Sunday, June 27, 2004

Reflections on What Happens When Librarians Become Teachers This is by Kimberley Donnelly. It was published in Computers in Libraries, vol. 20 no. 3, March 2000.

From the site:

Instruction librarians and teaching libraries are getting a lot of attention these days. Are you thinking you should pursue these activities in your library? Would you like to become a teacher? Do you think you should? Most librarians agree that someone has to teach our library users how to use our resources effectively, and that somebody should be teaching students effective ways to use the Internet for research. However, few agree on who should teach and just how the instruction should be carried out.

On some college campuses, the logical solution to teaching research is to create a course. While this may be an objective worthy of librarians’ advocacy and involvement, a delicate balance exists between the rewards and the costs of becoming a teaching library.

Here at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP), librarians were thrust into the classroom in 1997 when a two-credit, core-curriculum information literacy course was introduced. Generated by a faculty task force as part of a new core, Information Literacy 101 (IFL) is dramatically changing the jobs and roles of our librarians and focusing attention on the library, since it’s designed and taught by faculty librarians. Schmidt Library, formerly viewed as an academic support service, is now an integral part of the educational mission of the college. Hundreds of students pass through the turnstile every day on their way to the IFL classroom.

The changes we’ve seen are both philosophical and practical. For this article I’ve gathered some personal reflections—my own and those of our other faculty librarians. So I am offering some firsthand insight into what happens when a group of librarians becomes teachers. All the changes are connected to the way our relationships are changing, the amount of time and energy that IFL requires, and the kinds of shifts that IFL is causing in our priorities.

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