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L2L: Library Staff Learning to Support Learners Learning - Lessons Learnt and Plans for the Future Philip Cohen, Ann Cleary

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The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (National Forum) is Ireland’s advisory body for teaching and learning in Irish higher education. In 2015 the National Forum developed a professional development framework for all staff who teach in Higher Education (PDF). In2016, library staff from Carlow IT DIT (now TU Dublin) and Dundalk IT were awarded substantial funding for a 2 year project (L2L) to review the PDF through a library lens. L2L was the first library-based project to be funded by the National Forum in this way.

All library staff teach formally or informally, while also performing a wide array of other library tasks. The PDF provides a framework to prompt a deeper exploration of such multi-layered roles and, in doing so, helps to identify our complex and evolving professional development needs.

Tangible outcomes include the website l2l.ie, with its wealth of resources, and a book recording the experiences of project participants. Other outcomes include greater self-confidence and recognition of all library staff as educators.

It is essential now that these outcomes are disseminated widely amongst the library community. So the conference presentation will describe the project, discuss its findings and encourage attendees to engage with it.

Relevance of the presentation to the conference theme of ‘Inclusive Libraries’:

All library staff in all libraries (academic, public and special) ‘teach’ their users in some way and all users benefit (including those disadvantaged or excluded). In addition, the presentation will be equally relevant to attendees from the North and the south. Finally, the success of the project will encourage other library staff to apply for similar funding in future.

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L2L: Library Staff Learning to Support Learners Learning - Lessons Learnt and Plans for the Future Philip Cohen, Ann Cleary

  1. 1. L2L: Lessons Learnt and Plans for the Future Ann Cleary, Dundalk IT Philip Cohen, Retired Mary Delaney, IT Carlow Brendan Devlin, DIT (TU Dublin)
  2. 2. Background • National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning • Our role as academic libraries • Professional Development and the professionalisation of the Higher Education work force
  3. 3. Professional Development Framework In 2016 . . . • Development of the PDF: Professional Development Framework for All Staff Who Teach • Pilots to explore the PDF • Call for Proposals • A Collaboration between 3 THEA libraries to create a proposal • First library-led project to obtain funding
  4. 4. L2L: Who Are We? • Dundalk Institute of Technology • Dublin Institute of Technology (TU Dublin City Campus) • Institute of Technology Carlow
  5. 5. Intention • Professional Development of all staff • Sense of a Gap • Sense of a need for a coherent career-long framework • Sense of isolation from ‘academic work’ • Focus on Information Literacy teaching
  6. 6. What L2L Did • Engaged with the PDF as library staff – Both individually and collectively • Managed a project • Created a web site • Published a book
  7. 7. What L2L REALLY Did • Unpicked our practice • Explored who we are and what we do – Questions around Identity • Worked across Institutions • Learned about power and how it is constituted in new ways • Swampy low lands • Found confidence in our practice
  8. 8. What L2L REALLY Did • Learnt and embedded new practices • Discovered through inquiry our role as ‘Teachers’ • Discovered that we ‘Teach’ – Both formally and informally • Discovered value of ‘Third Space’ practice • Grew in confidence • Re-articulation of our position and role • Did new things
  9. 9. What L2L REALLY Did • Role of the Student Voice and student engagement • Necessity of including the Student Voice in our own PD • Collaboration with non-library staff
  10. 10. What L2L REALLY Did • Grew in self efficacy • PD is a choice – You have to make time for it • Learned what it takes to create • Profound shift in the personal understandings of our role
  11. 11. What Participants Say My professional identity has also changed. Previous to the project I was reluctant to identify as a teacher. I referred to myself as a librarian who engaged in teaching but who wasn’t a teacher. I feel this was due to my own personal idea of what a teacher was and feeling like an imposter. I now value my existing accredited PD (Professional Development), my self-directed learning and experience. I now identify as a teacher within the wider role as a librarian L2L Participant, Personal communication, 14th June 2018
  12. 12. What Participants Say Then I think that having time and opportunity to listen, hear and talk with others created a new sense of what it is we as library staff do, what our experience is. Hearing echoes of my own experience suggested to me that it was not about me but was rather systemic and engendered by things and systems outside me such as organisational cultures L2L Participant, Personal communication, 14th June 2018
  13. 13. What Participants Say It changed through formal reflection. In the past, I may have reflected but it was informal and undocumented. By actually noting my reflections in my learning log I began to see a pattern in the type of informal PD I was undertaking. L2L Participant, Personal communication, 14th June 2018
  14. 14. What Participants Say In collaboration and conversation engendered by L2L I have found that my experience is a shared one. That libraries are constructed in the cultures of our organisations in limiting ways and that those limits are in fact power relations. These may be unconscious, they may be historic but they are definitely present in the naming of ‘non’ academics, functional areas etc. Through L2L and the PDF and inquiries into identity, reflection and action research processes I now know that I am not alone. I also have a sense of what could change if I change and I will actively pursue this over the remainder of my time. L2L Participant, Personal communication, 14th June 2018
  15. 15. What Participants Say Being introduced to an initiative like L2L so early on in my library career has changed my perceptions of my professional and personal development. I embraced the supporting ‘learners learning’ element of the project and deeply considered the teaching - formal and informal - that I do on a day-to-day basis as part of my Library Assistant role. Consequently, I enrolled in and completed the Certificate of Learning and Teaching run in DkIT by the Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning. I was the first member of library staff to enrol in the course . . .
  16. 16. What Participants Say . . . It was challenging of course, to fit the material and make it relevant to the teaching I do in the library. However, L2L afforded me the opportunity to reflect on my role and to appreciate how it is changing and evolving. This all started with an introductory chat about L2L, its premise and goals and I am excited by future prospects due to being involved in such a project. I feel I am better equipped now in assisting students, insofar as I am conscious of providing student-centred, quality information and instruction. L2L Participant, Cameo, 20th November 2018
  17. 17. Impact on Our Libraries • Time for Professional Development • A repositioning of the Library and a claiming of the Learning Space – Library Teaching Philosophies – New involvements • Changing the language we use to reflect new alignment – Communication • Changing Practices – Information Literacy curricula – New skills and knowledge • New Activities – Research Café – Writing, Publications, Presentations
  18. 18. Impact on Our Libraries • Placing and articulating Professional Development in processes: – Job Descriptions, Recruitment, Induction, Review and Policies • Student engagement • How others see us • Invitation and Inclusion • COP: Community of Practice
  19. 19. National • A PD Framework for library staff • 350+ attendees from 35 different libraries across all sectors • Speakers and contributors from different areas • Dissemination: Seminars and Conferences • Presentations and Updates to national bodies • THEA Libraries as leaders • Professional Body: Recognition for events, information and dissemination, inclusion in Working Groups on recognition and accreditation
  20. 20. Plans for the Future of L2L
  21. 21. Near Future • Deepen and support on-going engagement • Increase dissemination and reach • Book published • Accreditation • Tools to engage with the PDF • Workshops delivered on the PDF through the lens of library staff
  22. 22. A New Conversation About Professional Development • Further work on recognition • Development of the PDF as an equivalent of the CILIP PKSB: Professional Knowledge and Skills Base - recognised by the Library Association of Ireland • More widespread use of the PDF • Creation of academic modules/credits for library staff • And . . .
  23. 23. What We Have Created and Where You Can Get It Web Site: www.l2l.ie Book Launch: 29th April 2019 Contact Us: email: librariansL2L@gmail.com facebook: Facebook.com/librariansL2L twitter: Twitter.com/librariansL2L
  24. 24. Thank You

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