Opening Plenary, LOEX 2012.
Abstract: Increasingly, teaching librarians face the challenge of integrating into the learning communities that comprise our institutions, a process that requires a new depth of understanding and unparalleled instructional customization. At the same time, reorganization and resource depletion are the norm in our workplaces, stretching our support for existing programs and curtailing our ability to develop new approaches. In this environment of mixed opportunity and anxiety, it is critical that we understand that our effectiveness as mentors and educators is impacted by the role and value of libraries in the academy and society. It is equally important that we cultivate innovative methods of understanding our own communities with the goal of teaching more strategically and with greater curricular flexibility.
"Reframing" is a process of acknowledging that libraries and the academy are (and should be) changing, and that teaching librarians are at the forefront of a personal, local, and collective redefinition. Despite decades of effort, the evolution of librarian-as-teacher remains a departure from traditional understanding among some in higher education, requiring an ongoing perceptual shift on the part of ourselves, our users, and our collaborators. When we cultivate strategies for effective, creative instructional advocacy while critically examining our existing content and approaches, we are better positioned to meaningfully support the learner experience and develop a unique perspective on our own practice.
In short, this talk will examine how we understand what we do and who we do it for, and why this matters in the first place.