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Faculty / Librarian Collaboration Toolkit: Instruction -- Program 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 Program Level Instruction

There is plenty of research to demonstrate students’ research skills increase when faculty collaborate with librarians to foster IL competencies (Junisbai, Lowe, & Tagge. 2016). Persistence, willingness to participate in university conversations, flexibility, and communication are key in developing an Information Literacy program that will be embraced by faculty and university alike.

What are we doing well?

69.9% of Faculty have requested a librarian to provided instruction on Information literacy or research.

50% of the Faculty collaborating with librarians to create a course or program-specific Library Guide (LibGuides).


What can we improve on?

41.8% of the Faculty have NOT collaborated with librarians to create a course or program-specific Library Guide (LibGuides).

8.2% did even know it was an option to work with faculty on course guides

Comments in response to "Discuss any ways you would like to collaborate with library staff at your institution that you are currently not doing" indicate that Faculty desire more collaboration:

"Library staff should be invited to department school meetings once each semester to discuss faculty library needs for classes and research."

"Wish I had more time to!"

Very helpful, but I wish the library had a bigger staff.

". . . in the future, more discussions on long-term strategies of collaboration and of the philosophy of the library in its work"


What surprises us?

It shouldn't surprise us, but its always good to hear how much librarians are appreciated by the classroom faculty.  

"He is a strong advocate for linking instruction with the library and we have such great resources to do that. ___ also thinks creatively and effectively about what an academic library's function is."

"Excellent training provided by library staff!"

"Faculty/library collaboration has been fantastic"

"He is a great support to students and faculty"

"Her work with the students is outstanding and greatly enhances the learning."

"I would say that our library staff are very proactive about seeking involvement in our classes, which is much appreciated"

"My course assignments are developed with the assistance of librarian. It gets better every years."

"Librarians have contributed substantially to both survey and upper-level courses, both in organizing online presentations and highlighting archival material."

Comments word cloud

Key Findings

  1. A successful collaboration with one faculty member will often grow a larger program.
  2. Faculty are interested in Information literacy; meet them in their discipline
  3. Find an advocate to work with
  4. Do your homework
    1. Have research to back up your proposals
    2. Learn about the faculty’s discipline

Literature Review

Belzowski, N., & Robison, M. (2019). Kill the One-Shot: Using a Collaborative Rubric to Liberate the Librarian–Instructor Partnership.
Journal of Library Administration, 59(3), 282–297.
Brooks, M. (2017). Teaching TEI to undergraduates: A case study in a digital humanities curriculum. College & Undergraduate Libraries,
Cowan, S., & Eva, N. (2016). Changing Our Aim: Infiltrating Faculty with Information Literacy. Communications in Information Literacy,


Dawes, L. (2019). Through Faculty’s Eyes: Teaching Threshold Concepts and the Framework. Portal: Libraries & the Academy, 19(1),
Egan, S. E., Witt, A. N., & Chartier, S. M. (2017). Going Beyond the One-Shot: Spiraling Information Literacy Across Four Years. Internet
Reference Services Quarterly, 22(1), 25–41.

Gilman, N. V., Sagàs, J., Camper, M., & Norton, A. P. (2017). A Faculty-Librarian Collaboration Success Story: Implementing a Teach-the-
Teacher Library and Information Literacy Instruction Model in a First-Year Agricultural Science Course. Library Trends, 65(3), 339–358.
Johns, E. M., Price, C., & Ungaretti, A. S. (2019). Where in the World Is My Librarian? Creating Cross-Campus Collaborations to Seamlessly
Connect with Students When Librarians, Students, and Faculty Are in Different Locations. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 13(1/2), 21–39.
Johnson-Grau, G., Archambault, S. G., Acosta, E. S., & McLean, L. (2016). Patience, Persistence, and Process: Embedding a Campus-wide
Information Literacy Program across the Curriculum. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6), 750–756.
Junisbai, B., Lowe, M. S., & Tagge, N. (2016). A Pragmatic and Flexible Approach to Information Literacy: Findings from a Three-Year Study
of Faculty-Librarian Collaboration. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(5), 604–611.

Kordas, M., & Thompson, T. (2018). Better Together: A Collaborative Model for Embedded Music Librarianship. Music Reference Services

Phillips, M., Van Epps, A., Johnson, N., & Zwicky, D. (2018). Effective Engineering Information Literacy Instruction: A Systematic Literature
Review. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 44(6), 705–711.

Pickard, E. (2017). From Barrier to Bridge: Partnering with Teaching Faculty to Facilitate a Multi-term Information Literacy Research
Project. Collaborative Librarianship, 9(3), 175–182.

Wishkoski, R., Lundstrom, K., & Davis, E. (2018). Librarians in the Lead: A Case for Interdisciplinary Faculty Collaboration on Assignment
Design. Communications in Information Literacy, 12(2), 166–192.

Zanin-Yost, A. (2018). Academic collaborations: Linking the role of the liaison/embedded librarian to teaching and learning. College &
Undergraduate Libraries, 25(2), 150–163.

Suggested Actions

1.  Study the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) for your college/university or academic program.  Identify where the ACRL Framework for IL naturally fit. 

2.  Use curriculum mapping to identify where instruction and the frames easily fit within a program. 

See Webinar, ACRL IS M&LC: Creating the big picture: Improving instruction programming through curriculum mapping

3.  Partner with classroom faculty with whom you already have a good relationship.  Ask questions.  What are the research / IL needs evident in their students?  What are some ways for a librarian to meet that need?  Listen for partnering opportunities that benefit the library, faculty member, program, and student learning.  Be willing to be flexible.

4.  Start small and allow successes to create growth.

Best Practices

1. Communicate.

2. Align the Information literacy program with learning outcomes for the College/University, School, or degree program.

3. Support your Information Literacy plan with data

4. Be open to using multiple methods: LibGuides, LMS Embedding, in-person/virtual consultations, synchronous sessions, online tutorials, in person instruction/workshops.

5. Include assessment from the beginning

6. Be vigilant – look for opportunities and flexible

7. Remember collaboration is a two-way street

8. Communicate