Venturing from the “Back Room”: Do Technical Services Librarians have a Role in Information Literacy?
Venturing from the “Back Room”:
Do Technical Services Librarians have
a Role in Information Literacy?
Presented by: Laura Turner and
Who we are . . .
From Copley Library Technical Services Department
Collection is roughly 500K volumes
Materials budget is $2.2 million
14 Librarians (3 in Technical Services)
14 support staff (4 in Technical Services)
At University of San Diego
A mid-size private university, strong in liberal arts
7,500 FTE (graduate & undergraduate)
Involved in our library’s information literacy efforts and other public
Today’s Learning Outcomes
Understand how technical services librarians can
contribute to information literacy (IL)
Recognize vocabulary and concepts of IL
List ways to follow trends in IL
Identify two kinds of IL learning activities
Define ways to assess your impact in IL teaching
. . . a pre-test!!!
When was the term “back room” first
applied to Technical Services??
Was it . . .
. . . in the scrolls of Ancient Egypt?
Or Perhaps . . .
. . . as Ranganathan’s lesser-known sixth
Law of Librarianship?
Maybe it was . . .
. . . embedded in LCRI 22.1B?
Or are you thinking it’s . . .
. . . one of those FRBR manifestation
But as you will see, information
literacy is all about helping the
student “get it”, and active IL
activities ARE a big part of that.
Is there still a “back room”
mentality in Technical Services?
Within our own department?
Beyond the department?
What drives the mentality?
. . . but does it
Some reasons for entering
the conversation . . .
IL is affecting the curricular course at the institutional-
level through accreditation
We’re already doing more / we have the expertise
We are in the heart of the providers’ conversations this
So…what is IL?
An information literate student recognizes when
information is needed and has the ability to locate,
evaluate, and use it in an ethical manner.
-Information Literacy Committee (2012)
Why should we care?
Our work reflects what we know and what we don’t
Must understand our patrons and their needs
Help discover trends for collection development
Why should we be part of it?
ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for
High Education approved January 18,2000—UNDER
USD is revising Core Curriculum
WASC Accreditation-Western Association of Schools
Active Learning Technique
Developed by librarians and Cardiff University in 2002
for a library orientation
Based on the tourist trade in Cephalonia, Greece
Engages users on a different level
I really enjoy singing the ABC’s, but there is something
about ABCD that rings a bell. Is there such thing as the
ABCD Method in Information Literacy?
Does G, O, ELO’s stand for Go Electric Light Orchestra
or is it another wacky acronym librarians came up with?
G, O, and ELO’s
Expected Learning Outcome
The use of the ABCD method helps remind you of the 4
parts of the ELO
Example: After a one-shot, all students will be able to
cite 2 resources with 100% accuracy.
Are there any programs I can use to prepare my
instruction or workshop?
6 Step Program Planning Cycle
Describe and analyze
Develop G, O, ELO’s
Select and describe appropriate instructional
Evaluate and revise
Relating our professional role to IL
• Find the right item
at the right price
with the right
• The record has to
match our item or
it’s just NOT the
•“What exactly are
you trying to do
that you can’t seem
• Which Stephen
King are we talking
Getting our Public Services
peers to include us in IL
Be involved in the training
Review ACRL’s latest discussion
Demonstrate your interest and expertise at your library
in the outcomes for the user
Finding time…but how?
• Poll Everywhere
• Create a question and students can answer through
laptop, smart phone, or tablet
• Answers can be open-ended or multiple choice
How do I stay informed?
Find a reference librarian to guide you
Anything else I should know about my
new role in information literacy?
Don’t forget to assess your efforts!!!
How to assess?
Start with measurable goals
Find out what tools are used in your library
Look into other possible tools – statistics, pre- and
post-tests, 1-minute post-session papers, project
“What is your main unanswered
question” about this presentation?
-from Esther Grassian, IL Consultant and Lecturer
Assessment primer: goals, objectives and outcomes. (2012). Retrieved from
Banush, D. (2008). Stepping out: The expanding role of catalogers in academic
libraries and academic institutions. Cataloging & Classification
Quarterly, 45(3), 81-90.
Bechtel, J. M. (1986). Conversation, a new paradigm for librarianship?. College
and Research Libraries, 47(3), 219-24.
Cimbala, D. J. (1988). Technical services in the mission of the library: The “Back
Room" performers. Journal of Library Administration, 9(1), 7-12.
Folsom, S. L. (2000). Out of the nest: the cataloger in a public services role.
Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services, 24(1), 65-71.
Intner, S. B. (1993). The re-professionalization of cataloging. Technicalities,
Oxnevad, S. (2011). The Blooming Orange. Cool tools for the 21st century
learner. Retrieved from
Pausch, L. M., & Koch, J. (1981). "Technical Services librarians in library
instruction." Libri, 31(1), 198-204.
Wells, V. (2013). Revising the cephalonian method. ACRLog. Retrieved from