Welcome! My name is Lindsey MacCallum and today I’m going to take all of you through the journey I’ve been on for the past 9 months, engaging with the ACRL Framework and
University of Prince Edward Island: primarily undergraduate university with approximately 4400 students Four faculties: arts, education, science, and veterinary medicine and two schools: business and nursing
Robertson Library: 7 librarians on staff, one of whom is the university librarian leaves 6 librarians who all have liaison areas, plus larger portfolios and special projects each librarian is responsible for information literacy in their liaison areas (from first year to graduate student) In addition, UPEI has several first-year general education courses that every student at UPEI must take, which is the primary focus for my job
Nine months ago I was stepping into a back-fill position; the Instruction and Education Services librarian was going on a year sabbatical starting in July 2015, and I would be filling in for her. While I certainly learned about library instruction in Library School, most of my experience was one-on-one in an archival environment; I had very little experience standing up in front of 20 students for an hour and fifteen minutes and teaching. I thought a good way to prepare myself would be to attend Workshop for Instruction in Library Use (WILU) in June 2015 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. What I encountered there was nothing like I expected.
The theme of the conference was Sea Change, and as the final draft of the ACRL Framework had just been submitted in February of 2015, the Framework was all anyone was talking about.
What is the Framework?
General environment/discussions surrounding Framework at the conference
What about the Framework inspired me
Learning the ABCs of the Framework independant research ACRL listserve grappling with how to actually implement the Framework
Fall 2015, Library Juice Academy course readings assignments group discussion focus on practical lesson plans that incorporate the Framework
Not easily! apathy resistance to Framework varying levels of interest
Generational differences: do librarians train or teach? Differences in pedagogy: levels of student interaction varied wildly use of active learning tools varied wildly--some favour lecture, others incorporate group discussion, hands-on worksheets, etc. Some don’t see librarians as ‘teachers’ valid point that most librarians don’t have education degrees
Positives of engaging librarians: chance to share teaching practices brainstorm new approaches discuss needs of students contemplate a bigger role for librarians in instruction this is where we plan a coup! brought to light some of our dissatisfaction with faculty curriculum and standards of research
Developing a relationship with faculty is always important, but it’s particularly vital when trying to make the shift to approaching library instruction from a conceptual idea. While it’s certainly possible to sneak in a few changes here and there to the lesson plan, a wholesale implementation of the Framework requires a complete shift in what and how we’re teaching. it’s important to have the support of faculty, not only because of the shift in focus to a more conceptual one, but also because the instructions sessions themselves are going to change, both content and delivery. I found it helpful to focus on one course: english 101 is a mandatory intro level writing course, and I sought out the coordinator of english 101 to talk about my ideas for enhancing library instruction. I felt that the general nature of the course--essentially how to write a research paper--was most conducive to the Framework, without the added complications of subject specific requirements. Methods: conversation through email face-to-face meetings taught a class for instructor using some new techniques/focus--almost like a tryout!
However, not everyone is going to be enthusiastic. Eng 101: while the coordinator was very keen on the idea, the course itself is massive: with 14 different sections in the Fall semster alone, I have to get 14 different instructors to buy in, and that simply didn’t happen. I have some who are very support, either by giving me the space to try new lesson plans and approaches, or by giving me more class time, or both. one positive: instructors who gave me one class in the Fall of 2015 are giving me two this semester, those who had two classes gave me three this semester, etc. Not everyone is interested: a couple instructors have stuck to one library session for their class, and they’re not eager for me to talk about different resources like twitter or wikipedia; they want students to find 10 peer-reviewed academic articles published in the last 10 years that are longer than 10 pages, and they want me to teach only that.
However, I have had some success! The coordinator of Eng 101 is interested in adopting a co-teaching model for the course moving forward, using both librarians and faculty to teach. Obviously this is early days, but it is promising progress, and not possible without the Framework.
Success among librarians: much more conversation and attention paid towards IL instruction; general consensus that curriculum (particularly for the first-year general courses) needs wider input from all librarians
Framework: great for inspiration, not so great for action
Difficulty of taking theory and implementing it practically one-shots a big concern
Something I constantly struggled with from the very beginning was how to use the framework in a real-life classroom, particularly for one-shots. It wasn’t until I took the course through library juice and saw other librarians ideas for lesson plans that I began to make the connection between theory and practise, and saw what is possible with using the framework to inform library instruction.
Which brings me back to the image I first started with. The process of adopting elements of the ACRL Framework has been challenging, what with busy and (slightly) apathetic librarians, faculty expectations, and lack of direction from the Framework itself. But while the climb has been steep, I have faith that the view from the top will be worth it. Thank you.
Trials and tribulations - Lindsay MacCallum
Trials and Tribulations: Adopting the ACRL
Framework at a Small Academic Library
University of Prince Edward Island
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McBrayer, P. A., & Kim Fong, P. (2013). Transforming Bibliographic Instruction into a University-wide Information Literacy
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McCracken, I. M., & Johnson, B. (2015). Sustainable Partners: Librarians and Instructors Using Threshold Concepts to
Reinforce Information Literacy. Retrieved February 21, 2016, from
Montgomery, M. (2015). Education Theory and Pedagogy for Practical Library Instruction: How to Learn What We Really
Need to Know. Communications In Information Literacy, 9(1). Retrieved February 28, 2016, from
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