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Faculty / Librarian Collaboration Toolkit: Instruction -- Classroom level

Investigate and support best practices in faculty and librarian collaboration to more effectively meet local institution and library missions and serve the campus community.

Collaborating through Classroom Instruction

What are we doing well?

Librarians and faculty are actively working together to advance information literacy competencies.  Faculty were generally quite satisfied with the performance of librarians in this area and consider instruction as impactful.

  • Faculty utilizing librarians for instruction – more than 2/3rd of respondents have requested sessions.
  • Faculty engage with librarians prior to instruction in a number of ways with email leading the results. The least used methods were telephone and online request forms.
  • The majority of faculty (80%) provide libraries with materials prior to instructional sessions with the majority, over half 51%, always providing these. One comment captured the level of collaboration with the librarian: “Our medical librarian is integral to the formation of topics, delivery, making the lib guide completely reflective of my course needs, meets with every student , makes engaging dynamic interactive presentations, and comes up with super ideas to enrich the course experience. We are team teachers in the best sense- affirming the process of research, analysis, evaluation, communication and synthesis. We show the students that this is a professional, ongoing, fascinating and intellectually rewarding process.”
  • Faculty, 99% answering the question, overwhelmingly feel they are able to provide feedback on library sessions.
  • Of the 93 responses, 95% of faculty concurred that librarian led instruction has impact, well over half 58%, indicating a substantial effect.

What can we improve on?

Although a fair percentage of faculty requested some form of library instruction, nearly a third did not.  The level of engagement in the process and IL instruction varied among faculty.  Not all had moved beyond conversation and cooperation to true collaboration.

  • Are we meeting all instruction needs given 29% of faculty responded that they have not requested instruction with 1% not aware of this service?

Should PALNI gather further information to determine factors contributing to this?

Should we map sessions to majors or courses?

What further data would be helpful?

  • A number of faculty did not answer whether they engage with faculty prior to instruction. Are these part of the 29% who have not requested instruction? One respondent indicated he / she has “no contact with librarians prior to instructional sessions other than to request and schedule the session. Technically not for my class, but as an administrator I schedule regular library research.”

Should librarians do more to reach out to faculty prior to instruction? What do we do now?

  • If faculty do not provide materials such as syllabi prior to instruction do librarians find these themselves?
  • Though only 1 comment, one faculty felt his suggestions for improvement were disregarded.
  • There were no comments to detail the impact of library instruction, which would be useful information.

Did it impact academic performance? Better writing, citing, critical analysis and synthesis? How can or do librarians get this information?

  • About a third of respondents do not provide answers to questions.Does this mean it didn’t apply?

What surprises us?

The high percentage of faculty involved with and supportive of library instruction.

Key Findings

  1. A number of libraries implemented an embedded model that gives librarians a presence in the course with purposeful interaction with students through consultation and discussion, employing varied methods of embedding:
  1. Co-locating with liaison departments
  2. Customized embedded services and resources (e.g. resource and research guides, librarian consultations, etc.)
  3. Assignment-integrated IL sessions
  4. Co-instruction – librarian a course instructor
  5. Hybrid, flipped model combining online course materials and face-to-face instruction with digital content for review and reinforcement prior to class
  1. One library established a “teach the teacher” model for integrating information literacy into the curriculum; e.g. librarians providing faculty with the skills for IL instruction to be deployed in the classroom
  2. When providing virtual instruction or resource / service provision, need to consider issues related to online delivery via learning management system (LMS) related to interaction, feedback and evaluation of student performance
  3. Give students opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support, working together to master IL competencies
  4. Since information literacy is too big a topic for librarians to teach alone and do an efficient and effective job, involve faculty to teach these skills
    1. Will need to overcome the reluctance on part of faculty to devote class-time to “skills-based” instruction, convincing them of the value of partnering with librarians to advance students’ ability to “learn how to learn”

Literature Review

Clifton, S., & Jo, P. (2016). A journey worth taking: Exploring a hybrid embedded library instruction model through three distinct cases. Medical

Reference Services Quarterly, 35(3), 305-318. doi:10.1080/02763869.2016.1189784

Cowan, S., & Eva, N. (2016). Changing our aim: Infiltrating faculty with information literacy. Comminfolit, 10(2), 163-163.


Hackman, D., Francis, M., Johnson, E., Nickum, A., & Thormodson, K. (2017). Creating a role for embedded librarians within an active learning

environment. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 36(4), 334-347. doi:10.1080/02763869.2017.1369280

Kinsley, K., Brooke Hill, L., & Maier-Katkin, D. (2014). A research and class model for future library instruction in higher education. New Library

World, 115(9/10), 482-495. doi:10.1108/NLW-05-2014-0057

McGowan, B., Gonzalez, M., & Stanny, C. (2016). What do undergraduate course syllabi say about information literacy? Portal: Libraries and the

Academy, 16(3), 599-617.

Olesova, L., & Melville, A. (2017). Embedded library services: From cooperation to collaboration to enhance student learning in asynchronous

online course. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 11(3-4), 287-299. doi:10.1080/1533290X.2017.1404546

Paterson, S., & Gamtso, C. (2017). Information literacy instruction in an English capstone course: A study of student confidence, perception,

and practice. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(2), 143-155. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2016.11.005

Things to consider moving forward …

Working closely with faculty members,

Establish support for IL instruction.

  • Foster communication within the academic community to garner support for an information literacy program
  • Attain or maintain campus administration and faculty commitment to integrate library instruction into the curriculum
  • Establish or emphasize information literacy as a critical general education competency
    • Potentially as a component of critical thinking or lifelong learning

Establish a framework for IL instruction and assessment.

  • Align IL programming and curriculum with course level curriculum
    • Conduct syllabi review or survey faculty to determine what happens and what is needed in regards to information literacy instruction
    • Establish IL learning objectives and teaching mythologies
    • Map curriculum to Framework (2016), adjusting program goals and outcomes accordingly
  • Develop or obtain and then implement assessment tools and strategies for:
    • Pre-information literacy skills
    • Course and program level IL
    • Classroom level IL
  • Provide a technological infrastructure for information literacy instruction
    • Maintain, enhance and expand as needed spaces and equipment including those applicable to the virtual environment

Establish curriculum and programming for IL instruction.

  • Develop or review models of course-integrated information literacy assignments or projects
  • Continue to develop the instructional components of the Library’s Web site

Establish a collaborative and competent team for IL instruction.

  • Increase information literacy professional development opportunities for librarians and faculty
    • Introduce faculty to the concepts and curriculum of information literacy
    • Provide and support continuing education amongst librarians and faculty

Open Source Lesson Plans for Teaching Information Literacy

Best Practices

1. Continue to keep abreast of best practices, issues, trends, and success stories in information literacy instruction, periodically reviewing the literature to identify areas for further exploration or implementation at an institutional or consortial level.

2. Continue to share information among colleagues and provide support for collaborative activities among librarians – either replication of a study to provide data for how to move forward or for implementation of specific programs or activities.

3. Work closely with faculty in the process of developing and implementing information literacy programming, collaborating on planning, curriculum development, assessment and evaluation.

4. Establish partnerships with campus departments / teams centered on teaching, learning, pedagogy, and curriculum.

5. Educate librarians about learning styles, active learning and other teaching methodologies that can be applied to IL instruction.