Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)


Continuing Education Needs and Interest Survey, 2003

The IS Education Committee conducted the 2003 edition of the survey, which updates the findings of the initial survey conducted in 1997. Like its predecessor, the 2003 survey targeted all instruction librarians regardless of membership in IS. The number of questions was expanded from five to eight and the questions were substantially revised to better elicit the interests of instruction librarians. The 2003 survey was advertised in professional listservs and newsletters and at library conferences.


  1. How high would you rate the importance of continuing education for instruction librarians?
    144 Very high
    52 Above average
    5 Average
    0 Below average
    0 Low
    4 Unanswered

  2. How did you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become an instruction librarian? Choose as many as apply.
    192 Mentoring/networking
    95 Library-sponsored continuing education workshops
    78 On the job experience
    76 Non-library-sponsored continuing education workshops
    43 Instruction course in library school
    6 Unanswered
    68 Other:
    14 - Reading Professional Literature
    13 - Previous profession was teacher
    9 - Master Degree in Education/Teaching Credential
    5 - attended the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy
    4 - National Conferences like ALA, LOEX, and ACRL
    4 - courses in Education
    2 - Minor in Education
    1 - military instruction school
    1 - listservs
    1 - sales training
    1 - Group projects and presentations in library school. These were not for a specific course on instruction, but were invaluable nonetheless.
    1 - While in the military I completed a number of courses on academic and flight instruction. In both of these cases I learned to focus on the needs of the student and how I can tailor my instruction to meet those needs while effectively covering the objectives of the lesson and course.
    1 - video classes done on own time and initiative
    1 - faculty development workshops, my own research into pedagogy
    1 - observing others teach
    1 - Learned by sitting in on co-workers classes, and being coached. Hope to attend formal instruction training next year
    1 - ACRL/IMLS project
    1 - Especially the Center for Teaching Excellence, which is open to teaching faculty. (This movement started at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, I think. There are many variations on the name.) In fact, teaching faculty often wonder why I am there because my institution does not offer a credit library/research skills course.
    1 - Used campus resources that supported excellence in teaching -- workshops, seminars, etc.
    1 - Team teaching an in-depth research process with several master English teachers at an academically rigorous private school.

  3. On what topics would you be likely to attend continuing education programs (whatever the forum)? Choose as many as apply.
    152 Instructional design
    149 Engaging students
    144 Evaluation techniques
    130 Faculty/librarian collaborations
    104 Using technology to teach
    92 Managing instruction programs
    70 Learning technology
    69 Teaching technology
    4 Unanswered
    24 Other:
    2 - Assessment
    1 - Instruction techniques
    1 - Our local TLC offers a number of courses that cover the above topics. Generally, I look for workshops that fill a niche in my ever evolving need.
    1 - Basic and higher library instructional needs for college students. I work with ESL students who know about the internet but not an encyclopedia. 1 - I'd love a short session on using Flash for webpages.
    1 - I'd like to have my librarian/teachers learn to use different approaches for different audiences--freshmen, seniors, faculty.
    1 - I'd love to have "regular" faculty members present a session on what they want of library instruction.
    1 - I'd like a session on technical writing for creating instructional guides--how to write clearly and succinctly.
    1 - I am particularly interested in "active learning" techniques for classroom instruction.
    1 - presentation skills
    1 - Philosophy of teaching
    1 - Window tips and tricks
    1 - multicultural awareness and differing learning styles
    1 - Accreditation issues, documenting for campus wide assessment and accreditation reports
    1 - Practical teaching techniques and tips (not games like throwing candy at students, but real tips on incorporating active learning and teaching to different learning styles).
    1 - Problem or inquiry based learning in a library/information setting
    1 - Practical ways to teach the 45 min. presentation that engage the students and still covers several topics.
    1 - Scholarship of teaching topics e.g. learner-centered teaching, learning styles, brain literacy. Also, the nuts and bolts of doing it -- speaking, body language, humor, etc.
    1 - Theory of education
    1 - Learning styles and the relationship of that to instructional design.
    1 - Copyright
    1 - Let's not short teaching learning theory and pedagogy for technology. Teachers must know and understand the "why" of what they do in order to get the full potential out of the "how" of what they do. This is where I find myself and my colleagues the most challenged
    1 - Also, how to teach large groups. Many universities have large classes: 300 students or more. As well as online modules, what other strategies can we employ to reach these students in a meaningful and effective way? Most libraries simply don't have enough staff to teach these classes in small groups

  4. What obstacles keep you from attending or participating in continuing education activities? Choose as many as apply.
    101 Lack of financial support from my institution
    52 Topics not of interest
    44 Lack of release time from my institution
    56 Unanswered
    29 Other:
    7 - Finding Time To Attend/Job Obligations or Commitments
    3 - No Obstacles
    2 - Cost/Time to travel a distance
    1 - The last one (ALA pre-conference) was cancelled for lack of registrants. I would like something that provides theory and concepts, as well as some of the practical applications.
    1 - Lack of communication between teaching librarians at different institutions.
    1 - nearby training facilities
    1 - not all topics are available in my area
    1 - Topics are repeated. And classes attempt to be workshops when class time is too limited. Sometimes I feel concrete examples and tips would be MUCH appreciated than yet another "get together in a group and write out your objectives." I also feel like there's never an intermediate level of class for those of us who have attended lots of workshops and are currently teaching. It's getting harder and harder to find CE activities that tell us something new or innovative. Yet I don't feel anywhere near the level of teaching these sessions.
    1 - I applied for the IL institute the first year of its existence, but was not accepted. Frankly, I am pretty tired of seeing the same faces doing all workshops, etc. I find the IS to be a fairly inbred and cliquish organization!.
    1 - It sometimes seems that everything that can be said about library instruction has been said.
    1 - I've been to three IS preconferences: the first (Learning to Teach) was very good, the second (Instruction on the Web) so-so, the third (Assessment) absolutely terrible and a great waste of time and money. So I've stopped going. I prefer local/state workshops instead--less travel time and cheaper.
    1 - It's a combination of the time and money.
    1 - lack of time given other priorities
    1 - There aren't any to attend. CE for librarians only exists in the form of a few sparse workshops. I'd pay with my own money and use my own time if there was something available. How about offering online courses ? Now that would get everyone's attention.!
    1 - Have concentrated on workshop opportunities that are held at a regional level or within reasonable driving distance, since there is only enough money to attend one national conference per year
    1 - Unsure of quality of training or trainer: I prefer to go to training that I know has been tested on others - that has already been improved and that is given by a top-notched trainer. I'd like to see clear objectives, an outline, and even testimonials from other participants.
    1 - I frequently attend continuing ed activities, especially those with a new perspective.
    1 - limited time to travel and get other work done
    1 - Location and amount of notice given regarding upcoming events
    1 - Don't hear of many being offered - maybe I don't look hard enough

  5. What method of delivery do you prefer?
    102 Attending state or regional meetings
    43 Attending national meetings
    34 Reading on my own: print or online publications
    22 Participating in real-time chat or online course
    12 Attending teleconferences or videoconferences
    4 Viewing or listening to a videotape or audiotape of an ALA preconference
    5 Unanswered
    20 Other:
    1 - ALA doesn't meet my CE needs - too many committee jobs to do. I find smaller, more focused meeting much more useful (LOEX, ACRL, Calif ARL, CCLI, LOEX of the West).
    1 - Full day immersion type workshops.
    1 - National, state or regional meetings, followed by reading on my own. I would like an on-going program on my campus, providing for lots of discussion with colleagues here.
    1 - video webcast
    1 - "road show" presentations of programs presented at national conference
    1 - Reading on my own is also invaluable. Teleconferences or videoconferences could be great, but they are too often overbroad, so that real content is elusive.
    1 - Seeing a video of exemplary library instruction
    1 - Online, CREDIT course that would count towards Professional Development
    1 - Webinars
    1 - My preferred style is face to face personal interaction in an interactive or lecture class setting. But, given time and money limitations, other distance ed techniques will need to be used. However, my limited experience with chat was awful; I would not participate in that at all. I do try to keep up with publications (print, e-journals, websites) on my own. I would like to try an online course. Short WebCT courses would be good. I participated in a vendor training (ABI Proquest) that involved a limited audience with phone interaction tied to computer visuals in real time. Each participant logged into their office computer and used (speaker) phone. It worked very well, but again, would only work with a small (less than 15-20?) group. The other disadvantage is the appointment nature of the class which doesn't always work for participants.

  6. If you know of experts on a library instruction topic who could assist ACRL's Instruction Section with continuing education opportunities, please provide the following information:
    Expert's Name Email Topic
    Barbara Burd bburd@mail.colgate.edu assessment and program development
    Beverlee Kissick library@sal.ksu.edu Making students and faculty feel good about using their library
    Diana D. Shonrock shonrock@iastate.edu evaluation and instructional design
    Drew Smith DrewSmith@aol.com Using technology to teach
    Gabriela Sonntag gsg@csusm.edu college intro course
    Gabriela Sonntag gsg@csusm.edu IL
    Langevin Learning Services http://207.107.10.214/ (Not Answered)
    Lisa Hinchliffe (Not Answered) (Not Answered)
    Topsy Smalley tosmalle@cabrillo.cc.ca.us evaluation (among others)

  7. How do you currently learn about continuing education opportunities? Choose as many as apply.
    147 ILI-L (formerly BI-L)
    135 C&RL News
    13 Education Committee's Continuing Education calendar
    24 Unanswered
    42 Other:
    13 - Other Listservs
    6 - Library Association Newsletters
    4 - Colleagues
    4 - Email
    3 - Flyers in Mail
    2 - Local Library Associations
    1 - ads for local institutes/programs, programs for conferences
    1 - local consortium
    1 - Web pages of organizations such as LOEX, ACRL IS, LIRT, and locally through web pages of ACRL New England Library Instruction Group, etc.
    1 - ALA conference announcements
    1 - my director
    1 - ccli (California clearinghouse for library instruction)
    1 - Didn't know about the calendar. Checked it just now. Looks great.
    1 - Regional multi-type library cooperative, statewide community college network
    1 - Canadian professional organizations
    1 - On-campus Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth
    1 - where is Ed committee's calendar?
    1 - TLT Group, local and state library groups, U of Md Grad School
    1 - In Ohio, we are connected through a number of professional groups -- OhioLINK, Academic Library Association of Ohio -- Instruction interest group, Cleveland Area Metropolitan Library System. At our college, we also receive information about teaching workshops in general through our Excellence in Teaching Committee.
    1 - LOEX literature
    1 - CCLI & CARL
    1 - Local and state opportunities through local communications.
    1 - Our Center for Teaching Excellence offers many opportunities to become better teachers from the inside out. There are stand alone sessions and Faculty Learning Communities, in addition to conferences. The Center collaborates with other initiatives on campus also. Recently they participated in a campus sponsored diversity conference. They have also taken part in campus wide assessment conferences, with that being a big emphasis now in accreditation.
    1 - AAHE, using non-library types of instructional information

  8. Your institution is:
    83 Doctoral-Granting Institution
    53 Masters (Comprehensive) College or University
    34 Baccalaureate College
    15 Associate of Fine Arts College
    12 Community College
    21 Unanswered
    6 Other:
    1 - Multitype Library Cooperative
    1 - Chicago Library System
    1 - Dept. of Education (State Library)
    1 - military academy
    1 - Chiropractic College
    1 - College of Technology. 1, 2, and a few 4 year programs

1997 Survey


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