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Ryan P. Randall

Instruction & Outreach Librarian at the College of Western Idaho ∴ Literary, media & cultural studies ∴ Web Editor at In the Library with the Lead Pipe ∴ Sous les pavés, la plage ∴ We are, as always, stubborn, stoked, and petrified - GY!BE

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Crumpton, Michael A. and Nora J. Bird. 2013. Handbook for Community College Librarians.

Chapter 5: Information Literacy

Information literacy concept arguably goes back to at least as 1880s, with Justin Winsor (first president of ALA) and William Frederick Poole (first director of Chicago PL) both “advocated free libraries on the basis of educating the masses and instilling a desire for self-culture or self-education, especially in those who had newly immigrated to the United States” (p. 39).

In 1960s information literacy was called “bibliographic instruction” or just “BI.”

Evan Farber at Earlham College in Indiana developed one of the first for-credit library instruction courses in the US in 1974. This program used face-to-face, synchronous approach because the staff-to-student ratio worked out. Miriam Dudley advocated for asynchronous with workbooks/handouts, an approach favored by larger institutions.1

As books are no longer the anticipated format for carrying information, “bibliographic” seems increasingly anachronous. Paul Zurkowski is generally credited with the phrase “information literacy,” from a 1974 white paper for the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.

Some college systems use “information fluency” or “information competence” term, so it’s worth being aware of from transfer students. (p. 40)

“Other Literacies” sidebar details:

  • literacy
  • computer literacy (technical literacy)
  • content literacy
  • digital literacy
  • ICT (information communication technology) literacy
  • information competency
  • information fluency
  • information literacy
  • media literacy
  • media-information literacy
  • network literacy
  • transition literacy
  • transliteracy

ACRL issued Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education in 2000, an update of 1987’s Model Statement of Objectives for Academic Bibliographic Instruction. ACRL’s Community and Junior College Section hasn’t made any statements about what should be considered standard at these institutions. (p. 43)

In a small unpublished survey that the authors conducted, responses from 50 community college libraries indicated that only 50 percent had an institution-wide definition of an information-literate student, and only between 10 percent and 20 percent had information literacy initiatives built into the institution’s mission or strategic plan. This shows that information literacy is still library-centric and has not become a priority for educational institutions in general. (p. 44)

Wow. So when students transfer from a place that does not have these standards to one that does, do they have to re-take the classes or otherwise demonstrate that they meet these requirements? How much does this vary between accrediting regions and institutions?

Discussion of critical literacy, Paulo Freire, Troy Swanson and David Patterson on page 45.

Christine Bruce’s Frames / Lenses for Information Literacy

The authors assert that these are presented as somewhat equal possible approaches, with Bruce saying that adopting a particular lens alters our perception:

As we change the lens, the picture of information, content, instruction learning, curriculum, assessment, and information literacy itself changes. Each view has value, but when we limit ourselves to a particular one, we can be less than relevant to some students and their curricular contexts. (45)

Lens: Content is King

  • Information as commodity that can be transmitted, librarian as expert. Once students gain knowledge of how library works, context isn’t important. (45)

Lens: Competency is Permanent

  • Skills seem to be the focus, rather than content. Librarian focuses on teaching skills, as they persist across sets of resources. Instruction design = figuring out which skills are needed. (45)

Lens: Learning Readiness

  • Information is subjective for each student, and both instuction and assessment are highly contextual. (46)

Lens: Personal Relevance

  • Information transformational when valuable for learner. Librarian presents scenarios and is motivational. Assessment best when viewing finished presentations that integrate found information (presumably papers, posters, or speeches rather than smaller worksheets or quizzes?). (46)

Lens: Social Impact

  • Information resides in social or disciplinary norms. (Is this genre theory or something more like sociology?) “Information literacy is about shaping informed societal members.” (46)

Lens: Relational Approach to Information and Learning

  • Widest view of information as objective, subjective, or transformational. Seems most #critlib?
  • “The content of instruction would include critiquing a wide variety of sources and examining the student’s own values in relation to that information. […] The curriculum allows the student to become self-aware of methods for critical assessment. The transformation of the student’s thinking is the focus of assessment.”
  • Information literacy seems conceived of as applying to the broadest range of situations, rather than primarily having a particular scope or focus. (46)

A full information literacy program, then, is looked at through these lenses at each of the constituencies that make up a college community. (47)

So although these lenses seem to be somewhat contradictory, they’re presented as instead being complementary? This is kinda confusing. Maybe I should try to ILL the Bruce and give it a read?

Authors advocate collaborating with faculty experts to make contextualized information literacy instruction. (48)

As the relational approach lens indications, the most flexible information skills can be transformational and can last a lifetime (Bruce 2008). (48)

Authors imply link between fact that information literacy is contextual and difficulty of quantifiable measurement of whether an information literacy class helps a student attain particular, often narrowly defined, goals. (49)

Authors assert that library instruction should assess:

  1. Effect on student learning
  2. Quality of the instruction
  3. Appropriateness of the content covered (49)

Authors reiterate the tension between customizing class instruction (which can be better for students, particularly more advanced who need refinement rather than introduction of concepts) and quantitative assessment strategies. (50)

Chapter 6: Instructional Design

M. David Merrill suggests four phases of instructional design: activation, demonstration, application, and integration.

In information literacy instruction, an example would involve these steps: how to provide information, explaining how to access information, discussion of how to make information comparisons or evaluate resources, and then, perhaps, the proper use of the information obtained. (55)

Overview of learning styles, via Learning Styles Online:

  • visual
  • aural
  • kinesthetic (57)


  • interactive / social
  • print / logical (according to authors, many community college students weren’t successful with this mode, despite it being the most common form of education)
  • haptic
  • olfactory
  • solitary (57-8)

David Kolb’s four-stage learning cycle:

  • concrete experience
  • reflective observation
  • abstract conceptualization
  • active experimentation

Instructional learning objectives to keep in mind, per Morrison, Ross, and Kemp 2004:

  • What is the purpose of this instruction?
  • How can learners demonstrate their understanding of the material?
  • How can you assess whether learners mastered the content?
  • What specific content and performance are expected as a result of the instruction? (58)

Example of moving between different learning styles with different methods of instruction:

a lecture (abstract) on evaluating resources could also include a demonstration (concrete) with some practice time built in (active) and finally a write-up of the experience (reflective) (59)

Dooley, Linder, and Dooley have written Advanced Methods in Distance Education, where they claim that successful distance education learning requires six competencies:

  • understanding adult learning theory
  • having the technical knowledge needed
  • knowing how the instruction is designed
  • relating to communication skills in a virtual environment
  • using graphic design to support learning
  • administrative issues (60)

ADDIE instructional design model, originally developed by Florida State University:

  • Analysis: identify instructional need or problem, address it by establishing instructional goals/objectives, analyze learning environment & learner’s existing knowledge and skill sets
  • Design: “learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, lesson planning, and media selection are developed and strategically planned” Also includes consultation with content instructors about possible assignments and how learning objectives can be assessed.
  • Development: Instruction designers & developers create and assign content materials selected earlier, including programmers developing and/or integrating technologies as necessary.
  • Implementation: Develop procedures for training both the instructors and the learners. Instructor training “should cover the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures”
  • Evaluation:
    • Formative evaluation in each step of the ADDIE process
    • Summative evaluation includes tests designed for specific criteria / referenced items, also giving opportunities for user feedback (62)

Interesting Other Bits

In Sheril Hook’s “Impact? What Three Years of Research Tell Us about Library Instruction” she writes:

I believe we must continue to study information literacy and the most effective ways of teaching and share our findings through publication. We especially need more conceptual pieces that provide a theoretical framework in which to think about information literacy, and we should be looking beyond our borders in order to learn from others. (10)

Chapter 5 & 6 Interesting bibliography bits:

Bruce, Christine. Informed Learning. 2008.
Cook and Sittler, editors. Practical Pedagogy for Library Instructors: 17 Innovative Strategies to Improve Student Learning 2008.
Dooley, LInder, and Dooley.
Hook, Sheril. “Impact? What Three Years of Research Tell Us about Library Instruction.” College & Research Libraries 73.1, 2012.
Nahl, Diane and Dania Bilal. 2007. Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory.
Roselle, Ann. “Community College Students.” in Information Literacy Instruction that Works: a Guide to Teaching by Discipline and Student Population., ed. Patrick Ragains. 2013.
Swanson, Troy A. “Applying a Critical Pedagogical Perspective to Information Literacy Standards.” (2004).
“. “A Radical Step: Implementing a Critical Information Literacy Model.” (2004).

  1. Both of these history tidbits come from Grassian and Kaplowitz 2009, Information literacy instruction: Theory and Practice