Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Article Note: A bibliography of influential books for instruction librarians

Citation for the article:

Brier, David J. and Vickery Kaye Lebbin, "Ike Loa: a List of Influential Books Shaping the Instruction Librarian's Teaching and Learning Philosophy." Reference Services Review 34.4 (2006): 607-643.

Read via Emerald. By the way, this particular issue, covering the LOEX-of-the West 2006 had a good number of articles I found interesting, so I will likely be posting notes on those articles over time.

This note will be a little different. The article is basically an annotated bibliography that contains 192 books that instruction librarians consider influential to their teaching and learning philosophies. The teaching philosophy, and I suppose my learning philosophy as well since I think both would be linked, is a topic that I have been giving some thought as of late. So, for me at least, this list comes at a good time. While the list does contain some basics of library instruction, in reality it is a collaborative list. The list was produced for the LOEX-of-the-West 2006 where the conference organizers solicited titles from the attendees, and the attendees also provided brief annotations. The list ranges from classical works of fiction and nonfiction to items related to librarianship. And even though it was supposed to be a list of books, they did include some articles as well. I will admit that a part of me felt that I have a lot to read. Based on the evidence of this blog, I read quite a bit in my professional area, and a few things in other areas, and yet, I found myself saying that I need to read such and such a title. While I am not aspiring to read the entire list, there are various books that I will try to pick up as soon as I can. There were a few items that I have read already, and I would like to simply take a moment to write down some of my thoughts, in a way, duplicate what the participants did.

The authors of the article describe their goal as:

"Our goal here is to help instruction librarians reflect on and articulate their educational, learning, and teaching philosophy. An important step in that process is understanding where their philosophy came from, including major books that prompted, shaped, and changed their ideas. We are hopeful that by comparing and contrasting the titles and descriptions of influential works listed here that each conference participant can solidify and broaden their own thoughts and values on who they are as an instructor" (609).

I can only hope that doing this will help spark some ideas for revisions and reflection down the road. So, here are a few things I have read from the list:

  • Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451. This is a book I have mixed feelings about. I always wondered what living book I would become if it came down to such a totalitarian vision. I usually answer that I would memorize One Hundred Years of Solitude. These days, The Alchemist might be another option. The mixed feelings come because I had to teach the book during my high school days, and I got tired of it.
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote. I read this in high school, in the original. I still remember the paper I had to write on it, which inspired me to read another novel about knights errant so I could understand what it was that Quixote read that drove him to madness. I read the Amadis de Gaula. If nothing else, Don Quixote brings out the dreamer and visionary in us.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales. I read this in college. I had a medievalist teaching it, and it was a rollicking romp as he had fun pointing out every single sexual pun and double entendre in the works. To this day, I enjoy anything that is basically a good romp. I learned from that professor that you could have fun with literature, even if once in a while you made a student or two uncomfortable.
  • Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist. I posted about this book here on a post about books that have been important to me. From Coehlo, I was reminded of the importance of pursuing your dream and destiny. This remains one of my favorite books.
  • Confucius, The Analects. I have to admit that this is a book I need to revisit. I read it a while ago. He was the one who said, "I hear and I forget. I see and remember. I do and I understand." It does not get any more significant than that for teachers.
  • Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels. I found it curious that this was a choice. However, the book does have insights on leadership, and I did find its narrative quite moving.
  • T.E. Jacobson and L. Xu, Motivating Students in Information Literacy Classes. Find my booknote on it here.
  • E.L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered. This is what administrators in higher education need to be reading when it comes to modeling and nurturing scholarship in all forms. It is not just about how many articles someone publishes. Personally, I think if all a professor does is publish articles on obscure theories in even more obscure journals and is a lousy teacher, he or she is not worth much. I would rather have the professor who is a good teacher, reflects on his or her practice, writes about it, and shares it with others. A lot of what I do is influenced by the teacher-scholar model, which I actually learned during my time at the National Writing Project.
  • Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This is one of the best works on teaching I have read. My first exposure to Freire's work was for an adult literacy course I took during my undergraduate days, and it was around the time I was volunteering at a literacy center as well. A lot of my ideas about education being a tool of liberation, that there is some political element to education even if we don't want to admit it, and the belief in empowering the learner come from this book. I recently read a collection of his writings, and readers can find that booknote here.
  • I.F. Rockman, ed., Integrating Information Literacy Into The Higher Education Curriculum. Find my booknote on it here. As I recall, this was a book that I wished more administrators would read, but that odds were good they would not. I read it shortly after returning from Immersion, and it helped to further define some ideas for me.
There are a few others on the list I have read, but these I wanted to remember. I did notice there were titles that I wished had made it on the list. For instance, I wanted to see some of Jonathan Kozol's works. I may have added also Sun Tzu's The Art of War. At any rate, the list is definitely worth a look, and it would be interesting to see what other titles not listed people might have added.

1 comment:

aart hilal said...

Hello, Friend!
I also love Coelho`s The Alchemist. It changed my life totaly.
Do you know, that Paulo has blog:
http://www.paulocoelhoblog.com
and also newsletter:
http://www.warriorofthelight.com/engl/index.html
it`s realy great.
i enjoy his work as you :)
do you know about his internet work?!?
cheers and best reagards!