Discussion Forums 1983 - present

Discussion Forums: 1983 - present

   January 25, 2009 -- Denver, CO

Preparing Librarians for Information Literacy Instruction: Expectations of New Graduates

Sponsors: ACRL Instruction Section/ALISE Joint Working Group on Curriculum

To identify and communicate effective practices for preparing students in graduate programs of library and information science for careers in the areas of instruction and information literacy. The task force will gather information on approaches and models currently in use in order to identify commonalties and needs, identify a set of effective practices, and prepare a toolkit of resources for library science educators. The committee will also look for opportunities to engage ACRL Instruction Section and ALISE members in constructive dialog about preparation in this area.


   January 13, 2008 -- Philadelphia, PA

Research Into Action: Leveraging Research Into IL Instruction

Recommended Reading List

Audio Recording (1:01; 59MB)

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Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Scott Walter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Michelle L. Zafron, University at Buffalo

   January 22, 2006 – San Antonio, TX

The Instruction Balance

Sponsors: Teaching Methods Committee and Education Committee

Maintaining a work balance while instructional duties and numbers of sessions continue to increase was the topic at the 2006 Midwinter discussion forum sponsored by the Instruction Section’s Education Committee and Teaching Methods Committee. The 200-plus participants in attendance served as a major indicator that that “Instruction Balance” is on the minds of many in the profession. Facilitators initiated discussions to help participants conceptualize strategies and avenues librarians can take to maintain and streamline their instructional responsibilities.

Accompanying Bibliography

Anna Van Scoyoc

   January 16, 2005 -- Boston, MA

Agents of Change: How Instruction Librarians Can Use the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to Promote Information Literacy on Campus

Sponsors: Research and Scholarship Committee and Education Committee

Higher education is currently in the grip of accountability fever. Assessment tools such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) are increasingly being used to measure student engagement, which is closely linked to teaching and learing practices. Instruction librarians should seize the opportunity to use NSSE to promote information literacy initiatives.

Christopher Hollister

Thomas G. Kirk, Jr, Earlham College
Polly D. Boruff-Jones, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Amy E. Mark, University of Mississippi

   January 15, 2005 -- Boston, MA

IS of the Future - Review and Comment

Sponsor: IS Executive Committee

The IS of the Future Task Force has spent the past year gathering information and ideas from committees and individual members about ways our organization ncan better meet members' professional needs and better position itself as the leading professional organization for academic instruction librarians. Based on feedback it received, the Task Force has made recommendations for establishing procedures and reorganizing the Section to be more flexible and accessible. At the 2005 ALA Midwinter Meeting, the IS of the Future Task Force's report will be hot off the press. At the Forum, you will get a brief overview of the report and will have the opportunity to respond to the recommendations and discuss key issues. Your opinions and suggestions will influence the future direction of the Section.

Moderator: Elizabeth Dupuis

   January 11, 2004 -- San Diego, CA

The 21st Century Instruction Section: Shaping the Future of IS

Sponsors: IS of the Future Task Force Membership Committee Education Committee

The IS of the Future Task Force is assessing the current state of the Instruction Section with the charge of suggesting future directions for the Section. The 2004 Midwinter Instruction Session Discussion Forum provides an opportunity for the membership to share their thoughts on how the Section might better serve member needs in the future. Participants working in groups of 8 to 10 will select one of the following topics for discussion: communication, leadership, committee structure, collaboration activities, and decentralization of IS. Facilitators from the Membership and Education committees will record the discussion and report back to the Task Force.

Jennifer Dorner

Stephanie Atkins, Membership Committee
Jo Ann Calzonetti, Education Committee

   January 26, 2003--Philadelphia, PA

Leading through Transitions: Managing the Evolution toward Information Literacy

Management of Instruction Services Committee

The 2003 Midwinter Instruction Section Discussion Forum, hosted by the Management of Instruction Services (MIS) Committee, chaired by Diane VanderPol, will focus on management issues for instruction programs transitioning from library skills instruction to information literacy. Both facilitators and attendees will speak to the progress they have made in their own libraries and work together on solutions for the challenges they face in the library and on campus. Discussion leader, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will briefly talk about successes and lessons learned in transformation processes that may encourage and inspire you. Attendees will be asked to share effective strategies and hurdles faced particularly in the areas of planning, collaboration, outreach and assessment. Selected criteria developed for the Best Practices Invitational pre-conference will be used to help frame the discussion. The discussion will appeal to managers of programs at various points on the continuum; those taking small steps as well as those making great strides.

   January 20, 2002-- New Orleans, LA

Assessment and Diverse Populations

Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee

A panel of public and academic librarians who have worked with a variety of diverse populations addressed a full house on Sunday January 20, 2002 about assessing the needs of different user groups and ways public services and collection resources can be in terms of the needs of diverse groups of library users. The objective of all attendees was, of course, to give each group equal access to the resources libraries offer.
Participants first heard from Gary Strong, Director, Queens Borough Public Library, who spoke about the work that his library does providing services to a extraordinary variety of user groups, in particular recent immigrants. The library employs a demographer in planning the various cultural program for the branches in that most diverse of cities. The Strong also mentioned the Page Fellowship Program, which recruits from within the library's community and supports people through undergraduate and MLS degrees. The library also uses "language cards," available in twenty languages at the branches, that enable people to conduct basic transactions using the different languages. Next, Ginger Bryan, Dean, Learning Resources, Bossier Parish Community College of Northwest Louisiana, spoke about the survey instrument used by her library to assess user needs in an academic population, largely white, but including many women whose families have never attended college. Many users are Latinos moving in from neighboring Texas. Anita H. Grant, Head, Circulation Services, Ohio University, spoke about her research and efforts serving international students. She talked of how most librarians are not familiar with how new the American system of libraries is for these students. Finally, Janet Williams, Director of Library Services, ETS, spoke of the problem of test bias and described the work she does for ETS making sure that their standardized assessments are without biases. She spoke of the cultural sensitivity that is needed for testers to understand all the possible pitfalls in test design. For example, she mentioned a test that used the color of lemons in a test answer without knowing that in some parts of the world, lemons are green.


  • Gary Strong, Director, Queens Borough Public Library
  • Ginger Bryan, Dean, Learning Resources, Bossier Parish Community College
  • Anita H. Grant, Head, Circulation Services, Ohio University
  • Janet Williams, Director of Library Services, ETS

   June 16, 2001 -- San Francisco, CA

Publish and Flourish: Ideas and Opportunities for Librarians to Publish Successfully

Research and Scholarship Committee

Whether you are a seasoned writer looking for new opportunities or a new librarian interested in gathering tips to get started, join us for a discussion forum with four esteemed panelists. Following a spirited discussion with questions posed by the audience, editors from these journals will be on hand to informally discuss publishing opportunities: College & Research Libraries, College & Research Libraries News, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Library Collections, Acquisitions & Technical Services, Library Resources & Technical Services, portal: Libraries and the Academy, Public Services Quarterly, Reference Services Review and Research Strategies.


  • John M. Budd, Associate Professor, School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, University of Missouri Columbia.
  • Keith Gresham, Associate Professor, Reference/Instruction Librarian, Norlin Library, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Thomas Nisonger, Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Sciences, Indiana University.
  • Gloriana St. Clair, University Librarian, Carnegie Mellon University.

Elizabeth Dupuis, University of Texas at Austin

   January 14, 2001 -- Washington, DC

Information Literacy in Library Instruction Programs

Emerging Technologies in Instruction and Education Committees

Growing numbers of education organizations in addition to ALA and ACRL now acknowledge the importance of information literacy as a broad education issue. It is likely that the formation and development of information literacy agendas may go beyond the current focus of contemporary library education efforts. The move toward institutional information literacy programs could expand the scope and purview of traditional library instruction programs. Should this be?

What are suitable approaches to providing information literacy education in academic library instruction programs? Our panelists will comment initially on issues relating to the development of information literacy curricula in library instruction programs. Discussion by forum participants will follow.


  • Jennifer L. Dorner, Ball State University
  • Mary Jane Petrowski, Colgate University
  • Evan Farber, Earlham College

   January 16, 2000 -- San Antonio, TX

Share Your Teaching Tool Kit: Best Practices in Library Instruction

Teaching Methods and Education Committees

What are our "best practices" in library instruction? This Discussion Forum will look at several instruction issues and scenarios and give audience members a chance to formulate solutions and strategies in a workshop type of format.

Discussion Notes & Bibliography

Instruction issues and scenarios:

  1. Teaching without a computer lab:
    How do you provide active and/or collaborative learning and keep students interested when you don't have a computer lab to give them hands-on database practice?
  2. Teaching to a bad assignment:
    How to talk to faculty about a bad assignment, how to orient students in a meaningful way when they are given a bad assignment, how to work with faculty on library assignments, how to get faculty to send assignments in advance, general tips for good assignments. Specific examples: Faculty member gives a scavenger hunt every year -- what can you do? Another assignment has everyone using a small number of resources and one ends up with pages torn out -- how could this situation be improved/prevented?
  3. Increasing your teaching skills:
    How do you learn more about teaching? Also, what tips, tricks, planning, etc., do you do before or during class time to present yourself with confidence in order to engage the class?
  4. Teaching information literacy concepts:
    Students often want to know the mechanics of searching particular databases, but information literacy includes understanding many research concepts. What are your tips for teaching information literacy concepts? What methods work best for teaching concepts? Specific concepts: Boolean operators, keyword versus subject heading searching, narrowing or broadening a search, selecting appropriate resources ( types of resources, resources by subject, etc), evaluation of search results (not just the first three full-text articles, Web sites, etc.), identifying and using scholarly resources.

   January 31, 1999 -- Philadelphia, PA

Are They Learning What We're Teaching?

Research and Scholarship Committee

How do librarians measure student learning? Current trends and changes in higher education are placing greater emphasis on student learning and assessment. What are librarians doing to evaluate information literacy instruction? Discussion starters will share their thoughts on developing learning outcomes that can be measured, and useful methods or techniques for assessment. Come share what you have done to assess your students' learning!

Discussion Starters

  • Debra Gilchrist, Director Library/Media Services, Pierce College Library, Tacoma, Washington
  • Mignon Adams, Director of Library and Information Services, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia


   January 11, 1998 - New Orleans, LA

National Information Literacy Institute

Loanne Snavely

This forum included a brief overview of the idea for a National Information Literacy Institute (NILI) and the results of the planning day. The discussion focused on how such an Institute might best educate librarians for their teaching role, how it might be organized, and other topics. Ideas generated by the discussion were taken back to the planning group.

   January 11, 1998 - New Orleans, LA

Managing the Wired Classroom: Demands and Expectations

Management of Instruction Services and Continuing Education Committees

Discussion focused on library instruction programs' management implications for staff training, workload distribution, and classroom use issues. Participants were asked to discuss questions such as: "What is your role as a manager to provide training for librarians teaching in hands-on labs and distance learning environments?" "What about training needs for presentation software and instructional material design?" "How many teaching staff are needed to help students in a hands-on setting?" "How do managers counter the commonly held belief of some administrators that using technology decreases staffing needs?" "How do managers deal with pressure from administrators to have the room used constantly?"

Discussion Starters

  • Judith Pask, Director John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library, Purdue University
  • Janet Nichols, Information/Instruction Librarian David Adamany Undergraduate Library, Wayne State University

   February 16, 1997 - Washington, D.C.

Learning Styles and Diverse Populations

Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee and Continuing Education Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Katherine Branch, Director, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, Maryland
  • Kriza Jennings, Consultant for Diversity and Minority Recruitment/Retention
  • Gerald Holmes, Instruction Librarian, Training and Educational Services, University of Cincinnati Libraries, moderator


   January 21, 1996 -- San Antonio

The World Wide Web as a Teaching Tool

Continuing Education Committee and Emerging Technologies in Instruction Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Ralph Alberico, Head Librarian, University of Texas, Austin
  • Elizabeth Dupuis, Reference & Electronic Information Services Librarian, University of Texas, Austin
  • JoAnne Newyear-Ramirez, Reference Librarian, Head Electronic Information Center, Undergraduate Library, University of Texas, Austin

   February 5, 1995 -- Chicago

Integrating the Internet into the Curriculum

Continuing Education Committee and Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee

Practical methods and strategies for effectively utilizing Internet resources with curricula.

Discussion Starters

  • Martin Raish, Moderator of BI-L, SUNY Binghamton
  • Jill Ortner, Computer Coordinator, School of Library and Information Science, SUNY Buffalo

   February 6, 1994 -- Los Angeles

What's in a Name?

Communication Committee, Continuing Education Committee, What's in a Name Task Force

ACRL Bibliographic Instruction Section wanted input on whether the name of the section accurately reflects the myriad of teaching and educational activities in which members are engaged. Should BIS change its name? And if so, to what? A two-hour discussion forum addressed a possible name change. Members of the What's in a Name Task Force set the context for a possible name change and reviewed the alternatives that emerged. The discussion forum winnowed approximately 30 potential names to "Instruction Section." The Task Force learned there is a sentiment for changing the Section name; there is sentiment that "bibliographic" doesn't belong in the name; and there is no consensus name. They are recommending to Executive that the Task Force be extended for one year to provide time to focus the discussion and that there by a debate and then a straw poll at Annual.

   January 24, 1993 -- Denver

Teaching Diverse Populations: Do We Need to Change?

Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee and Teaching Methods Committee

Randy Burke Hensley, Undergraduate Library, University of Washington

First hour
Why or why not programs to serve specific diverse populations should be considered.

Discussion Starters

  • Poping Lin, Assistant Professor of Library Science, Purdue University Libraries
  • Kwasi Sarkodi-Mensah, Bibliographic Instruction Coordinator, Boston College

Second hour
Three short alternative teaching methods will be presented as a prelude to a discussion of instructional strategies for diverse populations

Discussion Starters:

  • Vivian Sykes, PhD candidate, University of Michigan
  • Alphonese Vinh, Reference Librarian, Yale University
  • Diane Zabel, Social Science Reference Librarian, Pennsylvania State University

   January 25, 1992 -- San Antonio

A Career in Bibliographic Instruction: Stepping Stone or Dead End?

Continuing Education Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Karen Williams, Head, Central Reference, University of Arizona Library
  • Evan Farber
  • Bill Miller

   January 26, 1992 -- San Antonio

Getting There from Here: BI Issues When Libraries Go on the Network(s)!

Emerging Technologies in Instruction Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Ralph Alberico, Head, Undergraduate Library, University of Texas, Austin
  • Laine Farley, MELVYL User Services Coordinator

   January 11, 1991 -- Chicago

Great Expectations! Library Education for Bibliographic Instruction

ALISE and ACRL BIS Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee

Esther Grassian, Reference Instruction Librarian, University of California, Los Angeles

Discussion Starters

  • Diana Shonrock, Bibliographic Instruction Librarian, Iowa State University
  • Craig Mulder, Information Specialist, Johns Hopkins University
    Both speakers presented the results of the BIS Proficiencies Study


  • Herbert White, former Dean, School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University
    "In What Ways Can the Expectations of BI Librarians Concerning Library Education Be Met by the Library School Curriculum?"
  • Jane Robbins, Director, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, "The Role of the Library School in the Continuing Education of BI Librarians: How Can We Help?"

   January 13, 1991 -- Chicago

Managing Data Output: End-User Instruction in File Management Software

ACRL BIS Emerging Technologies in Instruction Committee; RASD MARS Direct Patron Access Committee

Gary Handman, Head, Media Resources Center, Moffitt Undergraduate Library, University of California, Berkeley


  • Robert Kibbee, John Olin Library, Cornell University
  • Gretchen Whitney, Graduate Library School, University of Arizona
  • Craig Mulder, Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins


The Key to Information Literacy

Discussion Starters:

  • Barbara Kemp
  • Barbara Moran
  • Ilene Rockman

   January 7, 1990 -- Chicago

Information Literacy and Bibliographic Instruction: Semantics or Philosophy?

Continuing Education Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Lori Arp
  • Joan Ormondroyd
  • Hannelore Rader

   January 7, 1990 -- Chicago

The Supercatalog: Service Implications of Locally Mounted Databases

ACRL BIS Computer Concerns Committee, RASD Catalog Use Committee, and the RASD MARS Direct Patron Access Committee

Four experts in the field presented statements of their own experiences with locally mounted databases. Technical and software considerations, database selection, instructional issues, and the creation and maintenance of non-bibliographic databases were addressed.


  • Clifford Lynch, Director of the University of California Division of Library Automation
  • Nancy Evans, Data and Information Service Manager, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Susan Varca, Head of the Instruction and Information Services, Arizona State University
  • Daniel Barr, Head of the Information and Reference Department, Penrose Public Library, Pike's Peak Library District

   January 4, 1989 -- Washington, DC

Bibliographic Instruction: A Case in Point


  • Betsy Wilson, Assistant Director for Undergraduate Libraries, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, "Proficiencies for Bibliographic Instruction: A Report of Findings"
  • Elizabeth Frick, Associate Professor, School of Library Service, Dalhousie University, "The Semester-Long BI Course"
  • Joan Ormondroyd, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Cornell University, "The Two-Week Intensive BI Course"
  • David King, Assistant Professor, College of Library and Information Science, University of Kentucky, "Integrating BI into Library School Courses"

   July 9, 1988 -- New Orleans

The BI Clearinghouse: Starting and Sustaining

BIS Clearinghouse Committee

Four clearinghouse representatives shared their experiences in organizing and promoting clearinghouses, as well as the nuts and bolts of producing a BI clearinghouse directory.


  • Betsy Brenneman, New England Clearinghouse
  • Emily Okada, Indiana Clearinghouse
  • Mary Ann Miller, New Jersey Clearinghouse
  • Joan Kaplowitz, Southern California Clearinghouse

   January 16, 1987 -- Chicago

Education for Library Instruction: A BIS/ALISE Forum

ALISE and ACRL BIS Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee

Ellen Meltzer, Head, Reference and Collection Development, Moffitt Undergraduate Library, UC Berkeley, and Chair, ACRL BIS Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Mary Ellen Larson, Senior Assistant Librarian, Pennsylvania State University
    "In What Direction is User Education Headed in Library Schools"
  • Jill Fatzer, Assistant Director for Main Library Public Services, Ohio State University
    "What Are the Proficiencies Beginning Librarians Need to Acquire in Library School?"


  • Elizabeth Frick, Associate Professor, School of Library Science, Dalhousie University
    "How Does a Library Educator View the Issues?"
  • Alan Ritch, Library Instruction Coordinator, University of California, Santa Cruz
    "How Does a Practitioner View the Issues?"

   January 4, 1984 -- Washington, DC

Education for Bibliographic Instruction

ACRL BIS Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee and ALISE Teaching Methods Group

Betsy Baker, Reference Librarian, Northwestern University and Chair of the ACRL BIS Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee

Discussion Starters

  • Sharon Hogan, Acting Director of Libraries, Temple University
    "What Are the Skills and Academic Preparation Library Administrators Look For in Beginning Library Instruction Librarians?"
  • Betsy Wilson, Coordinator for Reference and Instructional Services, Undergraduate Library, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    "A Day in the Life of a Bibliographic Instruction Librarian"
  • Anne Mathews, Associate Professor, School of Librarianship and Information Management, University of Denver
    "How Can Library Schools Insure Their Graduates Acquire Bibliographic Instruction Skills Before Joining the Work Force?"

   June 25, 1983 -- Los Angeles -- Annual Meeting

Untitled program

BIS Computer Concerns Committee and the RASD Machine-Assisted Reference Section Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems Committee

An open discussion of issues relating to the patron and the computer from a public service viewpoint. Topics will include online end user searching of online catalogs, circulation systems, and bibliographic databases; computer-assisted instruction; and the impact of these processes on bibliographic instruction.


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