Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Article Note: On Collaborating with Faculty for Library Instruction

Citation for the article:

Sanborn, Lura. "Improving Library Instruction: Faculty Collaboration." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 31.5 (September 2005): 477-481.

I read the article via OmniFile.

This is another article discussing library instruction and collaboration with faculty. It goes more into how to gain collaboration as the librarian is preparing to teach. The article's study is set in a private co-ed boarding school, but it has some good ideas. I am admitting that I was a bit sceptical about such a setting because it seems so different from my academic library. The faculty in the place described by Sanborn are more likely to be more close-knit; at least, I think logic would indicate that. However, I was not sceptical enough to dismiss it, so, what did I learn this time?

From the literature review:
  • ". . .the writings surrounding collaboration are similar and center around: How to successfully create a collaborative environment, success stories, and concerns about teachers that undervalue the library and LI" (477).
  • ". . .the Hardesty and Wright study that found the greatest influence on student acquisition of library skills was library instruction" (478). If nothing else, I found this encouraging.
Sanborn met with faculty on separate lunch occasions to discuss past LI experiences, what did and did not work. This would not be as easy for me, but it would certainly not be impossible. Sanborn writes about these meetings that "by meeting with these faculty I was attempting not only to acquire helpful information, but also to promote that I was available to discuss LI and willing to incorporate faculty opinion/specifications into LI sessions" (478-479).

After the meetings, the author e-mailed the faculty members, and the author invited them to meet and talk about ways to collaborate towards an LI session. The emphasis, when discussions occured, was in reaching a common goal for the sessions.

Some of the author's conclusions:
  • "Collaboration with faculty improves the content quality and meaningfulness of a given library instruction session" (480).
  • "This type of collaboration allows librarians to build on the generic, stand-alone tutorial and create a unique lecture, suited especially for a specific class" (480).
While much of this is not new, the article presents a way to help foster collaboration. It is a brief piece that goes from planning to conclusion. The article is a basic activity outline. Its brevity makes it useful, and I am adding it to my working list of articles on the topic of faculty and librarian collaboration.

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