It’s summer, the spring semester is over, maybe things are quieter in the library. Why not take some time for professional development? Of course, as most of you know, learning opportunities are often expensive or, if covered by your workplace, fairly limited. That is why I’ve compiled from a variety of sources a list of free upcoming webinars you might be interested in:
ALA Public Programs Office
What Is a Program, Anyway? Findings from NILPPA, ALA’s National Study of Library Public Programs
Presenters: Carolyn Anthony, consultant and member of the standing committee of the Metropolitan Libraries Section of IFLA; Mary Davis Fournier, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office and director of the National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA)
The Nine Competencies of Programming Librarians: Findings from NILPPA, ALA’s National Study of Library Public Programs
Presenters: Terrilyn Chun, deputy director of Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon; Mary Davis Fournier, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office and director of the National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment (NILPPA)
If you don’t have a NLM/NNLM account, you can create one for free.
Session will be recorded.
Staying visible, relevant and connected with your research community: tips tools and trends from three progressive librarians
Presented by Anna Marie Johnson, head of the Scholars’ Commons at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN; Clare Withers, curator at the University of Pittsburgh University Library System; Katherine Stephan, research support librarian and an academic liaison librarian at Liverpool John Moores University
Instructional design (ID) is not a new field, yet it didn’t start to catch much attention in the library field until around the 2000s. In a Google Scholar search for “instructional design” and “libraries,” the very first academic library journal article that mentions the subject was published in 2000 (Dewald). By now, the term might be familiar to most, but the details could still be fuzzy. Fortunately, I am friends with Pamela Gutman, an instructional designer with the human resources department of the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. She has a M.A. in computing and education and a M.Ed. in instructional technology and media, as well as more than ten years experience working in the ID field. I took the opportunity to email her some questions about ID, which she graciously responded to in detail. I’ve copied the text of our exchange below.
SG: What is instructional design? How long has the concept been around?
PG: Instructional design, sometimes called instructional systems design, is the practice of designing, developing, and delivering effective learning experiences that impart some type of knowledge, skill, or awareness. The field really took off during World War II, but it’s rooted in cognitive and behavioral psychology. You can see an infographic with a brief history of the field here: https://elearninginfographics.com/brief-history-instructional-design-infographic/. Many people have heard of the ADDIE model for instructional design – ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. There are many other models out there, but they generally cover these basic concepts of designing effective learning experiences.
SG: Can you tell me what a typical work day looks like for you? What are you working on right now?
PG: It really depends on which projects I’m actively working on that day! I have quite a few projects and programs that I’m involved with at any one time, so I do tend to have a lot of meetings and group work, and I get a lot of email each day. But most days you’ll also see me designing or developing some type of learning experience. One of my top priorities right now is working with a small team on designing training for a new buddy program, where new hires to my organization will be matched with an experienced colleague. We’re designing learning experiences for the new hire, the buddy, and also the supervisor to help them select the best buddy for that new employee. We’re still in the early stages of the design, but the final product will most likely include some combination of videos, job aids (like infographics, flowcharts, and checklists), online modules, and an in-person kickoff event.
SG: What are some major trends in instructional design that you think are interesting? What are some trends that bother you?
PG: Microlearning is a big trend right now, where content is delivered in small chunks that learners can access just-in-time. Think about the last time you needed to repair something small in your house – did you take a whole class on the subject? Probably not, you most likely watched some videos on YouTube and figured it out through trial and error. This is the same concept; making small learning experiences, like videos, on specific topics that learners can access in the moment they most need them.
I’m also extremely interested in augmented and virtual reality for learning, and I recently attended the Realities360 conference in California on this topic. Learning technologies are really evolving, and I think we’ll see even more in this space soon. I’m looking into using augmented reality for our revamped onboarding program, and I’m also investigating using virtual reality to augment some of our leadership training.
One trend that I’m not really enamored with is gamification, where learning experiences can be turned into games, complete with points, levels, and leaderboards, in order to motivate people to learn. I think gamification can be effective and motivating, but a lot of the time it comes off as gimmicky and can actually detract from learning if it’s done poorly. For example, a flashy memorization game will probably get learners to memorize the content so they can get a high score, but then they’ll quickly forget what they’ve learned. Role playing-type games that are rooted in the learner’s reality, where they are faced with realistic situations and challenges, can be very meaningful and can lead to deeper knowledge. The key is in making the experience close enough to their reality so that they are practicing the skills they are learning, and reinforcing their knowledge.
SG: What mistakes do people most frequently make when giving a course or educational session?
PG: Not spending enough time on the up-front analysis! It’s important to take your time to understand who the audience is, what they already know, and what they should be getting out of the learning experience. This includes both what you want them to come away with and why they should care. We call that the WIIFM, what’s in it for me. If learners, especially adult learners, don’t know upfront how the content is relevant for them, you may lose them completely. You want to tap into their prior knowledge and connect it to their development. There can be a lot of pressure to just create a training quickly but, without analysis and careful design first, it may not lead to the culture change or increased knowledge that you were hoping for. Similarly, people should also keep in mind that a training is not always the right answer. When conducting your needs analysis, you may discover that people already know how to do something correctly, but there’s a process currently in place that’s preventing them from doing what they need to do. In that case, you may need to work with the policy makers on changing the process itself, rather than teaching people how to work within a broken process!
SG: How have you collaborated with librarians in your role? How can academic librarians collaborate successfully with instructional designers?
PG: I haven’t worked with academic librarians in my current role, but I did frequently when I worked at a university in Baltimore. We worked together to help faculty members use technology more effectively with their students, as well as making our learning management system interface better with the library’s resources. I have also seen librarians and instructional designers working together to design courses and learning materials that facilitate mastery of information literacy skills, which is quite an effective pairing! This recording, from the University of Missouri, has some additional ideas – http://blendedlibrarian.learningtimes.net/the-instructional-designer/
SG: Do you have any recommendations for more rapid design models that librarians could use for course-integrated one-shots?
PG: It’s definitely challenging if you’re just teaching a one-off topic and don’t have much information about your students! In this case, you may want to use the SAM model instead of the ADDIE one. SAM, or the Successive Approximation Model, is an iterative development model. Instead of completing all of your analysis then all of your design and then your development, you “build a little, test a little.” Basically, you take what you do know, and make a smaller version of the final product, and get feedback from your learners. Then, you make changes based on what you learned from the previous version and repeat the process. If you’re familiar with software development, it’s the difference between using the waterfall process versus the agile process. This way, you can grow the experience as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
SG: Do you have any basic advice you would give to a librarian (or other teachers) when teaching a group of college students? What about a manager who will need to train new hires?
PG: Start with the WIIFM – what’s in it for them. How will this course/subject impact them, and why should they spend the time to go through this? Make the experience as relevant and meaningful to them as you can. And allow plenty of time for practice, and for getting things wrong! People remember more from what they got wrong than what they got right, and it’s important for them to practice the skills they are learning in a way that has realistic consequences. Even if you’re designing a simple multiple choice question to gauge their knowledge, you can turn it into a scenario asking them what they would do in a particular situation. If they get it wrong, show them what might happen in real life if they make that decision, don’t just tell them the right answer.
SG: What resources would you recommend to new instructors?
PG: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel is a pretty accessible and comprehensive guide to how people learn and what experiences are most effective. Design for How People Learn (Voices That Matter) by Julie Dirksen is another fast read that explores how to make effective educational experiences. There are also many blogs, podcasts, and professional organizations out there. Personally, I’m a big fan of Cathy Moore’s blog; she frequently shares tips for workplace training and I use her action mapping approach for analysis. I’m also a member of the eLearning Guild and the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and they provide a great community and some fantastic webinars and whitepapers.
For developing presentations, online training, and other visual communications, I’d recommend the Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams, Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug, and Slide:ology and Resonate by Nancy Duarte. I am also a big fan of Tom Kuhlmann’s Rapid eLearning Blog and the Articulate e-Learning Heroes online community! The eLearning Guild’s annual conference, DevLearn, is a great experience and can expose you to some amazing examples of eLearning from around the world.
SG: What are your favorite educational tools?
PG: For developing online learning content, I generally use Articulate products. My development tool of choice is Storyline 360, but I’ve also used Rise for fast, responsive mobile experiences. I also have Adobe Captivate, and I generally use that for experiences that require more advanced programming or more complex 508 compliance requirements. I use Audacity to record and edit audio, but I use the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite to make videos and any printed material like job aids and infographics (thank goodness for Adobe Illustrator and Acrobat Pro)! Inkscape is a good vector drawing program if you’re looking for a free option. I’ve had good experiences using Piktochart to make infographics, but I generally prefer to do my own so I have more control over the look and feel. I also use Microsoft PowerPoint a lot to create my own flat images, and I get some free photos from Icon Finder and MorgueFile.
SG: These are great, and so detailed! I had heard of the WIIFM concept through Char Booth’s book Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning, which is geared toward teaching librarians. One follow-up q: Can you tell me one idea you had for using AR for an on-boarding program? Right now I just see Pokémon jumping around.
PG: For the onboarding program, one way we’re looking at using AR is for a scavenger hunt to help people find their way around our confusing campus and to show interesting information like videos about our most important inventions or overviews of what a particular group does. Though we do have a thriving community of Pokemon Go players, that’s not our intent 🙂
Booth, C. (2011). Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators. Chicago: American Library Association Editions.
Dewald, N., Scholz-Crane, A., Booth, A., & Levine, C. (2000). Information Literacy at a Distance: Instructional Design Issues. The Journal of Academic Librarianship.26(1), 33-44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0099-1333(99)00121-4
Shank, J. (2006). The Blended Librarian: A Job Announcement Analysis of the Newly Emerging Position of Instructional Design Librarian. College & Research Libraries, 67(6), 514-524. doi:https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.67.6.514
In the world of librarianship and information literacy, there is always much to be said about evaluating sources. Librarians, especially in academia, are often consulted to determine if a source is credible or not. The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education addresses this conversation of evaluating authority in its first frame, “Authority is Constructed and Contextual.” The frame reads, “Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used” (ACRL, 2016, p.4). This frame stresses the importance of the critical evaluation of resources, with information literate learners taking into account the context of the information. The Framework goes on to say that “Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required” (ACRL, 2016, p. 4).
So, how do we define authority? In a 2017 article, two librarians in New York began a study at their home institution of Long Island University to explore notions of authority within library instruction sessions (Angell & Tewell). In the context of their study, authority is what makes someone (in this case, an author) able to speak to a certain subject or topic, i.e. subject expertise, a special experience, or societal position. The study aimed to explore and better understand “student conceptions of source evaluation and associated ideas of trustworthiness, credibility, and authority” through different activities and methods used in undergraduate library instruction sessions (Angell & Tewell, 2017, p.96).
Angell and Tewell’s methodology spanned across a two-class session for each group of students and had students fill out a worksheet in each session. The first worksheet had students state:
where they found the source
the author and title of the source
who wrote/contributed to the source and how could they tell
how this source may be useful to the student
if they would include the source in their works cited page
The second worksheet, designed for the follow-up session, included the following questions for an article chosen by the students:
Do you think this is a trustworthy source? Why or why not?
Who can publish on this specific topic? Whose voice might be included or excluded?
Both of these worksheet activities encouraged students to consider what made a source credible or not, how the source could be used in a students’ project, and how does authority affect what information is there. In response to the questionnaire results, the authors pointed out that there are some implications for teaching information literacy. When teaching, instructors should consider demonstrating the complexity of information’s creation and evaluation, involving students in “reflection upon the sources they use and investigating their different purposes and intents,” questioning the privileging of peer reviewed articles, and focusing or structuring one’s teaching activities upon students’ experiences and voices (Angell & Tewell, 2017, p.114).
Angell & Tewell’s practice is simply one way of addressing the evaluation of sources and conservation of authority in information literacy sessions. Some librarians utilize the CRAAP Test in their classrooms. CRAAP has traditionally stood for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose and is a popular tool to teach resource evaluation to students. In a 2018 article, the CRAAP Test was introduced to students in an undergraduate science writing course. This article poses the question, “Are students really learning to think critically about resources when the resources don’t have any identifiable flaws?” (Lewis, 2018). The author utilized the CRAAP Test to dive deeper into the given source to determine its credibility and appropriateness from the easily identifiable aspects (i.e. date, author, publisher) and by also exploring the more complex concepts of evaluation (such as bias, data without corresponding sources, etc.). The author found that while this tool can be useful when evaluating both scholarly and popular resources, this method was especially useful when applied to web-based information. The author concluded that the CRAAP Test can offer a foundational framework for students to evaluate sources and students “still need to be able to think critically about the quality of information they find” (Lewis, 2018).
I’ll end this post by highlighting a cool tool that came through the listservs recently on the topic of evaluating sources. Thanks to Jennie Callas from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside who posted this to the Information Literacy Instruction Discussion List (and who “lightly adapted” it from UW-Greenbay) — introducing: Rate My Source. Rate My Source is an interactive, web-based tool that teachers can introduce in their information literacy classes and encourage students to utilize at home. Here’s how it works: first, you enter in the title or URL of the source you plan to evaluate. Next, it asks the user a series of questions meant to probe the user into thinking about the different aspects of the source (i.e., date published, author, etc). It’s hands-on and easy to use, asks appropriate questions that get the user thinking, and provides the user with an explanation for each selection they choose (for example: when asked the date of the source, if you choose “more than 10 years old” it replies with, “Many fields of study value more current research, but there are some exceptions. Think about the importance of currency to your topic. For historical topics, it’s a good idea to check for more recent sources, but for rapidly-changing topics it is essential”). However, the tool does tend to categorize most answers into “right” and “wrong,” although there are some exceptions. This may be somewhere that some librarians may want to allow more fluidity. In that regard, this tool could be certainly customized or copycatted for a similar use at your institution or used as-is, so be sure to check it out. This tool certainly cannot replace information literacy sessions and interaction with a librarian, but it could be a useful takeaway for students to use at home with the disclaimer that when in doubt, ask your librarian!
While I am not here to tell you which method is best for addressing evaluation and authority in your classroom, I wanted to provide context of the ACRL Framework and some practiced examples. We also have to remember that criteria for source evaluation “must stay current as popular information sources change” (Angell & Tewell, 2017, p.100). Hopefully this blog post will inspire you to think about how you approach these topics at your institution.
Association of College and Research Libraries (2016). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education [PDF file]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework.
Lewis, Abbey B. (2018). What Does Bad Information Look Like? Using the CRAAP Test for Evaluating Substandard Resources. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, no. 88. Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/18-winter/tips2.html.
There’s already a lot written about the obstacles working parents, particularly working moms of young children, face: sleeplessness, divided attention, guilt, discrimination, stretched income, the list goes on. I won’t be talking about that, however; as a newish mom, I find it depressing, and I believe it’s already known. What I would like to know instead is this: Can being a parent of young children bring positive influences and skills to the job of an academic librarian?
Doing a bit of research, I discovered two different pieces published in 2015 that asked similar questions. One is an article by Alexandra Gallin-Parisi, “The Joy of Combining Librarianship and Motherhood,” in which she interviewed 21 academic librarians, asking them open-ended questions about how their roles as parents and librarians influenced each other (pp. 9-10). The other work is a book chapter by Samantha Hines, “More Than Just Story Time: How Librarianship Prepares You for Parenting, and Vice Versa.” Hines sent out a survey that focused more specifically on skills transfer between the roles of librarian and parent (p. 26).
The results of their studies point to a few concrete positive qualities that parenting young children brought to the subjects’ professional lives. The authors also recorded the influences and skills that moved in the other direction: i.e., what the job brought to parenting, and what negative influences went both ways. I’m only going to cite here the positive influences and skills they mention that parenting seems to bring to librarianship, but I encourage you to read both of their works in full for additional context.
Various soft skills were named in both authors’ investigations. Samantha Hines wrote that 11 of her survey respondents believed they had become more compassionate and understanding people. Patience was mentioned by five respondents (p. 27); Listening skills and acknowledgment of others’ feelings were also listed by one person each (p. 28). Gallin-Parisi wrote that “increased sensitivity to students” was a theme she discovered in her interviews with librarians (p. 14). All of these abilities would be relevant to educators, liaisons between departments, and anyone who works with faculty and students on a daily basis.
A number of respondents to Hines’s survey mentioned improving in the following connected areas: efficiency (3 respondents), prioritizing (1), juggling priorities (1), and becoming less perfectionist (2) (p. 27-8). Despite what people in our culture might think, needing to be perfect all the time is not a good thing. With universities and colleges cutting their budgets, plenty of librarians have to do more with less time, and the compulsion to get every detail perfect poses a problem. In all, these are desirable qualities.
Gallin-Parisi also discovered that a number of her interviewees had become better at avoiding burnout (p. 14), while Hines had six respondents write that they had become strong proponents of work/life balance (p. 27); another survey respondent said they had improved at setting limits (p. 28). Employees are often hesitant to set limits and push for work/life balance in their libraries out of fear of ruffling feathers or worse. Yet setting reasonable limits is one way parent-librarians can prevent themselves from burning out. It is true that non-parents often feel that the parents in their office ask for and sometimes receive special treatment (see posts by AskAManager and the Daily Mail UK.). But parents who push for greater work-life balance for everybody based on their own needs would help to alleviate the feelings of others who, at heart, probably need a break. This is not to say that parent-librarians are really getting much of a break due to these “perks.”
Some of Gallin-Parisi’s interviewees surprised her in saying they had a newfound pride in their identity as librarians after having children (p. 14). Passion and enthusiasm are always a boon in the workplace, and I speculate that librarianship, or work in general, with its possibilities for unambiguous accomplishments and tasks with clear beginnings and ends, brings a welcome respite from the often dismissed and hard-to-explain-unless-you’ve-done-it work of childcare.
Hopefully, more research will be published in the future on these questions. Now we’d like to hear from you. How do you think parenthood has made you a better librarian or library worker? Or, in your experience, do you think the qualities mentioned above are widespread or not? Please let us know in the comments!
Online registration for this Friday’s event on removing/overcoming obstacles for the disabled is closed, but you can still register! RSVP to Mike Kiel and write a check at the door. His information can be found on the event registration site.
Joe Beckett began working in the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in April 2014 as the Coordinator of the Maryland Accessible Textbook Program. Joe, prior to his position as MAT Coordinator, was an educator and administrator for seventeen years. He holds degrees in English and Special Education and has extensive post-graduate studies in the area of Education Administration. He is an avid reader, enjoys writing, and traveling (as often as possible) with his wife and daughter to any place with white sand and blue skies.
Ashley has had a wide and varied history as a librarian. She started her career in 2009 as a Reference Librarian for the St. Tammany Parish Library System in Covington, Louisiana before becoming the head of their Genealogy Department. While there, she began creating outreach, education, and marketing opportunities for the genealogy and local history collection. Through these efforts, the library saw an increase in use, and in turn, Ashley was able to successfully advocate for the inclusion of more digital materials and expanded collections. In 2013, she became the Branch Manager of a regional library branch in Central Mississippi; as a result of working a regional system, Ashley became passionate about outreach, marketing, and community engagement. To that end, Ashley began working with the local library association on teaching library leadership methods, creating community engagement opportunities, and promoting libraries as community hubs. She also worked diligently with local schools, Chambers, and community leaders to raise the standing of the library in the community, increasing library usage and event attendance. In 2017, she joined the MD State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped as the Outreach Librarian. Here, Ashley again became passionate about creating community engagement opportunities of all kinds, creating sustainable and accessible marketing opportunities, and connecting LBPH with branch libraries across the state. Outside of the library, Ashley is a strong advocate for mental health education and reform, writes picture books, and looks for any opportunity to dress up in costumes. For more information, please visit www.ashleymbiggs.com.
Director of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
LaShawn Myles is the Youth Librarian at the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH). On a good day, you will find her creating accessible programs, building partnerships, and expanding services for youth with visual impairments across the state. LaShawn believes every child should have the keys necessary for this increasingly technological world, and has undertaken creating and implementing accessible STEAM programs with Maryland public libraries. Before starting a career with LBPH, LaShawn worked as an educator and school library media specialist for 18 years with Baltimore City Public Schools.
John is the Assistant Director at the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. In this capacity he coordinates internal operations including circulation and equipment, collection, reference and information, patron services and assistive technology. John works to make sure he and the staff give excellent customer service at each point of the patron experience with LBPH. He previously held positions at Baltimore County Public Library in several branches across the county both in buildings and bookmobiles.
Assistive Technology Specialist
Karyn Schulz, Ed.D. started her career in higher education in 1992 as the Learning Disability Coordinator at Essex Community College. She has remained in higher education dedicating nearly 20 years of her career to disability support services. During her tenure she has collaborated with peers in other USM institutions to establish state-wide documentation guidelines, policies and processes for use of certain services and most recently, was a part of a small group of disability support providers that created the USM Instructor Technology Guidelines and soon to be live, website. Through her work she has continued to stay up-to-date on accessibility issues, particularly focusing on technology, as she sees this as the means to independence for the students she workswithat the University of Baltimore.
9:30-10:00 – Check in and coffee
10:00-10:15 – Welcome and Program Introduction
10:15-11:30 – Presentation John, Karyn, Others: Overcoming Barriers to Access
11:30-12:30 – Lunch
12:30-1:15 – Tour
1:15-2:00 – Technology Demonstrations and Petting Zoo
2:00-3:00– Breakout Discussions: Improving Our Libraries
3:00-3:15 – Wrap up
3:15-3:30 – Evaluations
To focus the discussion on welcoming spaces and information-access barriers for those with disabilities, we would like to hear from YOU about what you’re interested in discussing. It would be awesome if you could answer all or any of these questions in the comments, or Tweet at us at @acrlmd.
1) What have you witnessed or experienced (or failed to witness or experience) in your institution that has led you to think there are barriers to your library services and resources?
2) What have you and your colleagues already done to try making your library and workplace more welcoming to the disabled (which could include those with low vision or hearing, or those who are non-neurotypical)? How has it worked for you? How not?