Experience & Information Literacy: Primary-Text Focused Curriculum as a Filter for Library Resources & Skills Sara Grozanick & Julie Seigel LIS 673 Library Use & Instruction Filter Design Project: Final Document 16 December 2009
2 GOALS & OBJECTIVES The purpose of “Experience & Information Literacy: Primary-Text Focused Curriculum asa Filter for Information Literacy” is to create a situated context for building information literacyskills. Through tying the research process to the examination of a text (in this case, WilliamBlake’s Songs of Experience) and atelier methods of production, our program instills: analyticalthinking, a deeper appreciation of reading and discussion, a comprehension of library resourcesand skills, and a positive view of the library as a social and communal space. During the course of 10 weeks (or 10 sessions), participants in the program will: identifyand navigate multiple material types and formats, create a community of shared inquiry anddemocratic discussion, integrate information literacy skills into creative production, facilitatepeer mentorship through collaborative projects, become library advocates, and engage incollection development through the creation of a collaborative zine that will be incorporated intothe library’s collection. Each meeting will be composed of two hour-long intervals, a half-hour snack break, and ahalf-hour optional work period (where participants may explore the library, socialize, or work onindividual and group projects). Meetings will begin with an aloud reading of the selected poem(s)from the group;; multiple reading of the same poem encourages participants to slow down theirnatural reading tendencies and focus closely on language and meaning. Through close reading,participants will explore meaning as it is constructed through choices of diction, soniccomponents (e.g., rhyme and metre), phrasing, etc. Although group members will be motivated toactively build meaning through context and discussion, rather than consult “authorized sources,”resources (dictionaries, thesauri, etc.) will be on hand to be used as needed. This kind of activityis meant to engage participants in higher-order thinking, as described by Newmann andWehlage (1993): Higher-order thinking requires students to manipulate information and ideas in ways that transform their meaning and implications, such as when students combine facts and ideas in order to synthesize, generalize, explain, hypothesize, or arrive at some conclusion or interpretation. Manipulating information and ideas through these processes allows students to solve problems and discover new (for them) meanings and understandings. (p.9) In addition, close reading will be tied to reader response, emphasized by the usage ofjournaling, and democratic discussion. Participants will document their textual, visual, and/orauditory response(s) to the primary text via weekly journal prompts. Through these weeklyassignments, participants will deepen their relationship to the primary text, digest andsynthesize information, utilize multiple intelligences, and understand production preferencesand the iterative and creative aspects of the research process. Moreover, the utilization of journalprompts inspires a seamless transition between ingestion and production, and communicates theimportance of agency and accountability regarding information consumption;; participants are
3 not passive receivers of information, but as the aforementioned passage from Newmann &Wehlage suggests, they are content producers. Journal entries will be occasionally posted to a bulletin board;; the reserved space for theprogram will feature a large bulletin board in which participants may attach items they believeto be relevant to the project (e.g., snippets of articles, drawings, upcoming events, etc.). Usage ofthe bulletin board simultaneously engages participants in a dialogue, honors multipleintelligences, and unveils the research strategies of participants allowing for assessment andmodification of instruction if needed. The existence of democratic discussion underlines close reading skills, whilst creating anenvironment of shared inquiry, activity, and receptivity. Brookfield & Preskill (2005)characterize this environment as a place where participants “[…] have the right to expressthemselves as well as the responsibility to create spaces that encourage even the most reluctantspeaker to participate” (p. 3). The authors (Brookfield & Preskill, 2005) also note that discussionis critical to information literacy because it’s viewed as an enjoyable form of engagementamongst participants. To this end, we see generating discussion vital to forging social tiesbetween participants and members of the library staff. There are undeniable challenges when working with teenagers regarding socialization andparticipation, such as the formation of cliques, conflicting personalities, etc. The curriculumhowever seeks to meet these challenges by advocating inclusivity through group, smallgroup/partnership, and individual projects. From the first meeting, participants will beinstructed to work in teams as part of an information literacy activity and then share theirfindings with the group. Other types of collaborative activities will be scattered throughout thecourse of the program (see timeline).Furthermore, the librarian(s) should take an active role ingrouping participants in ways that facilitate mutual growth. Our objective is to foster a safespace of inquiry and peer-mentorship where participants can exchange ideas, resources, andcollaborate on projects.SURVEY OF LANDSCAPE: BACKGROUND & NEED “The capacity to participate in verbally complex texts is not widely fostered in oureducational system, and desirable habits of reflection, interpretation, and evaluation are notwidespread,” writes Louise Rosenblatt in her 1994 The Reader, The Text, The Poem:Transactional Theory of the Literary Work (p. 143). While these “habits,” or skills, are oftenapplied specifically to the understanding and appreciation of literary works, they are alsofundamental to the practice of information literacy. There is an exigency for information literacy,as made evident by the 2009 Horizon Report citing “a growing need for […] information literacy”(Johnson, Levine & Smith). Similarly, in a 2006 Teacher Librarian article, Caroline Geckasserts that today’s teenagers, whom she refers to as members of Generation Z (beginning with
4 individuals born after 1990), “have never engaged in formal exercises comparing advantages,disadvantages, strengths, and weaknesses of the Web with other informational tools such asbooks and print journals” (p. 20). The ability to compare and evaluate resources is critical to developing information literacyskills. However, these competencies are unlikely to become internalized behaviors if they aretaught in a vacuum. A theory of legitimate peripheral participation developed by Lave & Wegner(1991) states “even so-called general knowledge only has power in specific circumstances” (p. 33).Moreover, more than one case study has found library and information literacy instruction to bemost effective when situated within a specific context where users draw a connection betweensuccessfully completing an assignment or task and acquiring information literacy skills (Klopfer,Olwell & Hudock, 2004;; Meulemans & Brown, 2001).USE OF FILTER By facilitating engagement with library materials and critical thinking skills, thecurriculum will help participants develop such skills as: identifying the information needed andhow to locate and retrieve it (recognizing types and formats), employing various searchstrategies, etc., and meditating on the application of their newly acquired information.
5 The curriculum is made up of five components: the close reading of a primary text,democratic discussion, journaling and construction of a zine, a subsequent exhibition,and usageof library resources and services as they relate to the aforementioned activities. Integral to these components is the process of journaling and use of journal prompts.Journal prompts are constructed in order to directly link the text and the processes and skills oflibrary research not only with each other, but to the participants’ own experiences and creativeprocesses. The role of journal prompts is not only to help participants see “the literary work […]as part of the fabric of individual lives” (Rosenblatt, 1994, p.143), but to do the same for thelibrary—to create an individual experience for the participant that is directly related to utilizinginformation literacy skills. For examples of journal prompts and a more detailed description ofthe curriculum, see timeline.COMMUNITY & OUTREACH At its heart, the program seeks to create community within the library through sharedexperience and mutual inquiry. To this end, it is important that as a “leader” of the group, thelibrarian(s) bring the same exploratory spirit that will be hopefully matched by participants.That is, rather than appear as the archetypal gatekeeper of knowledge, the librarian(s) shoulddemonstrate inquisitiveness and an awareness of themselves as co-learners, i.e., admit when ananswer is not known and model the steps to gaining understanding. Accordingly, the librarian(s)should be encouraging participants to describe their own methods of meaning construction andsynthesis. As Paulo Friere puts it: “Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and thestudents-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with student-teacher” (as cited in Jacobs, 2008, p. 261). It is our hope that throughout the duration of theprogram, participants will cease to view themselves as “students” or “librarians,” but as peerswho are interested in the reciprocal exchange of viewpoints, experiences, and ways of seeing. We envision working with a group of 10-15 teenagers, between the ages of 13-18 (asignificant portion of which are enrolled in local public schools), in a public library setting. Theproject was originally conceived as being a North American summer program;; however, webelieve the curriculum could be successfully adapted in any geographic location or time of year.Possible incarnations of the program include: a public school project orchestrated by a librarianand/or English teacher, library school or secondary education students serving as facilitators, ora library partnering with a cultural or academic institution (e.g., a museum or local university). The idea of a primary “text” is not limited to poetry, but extends to works of fiction andnon-fiction;; a primary text could be a work of visual art, a play, or a film. The conceptsintroduced through “close reading" would be altered with each of these adaptations, as would thenature of the journal prompts.
6 In an effort to reinforce the alliance between the library and the community, and topromote the program, librarians will: communicate with school faculty, advertise in communalspaces (e.g., community, cultural, and religious centers and afterschool programs), and withinthe library (through interactions with library patrons, posting on the library website and e-maillists, etc.). The librarian(s) organizing the program will strive to generate awareness andinstitutional support in order to secure funding and library space, as well as recommendationsfor participants and guest speakers. Another form of community outreach will be the inclusion of the participants’ zine into thelibrary’s permanent collection and the subsequent exhibition;; by incorporating the zine into thelibrary’s collection it not only underscores the program’s mission to contemporize canonicalworks, but participants become more personally invested in the library as contributors to thecollection. The two-month exhibition simultaneously celebrates the work of participants, invitesmembers of the community into the space, and serves as a point of reference for futureincarnations of the program. Participants’ family members, friends, and peers, as well asmembers of the community will be invited to the unveiling of the exhibition (complete with musicand refreshments).INITATIVES & REQUIRED RESOURCESOne to two librarians can successfully implement the program. Depending on the librarian’s orlibrarians’ work responsibilities and available resources, planning and execution should take atleast six months. The duties of the librarian(s) are as follows: composing and administering thecurriculum, writing grants and working with potential funders (e.g., local bookstores and artsupplies stores that may be willing to donate materials), liaising with high school and middleschool teachers and community groups regarding enrollment and guest speakers, beingaccessible to participants, and assessing and modifying the program based on evaluativefeedback.In addition, the program requires the following resources: 10-15 copies of Songs of Experience* Library and its resources (e.g., databases, OPAC, reference collection, media, picture files, etc.)* Reserved meeting space* Computers (with Internet access and Microsoft Office Suite)* Graphic design software (i.e., Adobe Photoshop) Printer* Scanners Journals* Projector Audio/recording equipment (CD/MP3 player, speakers, and microphones)
7 Bulletin board or industrial-sized Post-Its (for journaling or brainstorming)* Art supplies (e.g., colored pencils, paper, binding materials, scissors, etc.)* Snacks* Photocopier* Blank CDs Note: This is an ideal list;; asterisked items are those deemed essential to the program’simplementation.ASSESSMENT & EVALUATION The objectives of assessment and evaluation are to identify the strengths and deficienciesof the program, for participants to reflect and articulate their experience, and to modify theprogram based on the input of participants, instructors, library administrators, and members ofthe community. Facilitators will devise ongoing forms of qualitative and quantitative assessmentvia the distribution of surveys and questionnaires, informal interviews, the observed level ofdiscussion, research, and production, and the examination of enrollment, circulation, andtransaction statistics. The concept of triangulation, as referenced by Grassian and Kaplowitz (2001), suggeststhe value in employing qualitative and quantitative methods of assessment in an effort toacquire descriptive and numerical data;; the availability of said data (desired by instructors andlibrary administrators), is needed to secure funding, justify expenditures, and stimulateinstitutional support. However, the selection of qualitative modes of assessment is perhaps morebefitting to the holistic and ethnographic curriculum of the curriculum. As the authors (Grassian&Kaplowitz, 2001) observe, “Qualitative methods seem particularly suited to assessment ofcognitive/humanist approaches to teaching and learning […] they acknowledge diversity ofstyles, backgrounds, and behavior in the classroom” (p. 278). Qualitative assessment permits aflexibility of response, and most importantly, conceals the intentions of instructors (incomparison to controlled testing). Facilitators will utilize the following as vehicles for assessment: Surveys & questionnaires- pre- and post-testing will be conducted in order to assess participants’ areas of interest, their level of familiarity with library resources, newly developed search strategies, etc. Surveys will feature a combination of open-ended and rating questions to test cognition and to reduce the level of intimidation regarding the evaluative process. Journaling- two or more journal prompts will be devoted to the subject of evaluation (one of which will be posted to the bulletin board), to seamlessly integrate examination and revision into the research habits of participants.
8 Informal interviews- instructors will weekly (sometimes daily) converse with participants about their experience of the program. Depending on availability and the level of expressed interest, participants will potentially have the opportunity to serve in an advisory capacity with respect to future programming. CAT techniques and exhibition material- facilitators will rely on performance assessment techniques (i.e., the observation of verbal and non-verbal behaviors) to provide immediate feedback so that they can tailor instruction accordingly. Moreover, zine contributions and exhibition material will serve as a form of product assessment revealing participants’ learning attitudes, preference for material types and formats, etc. Enrollment, circulation, and transaction statistics- instructors will scrutinize the number of enrolled participants (versus future cycles) and usage statistics regarding introduced library resources (in both print and electronic formats) and visits to the program’s webpage.Note: Data will be made available to library staff, administrators, and members of the community._________________________________________________________________________________________________APPENDIX: TIMELINE & SAMPLE LESSON PLANS
9 1. Songs of Experience: What is Experience? Journal Prompt: Utilize the form of your choice--prose, poetry drawing, painting, music, a hybrid, or something else--to create an autobiographical "text" that focuses on an experience (or experiences) Information Literacy: Researching the life and work of William Blake that have shaped you. An experience could be: a relationship with using biographical databases & dictionaries. another person (family member, friend, stranger), an event in your life, something you love to do (ride horses, skateboard, play violin). How was this experience significant? Does it affect the way you think about yourself? 2. "Introduction" & "Earths Answer": Lyricism & Reading Aloud Journal Prompt: Select and check out an audiorecoding from the library catalog. When you listen to it, think about the following: How is listening to a poem or reading it aloud different from reading it silently? How is it different from reading prose or having a Information Literacy: Conducting a catalog search by format type conversation? Pay attention to tone, pace, etc. Challenge yourself to and retrieving content through the identification of call numbers. write an “answer” poem responding to the plea of “O Earth O Earth return! [...]” (from Blake’s “Introduction”) in the language of today. What would “Earth’s Answer” be today? Be prepared to read your response to the group. 3. "The Clod & Pebble": Juxtaposition/Contradiction & Imagery Journal Prompt: Browse image databases and picture files for a Information Literacy: Using image databases & repositories, picture source of inspiration. Create a short "text" (poem, drawing, etc.) that files. features contradictory imagery linked by a common idea or theme.
10 4. “The Chimney Sweeper” & “Nurses Song”: Voice & Point-of-View Journal Prompt: Based on your reading of primary sources Information Literacy: Identifying and locating primary documents (newspapers, periodicals, court transcripts, etc.), create a text from (newspapers, periodicals, court transcripts, etc.). the viewpoint of someone living during Blakes period of production on Songs of Experience (1789-1803). 5. “The Sick Rose” & “The Fly”: Metaphor Journal prompt: Create a visualization (metaphor) for the research Information literacy: Self-reporting and evaluating resources, process and/or your experience in the program thus far. Possible credibility in the research process, democratic discussion. topics include: your initial point of interest, resources used, challengeds encountered along the way, items that contributed to a newfound direction, and/or how youd like to move forward. 6. “The Tyger”: Rhyme & Metre Journal Prompt: Weve seen how others have been inspired by the Information Literacy: Bibliographical research finding artists/works works of Blake. Challenge yourself to either: 1) write a poem using influenced by Blake;; bibliographic creation. the same rhyme and metre as one of Blakes poems 2) appropriate an image (visual or literary) from one of Blakes poems we havent read as a group and create your own text.
11 7. “London”: Diction & History Journal prompt: Weve looked at how the historical environment of Information literacy: Intellectual property & appropriation, citation London has manifested itself in Blakes work. Exploring your own manuals. immediate environment, appropriate a "text" from the bulletin board and rework it to say something about the time period today. Make sure to credit your peers! 8. “The Human Abstract”: Intertextuality & Creative Process Journal Prompt: Blakes "The Human Abstract" as a companion Information Literacy: Distribution of information (Blakes era vs. poem to "The Divine Image" has shown us how the creative process today, issues of accessibility, credibility and control) and collection can lead to intertextuality. Todays guest speaker has also talked development (contemplation of the zines inclusion into the librarys about process and revision. Choose a piece from your journal and collection). revise it. How do you see your work differently? 9. “A Poison Tree”: Peer-revision & Self-curation Journal Prompt: As the program draws to a close reflect on your experience- what have you enjoyed about the program? What did you find challenging? Write in your journal and/or fill out the evaluation handout. Possible journaling topics include: your contribution(s) to Information Literacy: Self-evalaution and assessment of program, the zine, how/if your research process has changed over the past ten continued use of resources relevant to the creation of participants weeks, introduced topics and/or resources, the level of group zine contributions. discussion and communication, or what changes youd like to see in next years program. Be prepared to discuss your responses next week.
12 10. “The Voice of the Ancient Bard”: Reflection & Presentations Shared reflections: Each participant will comment on their process from conception to production (what interested them about their Information Literacy: Evaluation of program and instruction, choosen topic, what resources they used, etc.) and their experience of reflection of learning behaviors and search strategies. the program (sparked by the evaluation prompt from the previous week). Preperation for the exhibition: collect submissions and address any remaining questions and/or concerns about the exhibition. ZINE EXHIBITION & CELEBRATION The two-month exhibition will feature the zine, photographed contributions (with captions from participants regarding their research process, topic, and/or resources used), titles used, and screenshots of electronic resources, thus encapsulating the research process and allowing for product assessment.
13 MEETING 1 | (Songs of) Experience & (Auto)biographyEssential Questions What does “experience” mean to you? Who was William Blake? Why should we—and should we—care about his writing? How do different formats and types of media change what we consider to be a(n) (auto)biography?Key Concepts Differentiating shapes of information: dictionaries, biographies, autobiographies, facsimiles Relating personal life experience to abstract idea of experience Sharing and reading in a group environmentInformation Literacy Skills Orientation Ability to recognize and use a dictionary Ability to recognize and know when to use biographical dictionaries Ability to access and search electronic biographical dictionaries & encyclopedia databases Ability to notice and articulate the types of information found in these reference sources Ability to notice and articulate the differences in depth, coverage, and focus of the resources usedMaterials Used in the LessonBiographical dictionaries, print. Some examples are: Magnusson, M., & Goring, R. (1990). Cambridge biographicaldictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nicholls, C. S. (1997). Encyclopedia of biography. New York: St. Martins Press. Parry, M. (1997). Chambers biographical dictionary. Edinburgh: Chambers.Biographical dictionaries in the form of online electronic databases: Literature Resource Center Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia Twayne’s Authors SeriesAdditional Reference MaterialsThe William Blake Archive. Ed. Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and JosephViscomi: http://www.blakearchive.org/.
14 Unfolding of the Lesson1. Introductions Group Introductions o Name? o Age? o What is an activity that you like to do? o Why did you sign up for this program? o Have you read poetry before;; if, so, what is a poem or a poet that you have enjoyed? Description of the program. What are we going to do during the course of 10 weeks? Focus on reading a single text, William Blake’s Songs of Experience;; develop our own writing/production and critical/creative thinking through discussion, keeping a journal, and collaborative experimentation. We will explore expression through different media. [Open it up for questions and comments.]2. Read Around: All members of the group (beginning with the “leader”/librarian) will read one ofthe poems. Introduce the idea of reading poetry aloud. Suggest that group participants relax,slow down their normal rate of speech. It’s okay to make mistakes. Observe participants’ varying levels of ability, comfort with group participation, and familiarity with reading poetry. Establish an atmosphere of sharing, inclusiveness, and mutual participation. Provide a survey and introduction to the main text of the program.3. Discussion: To begin thinking about the text, Songs of Experience, let us begin thinking aboutthe idea of experience. We often talk about experience to mean different things. What doesexperience mean to you? Unpacking the word “experience” (as an introductory exercise in close reading and reader response). At the discretion of the group and the librarian outside sources, e.g., dictionaries, may also be consulted as a point of comparison—think about problematizing the concept of a fixed definition. Encourage participants to elaborate on their ideas, by citing examples of their own experiences.4. Weekly journal prompt: Writing our autobiographies. Utilize the form of your choice—prose,poetry, drawing, painting, music, a hybrid, or something else—to create an autobiographical“text.” What experience or experiences in your life have helped shape you? An experience couldbe: a relationship with another person (family member, friend, stranger), an event in your life,something you love to do (ride horses, skateboard, play violin). What about this experience was(or is) important to your life? Does it affect how you think about yourself? How? Ask group to brainstorm ideas for a “text.” Encourage the use of media other than writing (along with writing) to help group expand their notions of “text” and “autobiography” if it seems needed. Discuss the idea of combining media.Pass out prompt sheets along with journals. Mention that if individuals want, they are welcometo bring in their own journals to use instead.
15 MEETING 10 | Presentations & EvaluationEssential Questions What brought you to the program? What were your expectations? What aspects of the program did you enjoy? Think over the project(s) you have created- What did you find interesting about your area(s) of concentration? What aspects of the program did you find challenging? Why? How did you feel about the level of discussion in the program? What method(s) of instruction did you find the most valuable? What methods weren’t helpful? What has it been like to devote yourself to a single text for ten weeks? Of the resources introduced, which were familiar? Unfamiliar? What resource(s) will you continue to use, if any? How do you feel about working in the library, versus when you first entered the program? How would you improve the program? What changes would you like to see? Would you recommend this program? Why or why not?Key Concepts Self-reflection and evaluation of program Self-curation Sharing and reading in a group environmentInformation Literacy Skills Orientation Ability to reflect on processes (reading, discussion, research, and production) Ability to recognize learning attitudes/behaviors and research strategies Ability to identify and evaluate instructional delivery methods and library resourcesMaterials Used in the Lesson Journal prompts QuestionnairesUnfolding of the Lesson 1. State overview of meeting (review, presentations, break, and evaluation) 2. Review o Address any remaining questions/concerns (material from last week, upcoming exhibition, etc.) o Make sure participants have submitted their work for the exhibition (images, captions, research guides, bibliographies, etc.). Inform participants they have until the end of the day to turn in their work.
16 3. Presentations o 10-15 minutes of individual/group work to prepare for presentations o Each participant will comment on their process, from conception to production, accompanied by an informal Q&A session (possible topics include: what they found interesting about their topic, resources they used, challenges they encountered along the way, items that contributed to a newfound direction in their research, etc.). 4. Snack break o Serve refreshments 5. Evaluation o Ask participants to read/share their reactions to last week’s prompt and questionnaire o Shared discussion- Each participant (instructors included) will reflect on his or her experience of the program (possible topics include: established learning behaviors, preferred methods of instruction, previous discussions, newly formed attitudes towards Blake and the library, etc.). o Inform participants of the possibility of serving as advisors regarding future cycles of the program o Collect questionnaires 6. Closing o Remind participants of meeting time and date of exhibition o State availability (if any other questions/concerns should arise) o Thank participants once again for a wonderful ten weeks!
17 ReferencesBlake, W. (1984). Songs of experience: Facsimile reproduction with 26 plates in full color. New York: Dover.Brookfield, S. D. & Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion in a Democratic Society. In Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms. New York: Josey Bass. Farmer, L., & Shontz, M. (2009). "School Library Journals" Spending Survey. School Library Journal, 55(4), 38-44. Retrieved December 11, 2009, from Library Lit &Info Full Text database. Geck, C. (2006). The Generation Z Connection: Teaching InformationLiteracy to the Newest Net Generation. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 19-23. Retrieved December 12, 2009, from Education Full Text database. Grassian, E. S. & Kaplowitz, J.R. (2001). Information literacy instruction: Theory and practice. New York: Neal-Schuman, 265-288. Jacobs, H. L. M. (2008). Information Literacy and Reflective Pedagogical Praxis. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(3). Johnson, L., Levine, A., & Smith, R. (2009). The 2009 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Legitimate Peripheral Participation. In Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. New York: Cambridge UP.Newmann, F. M. & Wehlage, G. G. (1993). Five standards of authentic instruction. Educational Leadership, 50(7), 8-12.Rosenblatt, L. M. (1994). The reader, the text, the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.