Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yarning Along the Path from BI to IL

I look at the stitches and see my own thinking.

I'm back at work after two weeks of holiday. As festive and restful as the time off was, I am ready to return to my work. This week is quiet in the library, which means I continued the scholarly reading first mentioned in my last Yarn Along post.

"Changing Landscapes, Enduring Values:
Making the Transition from Bibliographic Instruction
to Information Literacy"
by Elizabeth O. Hutchins,
Barbara Fister, and Kris (Huber) MacPherson in
  Journal of Library Administration 36.1/2 (2002): 3-19,
and my continued chunky garter stitched cowl. 

I wasn't going to post this week since I'm flitting from article to article at this point. But once I started reading the article I'm sharing today, I realized it deserves a post so I could process it further. It is a piece that describes the positive transition from bibliographic instruction (BI) to information literacy (IL), where the latter builds upon the foundation set by the former, at two liberal arts schools in Minnesota. It is co-authored by Barbara Fister, a researcher and practitioner in my field whose ideas challenge and excite me, and whose Twitter feed is one of the most edifying of those I follow. She's been doing information literacy, and doing it well, since before the term rocked the library profession in 1989. She's awesome.

In my current project, I'm doing a sort of historical retrospective about information literacy in my field, as well as information literacy as discipline. There's more to the project than that, but I want to wait until a later post to share the gritty details. For now, suffice it to say I am immersed in the LIS literature that documents, reports, analyzes, and reflects on the shift that occurred in academic libraries between 1989 and 2000 (and beyond), from delivering "bibliographic instruction" to delivering "information literacy instruction". And this article, "Changing Landscapes, Enduring Values" (see image caption above for full citation) is fantastic for my project. I'm finding myself nodding along in excitement, cheering quietly at my desk, and reacting in all sorts of engaging ways with the piece -- much of which winds up in my marginalia. 

Excited marginalia is exciting :)

...which led me to tweet the following last night in my excitement:

I was sighing (or #sighing) wistfully because one of the schools the article offers as a case study has an active and engaged tradition of student scholarship, where student scholars annually attend conferences to present their work, often done in collaboration with the faculty who teach them. These are undergraduates, mind you. And the library at this school is involved in this tradition of research excellence. #sigh indeed. And awesome (or #awesome?). It's from reading case studies like these that I get reinvigorated to pursue the same kind of excellence in information literacy collaboration at my own institution. This reinvigoration is vital to my ability to do my job well.

Here is a representative nugget from the article:
Librarians work with academic colleagues as peers and fellow educators. This mutual respect contributes directly to collaboration and, in turn, to students becoming more engaged in their research. Librarians and classroom faculty share the goal of preparing students to participate in scholarly conversations, to evaluate resources critically through a particular disciplinary lens, and to be capable of contributing to the discipline's scholarly discourses. (p. 7)
This is exactly what I strive for in my work with my research partner and co-teacher, Teresa, on our campus. It's so exciting when it "works". But it's even more exciting when you can scale it as well as model it for wider adoption by your peers. This is something Teresa and I are working with an eye towards at our institution...though how it may happen here is yet to be seen.

It's getting there... (And it's even longer now!)
And I've added to the chunky scarf I started before the holiday break! More than ever, knitting is helping me process all I'm reading. I am loving doing these two things together. I also think this is going to be more of a cowl than a scarf: I'm envisioning the kind of thing where I add a few chunky buttons to one end, and create a button hole on the other end, and you wear it by crossing the ends just below your neck and buttoning it closed. It's very chunky. But it's also mesmerizing, for me at least, as the one who is making it.

That's what I have for today's Yarn Along. Thanks for reading! 

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