Monday, August 29, 2016

On ACRL, Motherhood, and Social Justice

I did not propose for ACRL 2017 this year. The call for participation was in spring, and it was a bit surreal to not propose when the biennial conference is on my coast, taking place in Baltimore next March.

It was the right decision for a variety of reasons, and I admit that being able to root everyone on, and review and offer feedback on proposal drafts for my colleagues, without the stress of considering my own positioning in the competition for presentation spots, was a nourishing and happy experience for me. My plan was to see what the summer brought me, and if in fall I decided I wanted to attend and have a chance at travel funding to do so, I would propose a poster in time for the October deadline.

Well, the summer brought me something, that’s for sure! I won’t be attending ACRL 2017 this year because, God willing, I’ll be snuggling a newborn here at home while everyone is gathering in Baltimore next March.

That’s right, I’m returning from my summer sabbatical well rested (“sabbatical” comes from the word “sabbath” after all), with quite a few writing projects on their way to publication, and pregnant with my second child. To say I’m excited would be an understatement...this baby is very wanted, and with my daughter Bookie* having just turned four years old, the timing is right for us to seek to welcome another little person into our family.

The details so far are these: I’m eleven weeks along at this point, just one week away from the glorious second trimester in which my appetite will hopefully return and I will feel better. The baby is healthy as of our dating ultrasound scan on August 15, with a strong heartbeat and measuring well.

And, the baby is due in mid-March 2017, literally a few days before ACRL 2017! So, I’m hoping all of my colleague-friends in library land will send prayers and good thoughts north to Scranton as many of you congregate in Baltimore. While I will be somewhat distracted, I can guarantee I will think of you all at times that week, and the awesome work that will be shared at my favorite conference.

It’s hard to miss this meeting, but I looked back on my pattern of attendance and was tickled to see there is a method to the sometimes-chaos of my life.

  • ACRL 2011, Philadelphia, PA, attended: This was my first ever ACRL, and Teresa and I presented a conference paper (pdf) about our work with the ACRL Standards and WPA Outcomes.
  • ACRL 2013, Indianapolis, IN, did not attend: Bookie was born the previous summer, and was under a year old. I skipped this one because I didn’t want to travel during her first year.
  • ACRL 2015, Portland, OR, attended: After missing in 2013, I wanted to get to ACRL 2015 no matter what, and proposed three different things to help raise my chances of an acceptance (and the travel funding it would yield). Not sure I’d recommend this approach moving forward, as two were accepted (here and here), making it an incredibly exhausting conference; however, it was also one of the best conference experiences I’ve had so far in my career.
  • ACRL 2017, Baltimore, MD, will not attend: Literally giving birth to my second child, God willing, right when this conference is going down.

So, if the pattern holds, here’s to getting back to ACRL in 2019! But who knows what could happen between now and then...I only know that it’s one of my favorite and most useful meetings, and getting back after missing in 2017 will be a priority for me.

Tired, happy, and pregnant,
my first week back at work
Regardless, I’m one week into the fall semester at my university, and gradually feeling better after a pretty rough first trimester this summer. In many ways, I’m in my glory: doing a job I love, and growing a human person while doing so. My ability to double or triple task is severely limited, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

And I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t acknowledge the extremely positive working environment of my university and my library, with incredibly supportive colleagues and administrators, as well as faculty union protected rights that enable me to grow my family in this way. Without them and the privilege I experience as a result, being a librarian who is also a parent would be extremely challenging. Would I do it anyway? It’s very likely I would try, but my outlook, my sense of autonomy and self-advocacy, and my ability to put back into my job the fruit of being a woman who is also a mother (or, a librarian who is also a parent), would be severely limited.

And the question of why more library workers (or workers more broadly) don’t share these rights and privileges weighs on me… Within my personal framework of values, it’s one of the most important social justice issues we face, and it intersects with so many others of equal importance.

Perhaps becoming a mother again will lead me to finally map and write my thoughts on working motherhood and its relationship to social justice, since lived experience should always inform our work, whether in the library or on the blog.

In the meantime, here’s to the next seven months until baby (and ACRL 2017 *wink*) are here!

---

*I'm still refraining from sharing my children's real names on the blog and on Twitter. Though my daughter's nickname "Bookie" has passed from frequent use in our household, it's as good pseudonym for her as any for my public writing spaces.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Updates from the Framework Advisory Board [ACRL Insider]

This piece is cross-posted and was originally published in ACRL Insider. It was written by me on behalf of the Framework Advisory Board (FAB).

On June 27, 2016, the ACRL Board of Directors outlined next steps for professional development related to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The purpose of this post is to share in more detail what the Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board (FAB) has been working on to support librarians in using the Framework. Details have been previously shared in a February 2016 C&RL News piece (see “Resources from the Framework for Information Literacy Advisory Board” in News from the Field).

Discussion list  and WordPress Website

FAB’s two-year term began in July 2015. Earlier that spring, ACRL set up the Framework discussion list, as a space for practitioners to share ideas and support in their use of the Framework. As of this writing there are 1,710 subscribers.

FAB’s first order of business was to develop a WordPress website to disseminate information on upcoming professional development opportunities related to the Framework.

Spotlight on Scholarship

In October 2015 the Framework Spotlight on Scholarship (FSS) launched, which is a column / blog post series that curates and describes the Framework literature being published. FSS highlights scholarship that uses, builds on, critiques, or responds to the Framework. Originally a weekly series, after the new year it became biweekly; it is currently on summer hiatus, with plans to return in the second or third week of August 2016. At present the column has published reviews for twenty-one articles.

“Framing the Framework” Webcast Series

As ACRL Visiting Program Officer for Information Literacy, Sharon Mader attended information literacy conferences throughout fall 2015 and identified the opportunity to begin formal (profession-level) conversations with rhetoric, composition, and writing studies scholar-practitioners. In response to this opportunity, FAB planned, coordinated, and helped develop two ACRL e-Learning webcasts: Framing the Framework Series (see “View archived Framework webcast recordings”).

Addressing the theory and practice of collaboration between librarians and writing faculty, the first webcast in January 2016 focused on collaborating through connecting the national guideline documents in both fields, and the second webcast in February 2016 focused on partnerships between writing and information literacy instructors on various campuses. FAB might develop more “Framing the Framework” webcasts in the future, but the initiatives that follow are currently our top priorities.

Sandbox

The Framework Sandbox was first proposed in January 2015 by the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force who developed the Framework. By fall 2015, FAB had developed a vision and purpose for the Sandbox, which is intended to serve as both a platform for sharing and a repository for accessing materials. It will serve as a resource for librarians seeking to engage the Framework in their instructional practice, providing access to materials created by those in the field, in formats including but not limited to concrete lesson plans and assessments, practitioner reflections, conference presentation slidedecks, formal research studies, and theoretical critical analyses.

Practitioners will be able to create their own user accounts through which to upload their materials for others to use and build on, and will in turn be able to search the database for materials using a variety of parameters (such as discipline, information literacy frame, scope, and type of institution). It will be a freely available database for librarians and other academic partners to share, organize, and archive educational resources related to the use of the Framework in practice and professional development.

FAB identified the Cherry Hill Company as a developer who would meet this project’s needs and ACRL entered into contract with Cherry Hill in April 2016. More information about the Cherry Hill Company and the Sandbox can be found in this June 2016 ACRL Insider post. (NB: We are indebted to the librarians behind Project CORA for referring us to Cherry Hill Company, after a positive recommendation of the company’s work in developing that platform.)

If you’re working with the Framework in any capacity, we hope you’ll jump in and share your work once the Sandbox launches in fall 2016.

Toolkit

The Framework Toolkit was conceived in response to feedback that more Framework professional development opportunities should have minimal barriers to access, including monetary cost. The Toolkit will be an online location where content designed to be used for professional development will be made available. FAB (along with Sharon Mader) will be developing the content.

Librarians will be able to use the Toolkit’s resources for their individual professional development needs, to form a community of practice with their colleagues around the Framework and information literacy, and to develop workshops and professional development opportunities in their libraries and/or for local, regional, state, or other events and conferences. It is designed in modules which can be adapted and tailored to the needs of the audience. All of the content will be available under a creative commons license.

Draft Outline of Initial Modules:
  • Introduction and Finding Time to Engage the Framework
  • Foundations of the Framework
  • The Framework’s Structure
  • Collaboration & Conversations with the Framework
  • Developing Goals, Outcomes, and Assessments
  • Hacking the Framework

Future Modules:
  • Curriculum Mapping with the Framework
  • The Framework and Accreditation

FAB’s target launch for this Toolkit is early 2017.

Curriculum Developers/Presenters

A Framework “roadshow” along the same lines as the Scholarly Communications and Standards for Libraries in Higher Education licensed workshops will be developed. Now that the Framework has been in use for over a year and a half there is a growing community of librarians experienced in using the Framework. Through an upcoming call for curriculum developers, we will invite those developing this expertise to help us create these licensed workshops. The curriculum developers will also serve as presenters for both the online and in-person workshops.

In addition, these individuals will lend their expertise to FAB’s development of the freely available Toolkit, strengthening its content by their participation in its development.

If this opportunity interests you, keep an eye out on ACRL Insider and the various Framework communication channels for this call.    

Collaboration with other ACRL groups

FAB is collaborating with the Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC), which is the standing division-level committee responsible for advancing the ACRL Plan for Excellence goal area related to student learning. Collaborative projects to date include a curated Framework calendar of past and future events focused on Framework professional development (conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.) and plans for a curated Framework bibliography.

As Visiting Program Officer, Sharon Mader has been working for the last year and a half with the ACRL Information Literacy Frameworks and Standards Committee (ILFSC) and Chair Jeanne Davidson to revise Chapter 14 of the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures, to outline processes for review, revision, rescinding, and creating new information literacy disciplinary documents. The revisions that were approved by the ACRL Standards Committee at ALA Annual 2016 will be available in the near future on the ACRL website. The ILFSC is also developing a Tipsheet to help sections in this work.

The Communications Studies Committee of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) and the Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) have been working for over a year on new information literacy disciplinary companion documents that relate the Framework to documents and practices in the disciplines. Their progress was reported at the “Framework Update” sessions at ALA Annual 2015 and 2016, and at the WGSS Discussion Forum at ALA Annual 2016, where members of other discipline sections in the audience agreed that everyone would benefit from sharing experiences as they work on their own documents.

Members of FAB are excited to be developing resources that will help librarians at all types of institutions use the Framework. If you have ideas for additional resources that would be helpful please share them with FAB via acrl@ala.org.

Friday, July 1, 2016

My Work on the Framework Advisory Board, Part 2

Disclaimer: Although I am a member of the Framework Advisory Board (FAB), my views shared in this post do not necessarily reflect those of FAB as an ACRL division body, nor of ACRL.

In yesterday’s post I shared about FAB’s activities and initiatives, through the Framework’s formal adoption by the ACRL Board in January 2016. In this post I will cover what we’ve been working on since, to give a picture of the concrete professional development support on the way in the coming months in light of the rescission of the Standards.

Sandbox

The Framework Sandbox has been on the collective mind of the profession since at least January 2015, when the Framework was ‘filed’ by the Board. The ‘filed’ version [pdf] describes the Sandbox twice:

“Develop and maintain an online “sandbox” so that ACRL members and academic librarians can try out approaches to using the Framework and share their experiences,”

“...the emerging research agenda resulting from the Framework and how best to showcase ongoing research in the recommended sandbox.”

FAB spent quite a bit of time discussing, brainstorming, and envisioning what this Sandbox could (and should) be, to meet the needs of information literacy instruction practitioners wanting to share their instructional and other materials related to the Framework.

By fall 2015, we had developed a vision and purpose for the Sandbox, which will be both a platform for sharing and a repository for accessing materials. It will serve as a resource for librarians seeking to engage the Framework in their instructional practice, providing access to materials created by those in the field, in formats including but not limited to concrete lesson plans and assessments, practitioner reflections, conference presentation slidedecks, formal research studies, and theoretical critical analyses.

Practitioners will be able to create their own user accounts through which to upload their materials for others to use and build on, and will in turn be able to search the database for materials using a variety of parameters (such as discipline, information literacy frame, scope, and type of institution). It will be an open access database for librarians and other academic partners to share, organize, and archive educational resources related to the use of the Framework in practice and professional development.

FAB identified the Cherry Hill Company as a developer who would meet this project’s needs. (NB: We are indebted to the librarians behind Project CORA for referring us to Cherry Hill Company, after a positive recommendation of the company’s work in developing that platform.) After several months of conversations and contract talks, ACRL entered into contract with Cherry Hill Company in April 2016.

I am on the Sandbox Project Team within FAB, joining Sharon Mader and Susan Miller, and together we serve as liaisons between Cherry Hill Company, FAB, and ACRL, to manage this project through its development and targeted launch of fall 2016. We are grateful to ACRL for generously funding this important project. More information about the Cherry Hill Company and the Sandbox can be found in this June 2016 ACRL Insider post.

I’ve been excited about the Sandbox since the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force recommended such a space exist to augment the Framework, and getting to take a direct part in its development is one of my best experiences serving on FAB so far.

If you’re working with the Framework in any capacity, I hope you’ll jump in and share your work once the Sandbox launches later this year.

Toolkit

The Framework Toolkit was conceived in response to feedback that more Framework professional development opportunities should have minimal barriers to access, including monetary cost. The Toolkit will be an online location where content designed to be used for professional development will be made available. FAB (along with Sharon Mader) will be developing the content, which in turn is being determined by the questions, confusion, and needs related to the Framework we are receiving and observing from colleagues in the profession.

Librarians will be able to use the Toolkit’s resources for their individual professional development needs, to form a community of practice with their colleagues around the Framework and information literacy, and to develop workshops and professional development opportunities in their libraries and/or for local, regional, state, or other events and conferences. It is designed in modules which can be adapted and tailored to the needs of the audience. All of the content will be licensed CC BY-NC.

Draft Outline of Initial Modules:

  • Introduction and Finding Time to Engage the Framework
  • Foundations of the Framework
  • The Framework’s Structure
  • Collaboration & Conversations with the Framework
  • Developing Goals, Outcomes, and Assessments
  • Hacking the Framework

Future Modules:

  • Curriculum Mapping with the Framework
  • The Framework and Accreditation

This initiative is the most labor-intensive project FAB has planned so far. And yet, it is the initiative we see as possibly having the greatest impact on supporting librarians in embracing and using the Framework, especially when taken in tandem with the Sandbox. Our target launch for this Toolkit is next January at Midwinter 2017.

Curriculum Developers/Presenters

ACRL proposed to FAB the need for a “roadshow” for the Framework, along the same lines as the Scholarly Communications and Standards for Libraries in Higher Education slate of licensed workshops available to libraries. Now that the Framework has been in use for over a year and a half since its ‘filing’, there is a growing community of librarians experienced in using the Framework to positively impact student learning in information literacy, such that putting out a call for curriculum developers to help create these licensed workshops--to train others in doing the same--is now possible.

As such, FAB is working in the next few months to put out this call for curriculum developers who would also serve as presenters of this licensed workshop content, both online and in-person. In addition, these individuals will lend their expertise to FAB’s development of the freely available Toolkit, strengthening its content by their participation in its development.

If this role interests you, keep an eye out on ACRL Insider and the various Framework related communication channels for this call.    

Collaboration with other ACRL groups

FAB has begun collaborating with the Student Learning and Information Literacy Committee (SLILC), as the standing division-level committee with oversight of information literacy work in the association. SLILC has delegated a Framework Project Team to liaise with FAB on projects and initiatives that have the Framework in common. Examples so far include a curated Framework calendar of past and future events (conferences, workshops, webinars, etc.) focused on Framework professional development, and, plans for a curated Framework bibliography of works related to the Framework.

SLILC is also working on a new bi-monthly C&RL News column about the Framework, and I was honored to have been invited to be one of the inaugural authors. As of this writing my article has been assigned to the November 2016 issue.

Sharon Mader has been working in collaboration with the Communication Studies Committee of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS) and the Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS), as they update their discipline-specific information literacy standards documents in conversation with the Framework. She’s also been working with the Information Literacy Standards and Frameworks Committee (ILSFC) as they propose updates to the ACRL Policies and Procedures that include definitions and outline processes for revision and update of the association’s various standards, guidelines, and frameworks.

Sharon Mader gave me permission to share her slides from the “ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Update” presentation she gave at ALA Annual [.pptx download] on June 26, 2016. They contain further details about some of the initiatives described above (including the particular, situated processes EBSS and WGSS are taking to update their discipline-specific standards in light of the Framework--really fascinating stuff!), which are on the way from FAB and ACRL.

***

I hope sharing this information openly and transparently, as a member of FAB but not speaking for FAB or ACRL, is useful and helpful to those for whom the Standards being rescinded last weekend represents a significant shift in how you will do your information literacy instruction work moving forward. FAB is listening, and now that there is no confusion as to the future of these two documents, we are ready to hit the ground running on the above projects, to get you the support, training, and professional development you need.