information literacy.

Teaching faculty to teach IL might not only be a better use of librarians’ time but also a more effective mode of IL delivery. In Teaching Research Process: The Faculty Role in the Development of Skilled Student Researchers, Bill Badke argues that in order to truly invite students to the scholarly conversation, faculty must share ownership of IL instruction. Students need to understand the information habits and practices specific to their discipline, and only those in the discipline can provide them with this insider’s insight. With only librarians leading the IL charge, students learn, at best, how to imitate the scholarly conversation. They don’t learn how to participate in it.

Badke’s argument resonates with my own experience as an undergraduate. As a double-major in English and philosophy, my coursework drilled the mechanics of academic writing: thesis, evidence, citation. I worked hard and was an “A” student. But I was also a first-generation college student, so I had little understanding of scholarly communication or how it works. I studied hard because I wanted to learn, and I wanted A’s, and I wanted my teachers’ approval. The learning, the grade, and the approval were all ends in themselves. It never occurred to me to question why my teachers asked me to write 10-15 page research papers in the first place.

Then, toward the end of my senior year, my philosophy professor suggested I submit one of my papers to an undergraduate research journal. “So you can I could get a ‘publication’ on your application if you decide to go to grad school,” she said. I was flattered but also confused by her suggestion. I thought, people read newspapers and magazines, not philosophy journals: “Why would I want to publish in a journal no one reads?”

In other words, I had learned how to “imitate” scholarly discourse very well. But, with limited, superficial awareness of the philosophical discourse, I wasn’t really participating in it.

Reflecting on all of these experiences has led me to the conclusion that I can serve my students best by being selective about when and what I teach. After ten years of teaching IL, I am tired of requests for database instruction. Especially in this “Misinformation Age,” I’d much rather teach students about information types and how authority is created so that they can better evaluate the information they encounter every day. Besides, faculty, as disciplinary experts, should be able to teach students how to use the databases appropriate to their disciplines. And if they can’t, we really should be helping them.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say. My school’s founding documents specify that information literacy skills ought to be built in the context of students’ courses (p. 25). Also, considering that they are employed at a community college, most of our disciplinary faculty embrace their teaching role and so are receptive to teaching IL.

It also doesn’t hurt that my colleague, Alexandra Hamlett, and I have created a “toolkit” of IL lessons and assignments for faculty to use in their instruction. It’s a lot easier to convince faculty to embrace their IL teaching role when you can make their class preparation and teaching easier for them.

We published the toolkit in early 2017 after mapping IL outcomes to the first-year curriculum (we are still working on program-level mapping for our five majors). Specifically, we reviewed syllabi from the required first-year curriculum and looked for areas (course level outcomes or assignments) where IL was either identified or presumed. In this way, we could create IL lessons and handouts that would complement the first year curriculum.

The lessons themselves are framed on the ACRL Threshold Concepts and so attempt to contextualize IL skills so that students can see how IL relates to the “big picture,” that is, to their own lives, so that they can better transfer their knowledge to different settings (other classes, jobs, etc.). We promote the toolkit to faculty during weekly House Meetings (similar to department meetings), on faculty listservs before the start of each semester, and through standalone PDs for full and part-time faculty. We have also experimented, through grant funding, with offering faculty a small stipend for participating in a “how to” PD on IL instruction and revising their course syllabus to better embed IL into their instruction.

But other librarians, feeling strapped for ideas or time to prepare new lessons, could easily use this toolkit for their instruction, too. Check it out at: https://guttman-cuny.libguides.com/facultytoolkit 

In addition to our own, I am also a fan of the Library 101 Toolkit, created by librarians at Duke University, and this toolkit of lessons created by librarians at the University of Northern Colorado. Built upon a critical pedagogy framework, these lessons emphasize student voice, personal narrative, and collaborative learning.

I do not think that teaching faculty will ever replace librarians’ IL expertise. I do not worry that by teaching faculty to teach IL I am somehow putting myself out of a job. Rather, I feel like I am better managing my instruction responsibilities. By being selective about when and what I teach, by pushing back (a little!),  I now have more time  to dedicate to one-on-one research consultations with students, faculty PDs, and other high-impact practices.




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Spring Training reports – part I

After a rich experience at the 2019 LILAC Spring Training on 7, LILAC committee members and attendees are reporting back on the sessions they experienced that day. Today we share the first installment of those reports.

Using Instructional Scaffolding to Teach Scholarly and Popular Sources
Presented by Mark Aaron Polger (College of Staten Island)

Blog post by Yasmin Sokkar Harker (CUNY Law School)
Mark Aaron Polger started by defining and giving background on instructional scaffolding and how it has been used. He also explained how instructional scaffolding sometimes happens organically (and gave examples of scaffolding activities that we may already be doing, such as concept maps or supplemental Libguides).

He described a case study in which he compared two sections of LIB 102, one scaffolded and one control group, explaining how he created and worked with each of the groups. The scaffolded groups were student-led, with students evaluating various sources and generating discussion. The non-scaffolded groups were teacher-led and the teacher described characteristics of different kinds of sources. He discussed the differences between the groups, and the benefits of scaffolding, which include a deeper understanding of both scholarly and popular sources. Prof. Polger’s presentation was fascinating and generated much discussion on student learning.

All in Kahoot’s: Tools for Active Learning and Assessment
Presented by Jeffrey Delgado (Kingsborough Community College)

Blog post by Robin Brown (Borough of Manhattan Community College)
Professor Delgado advocated for Kahoot, an effective platform for designing games to enhance instruction. He reminded us that students are not always paying attention during one-shot instruction sessions, and that following up with a quiz or survey in an attractive format is a great way to reinforce instruction. Professor Delgado showed us how easy it is to offer a quiz, by offering us one. It’s relatively simple to use a phone, tablet or laptop to go to Kahoot and put in a pin number. This was an effective presentation of a tool that easy to try (basic registration is free).

Extending and Improving Your One-Shot with Google Forms
Presented by Neera Mohess (Queensborough Community College)

Blog post by Robin Brown (Borough of Manhattan Community College)
Professor Mohess showed how she is using a Google Form to pre-test and post-test library instruction classes. A link to a specific form is sent to the professor before the library instruction session, with a request that the professor forward it to the students. Professor Mohess then uses the students’ responses to respond to specific concerns during class. Just before the project is due, she sends a second survey for the professor to distribute to the class, and later sends a summary of the follow-up questions. This is an interesting way to extend the library instruction classroom.

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RSVP for 2019 LILAC Spring Training

Add to Your Methodology Toolkit: From Reflective to Participative Action
Friday, June 7th, 2019
12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
CUNY Central | 205 East 42nd Street | Room 818/819

RSVP by June 1st. Registration is required. Security needs all visitors names for entry into building.


Session 1 (1:10-1:55pm)

  • Mindful Movement and Breath Work for Everybody & Every Body – Anne Leonard

Abstract: Instruction librarians on the edge of burnout can use mindful movement and breath work to cope with classroom stresses and situations beyond their control, to bring themselves back from that edge and do their work with care, attention, and integrity. This workshop offers participants the chance to experience simple yet effective relaxation techniques in a classroom setting. Anne Leonard, who has completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification, will lead workshop participants (no previous experience required) through a few short movement and breath sequences they can practice for their own benefit as well as offer to students, to help everyone in the room settle in, focus their attention, and calm scattered energies in the room.

  • How Can We Do All This In One Session?” The Advantages of Multi-Shot Library Instruction – Derek Stadler (Combined with Socratic Method below)

Abstract: We, as librarians, often struggle with jamming library instruction into a one-hour session, and do not have time to scaffold the Framework’s core concepts into a whole that guides students in developing an understanding of information literacy principles. This presentation will highlight a multi-shot instruction strategy used in a partnership between a librarian and a Natural Sciences professor over three instruction sessions. The session will include a discussion with attendees: How can libraries and librarians be proactive in scheduling multiple sessions? Depending on discipline, what kinds of pedagogy should go in each session? 

  • Socratic Method – Bill Blick

Abstract: This presentation will be on socratic questioning, active listening, and conversational instruction with students in a classroom that is free (temporarily) of the restraints of technology. Conversation can be a laid-back and tech-free way to start any session.


  • Culturally Responsive Teaching through the Intersectionality of Collection Development and Information Literacy – Madeline Ruggiero (Combined with Google Forms below)

Abstract: As part of a research assignment, students were asked to choose research topics that reflected problems encountered by the protagonists of an assigned non-fiction story, who as undocumented youth confronted issues related to immigration and possible deportation. The predominantly Latino class found the story engaging and the situations and experiences relatable, and were eager to read and learn more. This session will address how the librarian sought out relevant books and incorporated them into the teaching session, pointed out bibliographies in these books as a useful tool for students’ research, and created a course libguide.

  • Google Forms: Differentiating Instruction, Condensing Feedback – Danielle Apfelbaum

Abstract: Google Forms is a free tool that provides a quick and easy way for students to submit their work and for instructors to collect session feedback. This presentation will show how to use Google Forms in information literacy (IL) sessions to differentiate activities, collect and display student work for comment, and collect survey data. Attendees will learn the technical aspects of differentiating library activities and condensing survey information, and will leave this session able to create differentiated activities using Google Forms and to collect semester- or year-long survey data organized by individual IL session within a single Google Sheets workbook.

Session 2 (2:05-2:50pm)

  • Active Learning in the Archives: Teaching Undergraduates about Digital Archives using Innovative Techniques – Jessica Wagner Webster

Abstract: In the course, “Digital Traces: Memory in an Online World,” undergraduates learn about digital archives, information literacy, electronic records, memory, and other challenging topics. This presentation will describe not only the course’s content and unique syllabus, but also the active learning techniques the instructor uses to help students with a variety of learning styles to comprehend how archival concepts influence and affect their day-to-day lives, and to showcase what they have learned.

  • Revisiting What You Already Know – Student Reflection Assessment – Michelle Toth

Abstract: There are many benefits to having students reflect on their learning experiences: it can help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, reflect on ways they can continue improving, and to enable students to recognize how much they have learned. This session will introduce attendees to a student reflective activity that not only taps into these benefits for students, but is also a useful tool to assess learning outcomes. This sort of reflective first day/last day activity is ideally suited for multiple-session instruction, but could be adapted for one-shots.

  • All in Kahoot’s: Tools for Active Learning and Assessment – Jeffrey Delgado (Bomined with EXtending the Improving Your One-Shot below)

Abstract: In this interactive presentation, attendees will learn about Kahoot, a game-based learning educational technology, that can be used for information literacy sessions. It is freely accessible and fully customizable, and offers an innovative way to instantly engage students by using their favorite tools–cellphone and the internet! Kahoot is an ideal assessment tool, for not only the librarian but as a self-assessment tool for students. Attendees will learn how Kahoot collects data for librarians to use in assessing student learning, and discover the fun it can bring to the classroom while actively building relationships through competitive learning.

  • Extending and Improving Your One-Shot with Google Forms – Neera Mohess

Abstract: Attendees will learn about how a librarian has used Google Forms as a pre- and post-session evaluation tool. In the “pre” evaluation students described their topic, what they found challenging about the research process, and what they would like to understand by the end of the session, enabling the librarian to align her teaching more closely with student needs. In the “post” evaluation, students were asked to describe what (if any) research skills they had learned, what could be done to improve the session, and one thing they still wanted to know. Results were shared with the professor and students, and enabled the librarian to understand what students found valuable in the class and what could be improved upon, and provided an effective means to answer remaining questions about research, citation, and the library.

Session 3 (3:00-3:45pm)

  • MoneyBoss Workshops – Financial Literacy for Community College Students Through Interdisciplinary Collaboration – M. Anne O’Reilly
  • Abstract: MoneyBoss is a series of one-hour workshops which aim to strengthen students’ financial literacy, addressing a variety of topics, including how to start a small business, protect their identity, save and spend wisely, and manage their credit and debit accounts. The library has collaborated with the Business & Technology and Social Sciences/Economics departments to create monthly workshops and additional presentations, such as an accounting professor teaching students about the latest changes in tax reform, and an art professor sharing his struggles with managing student loan debt. Faculty have been able to engage students in and beyond their own classes, and the participating departments have learned from each other.


  • Using Instructional Scaffolding to Teach Scholarly and Popular Sources Mark Aaron Polger

Abstract: This presentation discusses a study on the use of instructional scaffolding in one two-hour lesson about scholarly and popular sources, within a 7.5 week Information Literacy course. The first group (N=73) received three scaffolding activities and was student-led. The control group (N=65) did not receive any scaffolding and was instructor-led. A comparison of students’ final exam responses illustrates that the group that the scaffolded group had a better understanding than the control group.

  • Baptism by Call Number – Paul Sager (Combined with Wikipedia Redux below)

Abstract: “Baptism by Call Number” is a brief exercise for freshmen as part of an introductory core course at Lehman College. Attendees will learn the rationale and basic process of this simple but valuable exercise that has students identify call numbers and then get their feet wet by using that information to find books in the stacks. The presenter will discuss practical considerations and a plan for assessing the value of this exercise both in the short term and through longitudinal observation into the future.

  • Wikipedia Redux: Using Wikipedia in One-Shots and Credit Courses – Monica Berger

Abstract: Wikipedia is a powerful bridge to introduce students to the library and a natural and flexible tool to probe different information literacy concepts. Starting students at this familiar place is a smart strategy. Wikipedia can be very useful for topic development and moving towards keywords, concept mapping, and citations. By segueing from Wikipedia to library encyclopedias, students begin to see explicit connections to the library. The “talk” tab provides an opportunity to discuss how Wikipedia works and challenges to traditional concepts of authority, and conversations about controversial topics on Wikipedia are always lively. In this presentation, attendees will learn about the process of designing Wikipedia-related activities for credit courses, which may include adding citations, data and/or photographs to a Wikipedia article, or using a rubric to evaluate a given article.


LILAC Spring Training Committee:
Haruko Yamauchi, co-chair
Daisy Domínguez, co-chair
Linda Miles
Julie Turley
Robin Brown

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about scalability. This is not a new idea for me, but it has certainly been popping up more in my mind and sticking around longer. Maybe it’s because every year the middle-of-March madness creeps up on me and nearly knocks me over–how is it, really, that I can have forgotten how frantic I’d be? So many email exchanges with instructors; so many reference shift swaps; so many last minute changes; so many lesson preps; so many worksheets! Yet it’s the same every semester: in the beginning, I’m doing systematic outreach to all the full-time and adjunct faculty teaching in my liaison areas–I want them to remember that the library exists, right? And that we’re here to support teaching and learning on campus? By about six weeks into the semester I’m almost secretly hoping they’ll forget my name because I fear I’ve already bitten off more than I can chew.

I haven’t yet figured out how to solve this dilemma, but I started poking around a little to learn more. Lorelei Rutledge and Sarah LeMire include a discussion about scalable models in a broader article addressing new ways to think about information literacy on campus (Broadening Boundaries: Opportunities for Information Literacy Instruction inside and outside the Classroom). For Rutledge and LeMire, it seems the main crux of the issue is about finding new and creative ways to infuse information literacy instruction into students’ academic lives, rather than strictly about relieving scheduling issues among teaching librarians. You see, the problem isn’t just that there isn’t enough time in the world to teach workshops for all the instructors who might want them, but also that our students would benefit from a greater degree of information literacy support, in general. Rutledge and LeMire call our attention to what they call “opportunities for microteaching on campus,” for instance by including “snippets of information literacy instruction” in large-scale campus outreach events, or becoming a mentor for student organizations or committees. They suggest teaming up with potential advocates among stakeholders on campus who could act as ambassadors and library boosters, working hand-in-hand with campus writing centers to prepare writing tutors to help their peers with research and information literacy challenges, working with the Center for Teaching and Learning on campus to help with faculty PD, and developing train-the-trainer programs to support instructors who might be interested in teaching their students information literacy skills and knowledge.

I’m really attracted to the latter idea: finding a way to better empower instructional faculty in the information literacy crusade–the old “turnkey” approach. One of the first formal train-the-trainer initiatives I became aware of is The University of Texas at Austin’s Information Literacy Toolkit (although the Texas toolkit may not have been the first such resource, as the IL Toolkit at the University of Minnesota has been around since at least the early 2000s; see Butler & Veldof, 2002). UTA’s Toolkit LibGuide provides openly licensed resources for faculty, including customizable assignments linked to related guides and tutorials, complete with instructions and example student work, in-class assessment activities, and narratives about sample courses and their implementation of IL assignments and assessments. The Toolkit also serves as a channel for informing instructors about how they can reach out for a consultation with a librarian, request a custom-designed research assignment for their students, or schedule a workshop with a librarian.

In March of 2018, Marielle McNeal from North Park University in Chicago facilitated a webinar on the train-the-trainer model for an Illinois consortium of academic and research libraries. What struck me as I read through McNeal’s outline was the idea that we might be missing something in our efforts to help our instructional colleagues if we focus primarily on trying to teach them better ways to design assignments or courses, and neglect some of the barriers faculty face when it comes to teaching information literacy. As she points out, our colleagues may not fully understand all the factors impacting students’ information literacy challenges, and are most likely not well versed in major IL concepts or familiar with best practices for teaching IL. Sometimes I simply lose sight of the fact that the faculty with whom I collaborate are content experts in their own disciplines, and not necessarily in mine.

There are a lot of fantastic ideas out there! But it’s clear that any scalability initiative has to be customized to the institutional and library context. When I read about building a network of boosters or coordinating with the writing center or launching an online toolkit, I have to wonder how taking all that on could possibly relieve the pressure I’m feeling right now. Obviously, to set up any kind of scalability initiative will take a concerted investment of time and attention and it’s probably not something to dive into without some strategic and collaborative thinking. This year, as I emerge from my mid-March frenzy, I plan to keep the issue on my radar. Maybe I can break the cycle. In any case, I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had working to address the scalability issue.

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2019 LILAC Spring Training Call for Proposals

Add to Your Methodology Toolkit: From Reflective to Participative Action
Friday, June 7th, 2019
12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
CUNY Central
205 East 42nd Street
Room 818/819

We are seeking proposals for 10-45-minute presentations, discussions, or workshops on how you use any of the following methodologies in your college-level instruction practice:

  • open pedagogy (project-based learning, etc. in an “open” environment)
  • active learning (gaming, concept mapping, group work, etc.)
  • reflective practices (journaling, etc.)
  • interdisciplinary (close collaboration with faculty instructors in other disciplines)
  • multi-shots
  • low tech/no tech orientations
  • mobile device-driven lessons
  • other ideas are welcome

Anticipated 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 5, 2019

Not sure about presenting? Register to attend the June 7th event here.

Registration is required. Security needs all visitors names for entry into building.

LILAC Spring Training Committee:
Haruko Yamauchi, co-chair
Daisy Domínguez, co-chair
Linda Miles
Julie Turley
Robin Brown

Posted in Spring Training | Comments Off on 2019 LILAC Spring Training Call for Proposals

Gaming for Info Lit Flow

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A few years ago Michael Waldman at Baruch Library was kind enough to recommend what he described as the least intimidating marathon training book, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, which introduced me to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow, as applied to … Continue reading

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Transferring skills from arts ed to info lit

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The last job I held before becoming a librarian was as a facilitator of arts programs, working 11 years for ArtsConnection, a non-profit that brought professional visual and performing (music, dance, theater) artists into public schools pre-K-12 throughout the five boroughs … Continue reading

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The Power of PowerPoint

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Alright, maybe it is not that powerful, but at least, useful. In my college days, professors’ lectures were mostly verbal and sometimes aided by a blackboard. The professor would either talk my head off throughout the whole lecture non-stop making … Continue reading

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