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Information Literacy & Library Instruction: Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

A Culture of Information

"The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities." 

This is the mantra carried through R. David Lankes's Atlas of New Librarianship (2011).  We live in a culture of abundant information, available to us through multiple modes of communication. In this age of information abundance libraries are not simply warehouses of artifacts, but rather spaces (physical and virtual) in which knowledge is accessed, created, and communicated in a variety of modes. And librarians are the facilitators of that knowledge creation through providing access, as experts in navigating the tools of access, and in promoting lifelong learning (information) skills.

Goals of the Armacost Library Instruction Program

The Armacost Library strives to build a comprehensive instruction program.  The Subject Librarians in partnership with each other and with program faculty will identify formal sets of goals and learning objectives for University of Redlands students in the general education core curriculum and in the majors.  Some preliminary objectives for the Armacost Librarians include:

1. Introduce all students to basic information skills early in their college career.

2. Work with department and program faculty to integrate instruction on information skills within the curriculum, iteratively building on academic habits of mind and skills learned at each level. 

3. Make use ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (2015) to develop learning outcomes that fit specific disciplines, programs, and courses.

4. Ensure that all University of Redlands graduates have an understanding of the information cultures of their disciplines, and knowledge of the ways in which professional practitioners and scholars within those fields communicate.

5. Challenge students to critically evaluate the flows of information in which they are immersed.

6. Collaborate with other programs (Writing Across the Curriculum, Speech, Academic Computing) in order to build students' communication skills using a variety of modes of communication. 

Teaching Philosophy

The Armacost Library is committed to employing a broad range of instructional strategies in order to provide positive and meaningful learning experiences. We strongly believe in learner-centered experiences, and utilize active and problem-based learning techniques.  Furthermore, well-timed library instruction integrated into the curriculum provides students the opportunity to use information skills in relevant and transformative ways.  The Armacost Subject Librarians regularly engage in exploration of and professional development related to pedagogical strategies, instructional design, and theories of teaching and learning. 

We dedicate ourselves to working with our partners across the University on a continual basis to stay current with curricula and best practices in pedagogical techniques.

Role of Subject Librarians

The primary responsibilities of your Subject Librarian are to regularly communicate and be responsive to the needs of faculty and students in their programs (and in your courses). They are responsible for collaborating with you to develop curricula and provide instruction that promotes information literacy, for research consultation in these areas of study, for collection development in relation to your curricula, and for contributing support for program and accreditation review processes. Consider your Subject Librarian your advocate and colleague in the Library.

Guidelines for Library Instruction

What do we need to know?

1. We will ask you to share your syllabus and/or a description of the primary assignment for the course with the goal of preparing a library session that will assist your students in successfully fulfilling the components of that assignment.

2. We would like to know about the culture of your class.  Is this a group that enjoys group work, that actively participates in discussion, that is inquisitive, that is excited by competition, that is creatively-oriented, etc.?

3. Let us know if any students in your class have special needs requiring accommodation?

4. Share your learning objectives for the library instruction.  We can work together to formulate relevant goals for library instruction sessions.

Decode Academy, Barbara Fister

Abstract: Developing both the skills and the disposition to engage in inquiry is a ubiquitous if ill-defined goal of higher education. Libraries are a space, physical and social, where students practice a number of inquiry skills they can use after graduation to make a living – and, more importantly, to make a difference. But it’s hard to take the long view. Students are focused on completing assignments as efficiently as possible. Faculty want to cover content. Administrators want strong retention and completion rates. Who has time to think about what comes next? The information universe that librarians invite students to use is so complex that learning just enough to complete academic tasks saturates our instructional efforts, distracting us from a fundamental question: what experiences do we provide that support long-lasting and meaningful learning? How will what students learn in our libraries today help them make meaning in the information universe of the future?