Librarians as teachers integrated with the curriculum


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A presentation gives at the Future strategies for university and college libraries conference on 18th October 2012. Organised by Neal Stewart Associates:

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  • When we talk about librarians as teachers, we are talking about information literacy - IL has been defined as knowing when and where you need information, how to find and manage it, how to use it in an ethical way by CILIP.Librarians play an important role in the learning process - learning is what happens in libraries and it has a long history. We used to call it user education, we then called it information skills. Despite the controversy the term IL was coined in the 1970s. Librarians role as teachers is not exclusive to higher education but it extends to public libraries, in schools, in the workplace and in further education.This is my understanding of ‘information literacy’ - there is much discussion over how it relates to other ‘new literacies’ we used to hear a lot about media literacy, now digital literacy is the term people are talking about. I hesitate to say that information literacy is more important than these other literacies, but information is what they all have in common and it overarches many of these terms. So we may need to recognise that what we call information literacy overlaps with many of these other new literacies which other professions do recognise. And it means we may need to adapt what we call it.
  • Surely all students are digital natives – they know how to use information? They can find information at the touch of a button? In fact there is much evidence from reports such as the 2007 CIBER report, that indicates students lack critical evaluation skills and struggle making the transition to working at higher education level. The shift from a dependent way of learning to independence. The current government preoccupation with revamping A levels is partly a recognition that students are not prepared for higher education, for writing longer pieces of work and for thinking critically. (they are good at passing exams!) The 2011 Demos report , Truth, Lies and the internetargues that helping young people navigate hugely variable Internet sources should be achieved not by tighter controls but by ensuring they can make informed judgements (4). We should think and talk less about the internet causing harm (passive learning model) and instead focus on what helping equip young peopleand empower themselves with an understanding of how to apply critical judgement.Guardian’s high-provile digital literacy campaign for radical change to how ICT is taught and thought about in schools.JISC’s portfolio of projects around the digital library, data management, digital repositories, and Vitae’s events for the ‘Digital Researcher’ – all show that this concept of digital literacy or fluency is becoming of national importance (at last!). National IL initiatives – Welsh and Scottish projects; UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy curriculum for schools. All these campaigns and initiatives show the extent to which information literacy is tied in with lifelong learning, citizenship, employability, social mobility, and the knowledge economy. IL is part of a general movement towards creating not just judicious scholars but informed citizens. It’s individuals using, taking action with information. It is not just to do with access to information – it goes beyond that and into what people do with it, or to it, or through it.In this environment we have a chance to rehabilitate traditional notions of IL as ‘something the library does’ and look at it as a crucial part of individual lifelong learning instead.
  • ANCIL as a curriculum but also ANCIL as an approach that is learner centred. That recognises that information literacy is a broad spectrum of skills, behaviours and attitudes. We divided it into 10 strands which each have learning outcomes, sample activities and sample assessments. Each strand also has 4 levels which include key skills, subject context knowledge, advanced information handling skills and lifelong learner skills.ANCIL is about developing students as lifelong learners. Its not about teaching tools and technologies, but it is teaching students problem solving abilities to adapt. In the course of today’s talk I can only give a brief overview of ANCIL – however I urge you to take a look at the full curriculum document which is available from the new curriculum website referenced at the end. In developing ANCIL we are partly trying to broaden our understanding of information literacy, but also to show how the teaching that librarians do fits into a broader framework for universities and colleges.
  • The immediate connotation of the term ‘embedding’ is placement and addition. While present in the curriculum, it is neither integral nor integrated. It is there as an add-on and can possibly be done without.Meanwhile the term ‘integrating’, suggests that IL is an integral part of teaching and learning that is integrated in the curriculum. Just as integrating new technology into the curriculum is really about institutional change, so integrating information literacy is about change. And for change to happen there needs to be an impetus. If teachers believe there curriculum is already complete, then what would motivate them to change it? We need to look at some of the drivers for change rather than assuming academics will recognise IL is a GOOD THING.These might be some of the above – but the HEAR could be very important - The HEAR is intended to provide a single comprehensive record of a learner’s achievement at a higher education institution. It will be an electronic document, which will adhere to a common structure and be verified by the academic registrar or equivalent officer. Institutions may also choose to issue a paper document. In addition to details about the award, level, modules studied, assessment method, the HEAR also includes information on activities carried out by the student which do not carry credit towards their award, but which can be verified by the institution.QAA might also be another lever here – The Quality Assurance Agency have a quality code on Learning and Teaching – they are also consulting on the code around ‘student support’.
  • Add more examplesNeed to emphasise how library staff can do more than point them to book on shelvesStudents often unaware of key resources on library website and even in Moodle (e.g. Library Companion)
  • Librarians as teachers integrated with the curriculum

    1. 1. Librarians as teachers integrated with the curriculum Dr Jane Secker London School of Economics and Political Science @jseckerFuture Strategies for University and College Libraries18th October 2012
    2. 2. Librarians as teachers…..• We are talking about information literacy (IL)• But what do we mean?
    3. 3. Why does IL matter still?Photo by Flickingerbrad licensed under Creative Commons Photo by starmanseries licensed under Creative Commons
    4. 4. Research at May – June Academic University of 2011 advisor: Cambridge, Professor John Arcadia Naughton Programme Develop a new, revolutionary curriculum for information literacy in the digital age Jane Secker & Emma Coonan Understand the needs of undergraduates entering HE over the coming 5 years Map the current landscape of information literacyDevelop a practical curriculum and supporting resources
    5. 5. ANCIL: rethinking IL Secker & Coonan (2011)
    6. 6. Information literacy is a continuum of skills, behaviours, approaches andvalues that is so deeply entwined with the uses of information as to be a fundamental element of learning, scholarship and research. It is the defining characteristic of the discerning scholar, the informed and judicious citizen, and the autonomous learner. ANCIL definition of information literacy (2011)
    7. 7. What do we know about IL?• Needs to be taught in context: discipline, level• Value needs to be recognised by faculty and curriculum designers• Needs support at an institutional / strategic level• Is not the preserve or saviour of the library Photo by Michael Newton licensed under Creative Commons Transitional : Transferable : Transformational
    8. 8. Embedding vs integrating?• We really mean is integrating• Thus, IL is about changing the curriculum = challenging!• Academics need an impetus for change which may be: – Improving student achievement – Graduate attributes / employability – Higher Education achievement report (HEAR) – Technological developments – Changing student expectations / fees
    9. 9. Joining up support• ANCIL is not prescriptive about who teaches information literacy• Success involves joining up IL provision across the institution• A curriculum or syllabus can identify roles and responsibilities and make IL visible
    10. 10. The role of staff development• Librarians to be teachers• Educational developers to recognise the need for IL• For faculty to design an ‘aligned’ curriculum• For faculty, educational developers and librarians to work in partnership
    11. 11. Case studies from LSE• ANCIL institutional audit• Integration of information literacy and educational technologies into teacher training
    12. 12. ANCIL as an audit tool• Piloted by Katy Wrathall as phase 2 of Arcadia research from October – December 2011• Interviews a key way of gathering information about provision across the institution using ANCIL• At LSE interviews with deans, academics & support staff• Questionnaire for Academic Support Librarians• Also used student focus groups – How prepared are they for study in HE – What support students they need – Their preference for delivery
    13. 13. Teaching & Learning Centre Language Centre Careers LSE100 Language Centre Departments Library Teaching & Learning Centre Departments Departments Language Centre Library LSE100 Language CentreTeaching & Learning Centre Teaching & Learning Centre Careers Departments Departments Language Centre LSE100 Library Centre for Learning Library Technology Library Library
    14. 14. Key findings: students• Information use is driven by reading lists and resources in VLE• Dependent on lecturers for direction• Unaware of expertise of librarians and more likely to seek support from Careers, IT Training, Teaching and Learning• No coordination between departments and services• Seek help at point of need (or crisis?)• Often don’t know about key information resources and how librarians can support them
    15. 15. Integration into teacher training• First step to changing academic practice is to integrate into PGCert taken by new staff and graduate teaching assistants• Course design already encourages Biggs notion of ‘curriculum alignment’• Sessions on new technologies, ‘digital natives’ and information and digital literacies• Librarians taking PGCert• These teaching resources released as Open Educational Resources via LSE Learning Resources Online
    16. 16. In conclusion• Information literacy is vital for learners to be successful in the digital age• ANCIL offers a broader way of thinking about information literacy• IL needs to be taught in context and collaboratively• All staff need to be information literate and to understand its importance to learning• Integration into the curriculum is vital but librarians need to be prepared for this enhanced role
    17. 17. Further reading• ANCIL Curriculum and related documents:• ANCIL You Tube video: V2givIiE• Biggs, John (1996) ‘Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment’, Higher Education 32(3), pp.347-64• Bartlett, J and Miller, C (2011) Truth, lies and the Internet. Demos report. Available at:• Beetham, Helen, Lou McGill & Alison Littlejohn (2009) Thriving in the 21st century: learning literacies for the digital age (LLiDA report). Available at: