Instruction Section Newsletter 13-1

Instruction Section Newsletter


Volume 13  Number 1         Spring 1996

This Issue:

  1. Instruction Section on the Web
  2. Instruction Section News
  3. News You Can Use
  4. 1996 ALA Annual Conference
    • Instruction Section Program
    • Instruction Section Dinner
    • Instruction Section Meeting Schedule

   ACRL Instruction Section Web Site Lives!

The ACRL Instruction Section's web site was unveiled at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio as one of many efforts to publicize the Section's name change and to reach out to you, the IS membership. The site, currently hosted by Colgate University Libraries at , is also linked from the ACRL page within the ALA web site.

The project was originally conceived in 1994 as a basic gopher site offering access to policy statements, conference and committee information, and section publications. The shift to a web-based site allows the Section to link to other useful sites, create interactive forms, and publish multimedia content of interest to Section members, prospective members, and practitioners. The site now offers a committee volunteer form, detailed conference and committee information, and a growing list of Section publications, including the current draft of "Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries." By the New York ALA Annual Conference, the site will include a history of the Section and feature a unique "oral history" of the Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award winners. Check it out!

The site was developed under the direction of the IS Communication Committee with design and technical assistance from Jeffrey O'Connell, Colgate Library Technical Specialist. Work on the site began in December 1995 and took approximately four weeks to implement. The Communication Committee will continue to coordinate this dynamic site under the direction of the Executive Committee, and following the guidelines for web publication, currently under development.

    New on the IS Web Site

Check out the 1996 New York Annual Conference information on the IS web site! There is a link to the City.Net site for New York City, with a wealth of travel information available including weather, subway maps, hotels, museums, airport information, etc.

The Emerging Technologies Committee page is now linked from the initial IS page and also from within the "Standing Committees" section. You will also find "Planning Tips for IS Dinner Organizers", "Preconference and Conference Program Planning Manual" and a Link to the ACRL Strategic Plan. Check with Mary Jane Petrowski for more information on the IS Web site:

    Emerging Technologies Committee Home Page

The Emerging Technologies in Instruction Web page is now accessible via the Instruction Section web page. The text of the ACRL/CNI "Call for Participation", the beginning of an archive of committee minutes, and the report "User Education for the Internet" are among the files available. As the Case Western/ACRL/CNI site goes "live" we will be posting more information on the Etech page.

For more information or comments, contact Keith Morgan- North Carolina State University Libraries ( or

   IS Knowledge Base Is Coming to the IS Web

By ALA Annual Conference '96 the "knowledge base" will be up in its various manifestations on the Section web site. Visitors to the site will have access to a complete annotated bibliography of Section publications, a list of Section awards, a list of Section conferences and preconferences, a history of the Section, the 1992 "BI Knowledge Base" slide show, and an "oral history" from all the Dudley Award winners. An interactive evaluation form will solicit suggestions for additions to the knowledge base.

    Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award Winner

Each year since 1983, the Instruction Section has honored a librarian who has made especially significant contributions to the advancement of library instruction. Named after one of the pioneers in library instruction, the Miriam Dudley Instruction Award consists of a $1000 cash award and an engraved plaque, both provided by Mountainside Publishing on behalf of Research Strategies .

Barbara A. MacAdam, of the University of Michigan, is the 1996 awardee. Through the years, Barbara has epitomized the ideal instruction librarian. In her work at the University of Michigan she continually creates innovative, effective programs for undergraduates. Her cogent, thought-provoking publications address crucial issues such as critical thinking, diversity, curricular models, at-risk students, teaching methods and more. Barbara has served on numerous Instruction Section committees and has chaired the ACRL Copyright Committee and the 1997 ACRL National Conference Contributed Papers Subcommittee. Recently Barbara chaired the Instruction Section's Emerging Technologies Committee as it formulated a joint project with the Coalition for Networked Information to put model Internet training programs on the 'Net. At the University of Michigan she has taught both undergraduate and graduate credit courses, including "Instruction in the Use of Information" and "The Structure of Inquiry in the Information Age."

Barbara will be an honored guest of the Section at the IS Dinner preceding the Annual Conference in New York, and will be presented the award either at the Instruction Section program or at the ACRL reception. Check the IS Web page for an announcement.

-Katherine Branch, Chair, Dudley Award Jury

    Publication and Innovation in Instruction Awards

At the Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio, the Awards Committee determined the recipients of the Publication Award and the Innovation in Instruction Award. The Committee's task was a difficult one as it received record numbers of consistently high quality nominations in both categories. The Committee is very pleased to announce the recipients of the awards, as follows:

Publication Award

Larry Hardesty - Austin College, Sherman, Texas - was selected for the Publication Award for his work on "Faculty Culture and Bibliographic Instruction: An Exploratory Analysis," which appeared in Library Trends 44 (Fall 1995):339, 67. Dr. Hardesty's article analyzes faculty culture as a determinant in the inclusion or non-inclusion of library instruction in college courses. He describes the historical antecedents of faculty culture in the United States and provides a contextual understanding of faculty attitudes generally and library instruction in particular. The Committee praised Dr. Hardesty's work for his thoughtful and thought-provoking approach and believes it will prove to be a seminal article in the literature of librarianship and library instruction.

Innovation in Instruction Award

Patricia Carroll-Mathes - Ulster County Community College, Stone Ridge, New York - is the recipient of the Innovation in Instruction Award for her Collaborative Information Literacy Project. The Project encourages classroom faculty to teach a 1-credit information literacy course initiated by and developed collaboratively with Ms. Carroll-Mathes. As a result, a number of classroom faculty have taught the course and are beginning to incorporate information literacy components into their other courses. The Awards Committee praised her project as being both exciting and innovative and believes that the program can serve as a model for academic libraries of all types and sizes. Ms. Carroll-Mathes and other instructors from the Macdonald DeWitt Library at UCCC will be training other librarians in the region about teaching electronic information literacy, through a LSCA Title III grant awarded to the Southeastern New York Library Resources Council.

Larry Hardesty and Patricia Carroll-Mathes will be honored guests at the IS Dinner at Annual Conference in New York City, where their awards will be presented.

    What's in a Statistic? IS Membership Grows!

As of January 1996, IS is the second largest ACRL Section, with 4000 personal members and 476 organizational members (total of 4476)! Our total membership has grown 7.42% since January 1995. The largest ACRL Section is the University Libraries Section, with 5829 personal members and 353 organizational members (total of 6182), for January 1996. ULS membership has grown by 2.67% over the January 1995 figures. Instruction Section membership comprises almost 10% of the 50,000 total ALA membership, and is growing fast. How long will it take for IS to become the largest Section within the Association of College and Reasearch Libraries?

What IS Happening? IS Committee News

What have IS Committees been working on lately? Following is a selected list of important new and continuing projects and activities. Watch for more news on these and other Committee projects in this column and the new IS Web site.

New ACRL/CNI Internet User Education Web Site

The Emerging Technologies in Instruction Committee (ETIC), on behalf of the ACRL, and the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) are cooperating to develop a World Wide Web clearing house site for Internet User Education materials. As the project approaches the final stages, issues such as selection criteria and copyright are being addressed. Case Western University will host the web site.

-David P. Atkins,

Guidelines for Instruction Programs in Academic Libraries

After an open hearing at Midwinter, the draft guidelines were further revised and are available on the IS web site. After Executive Committee review and approval, the new Guidelines will be sent to the ACRL Standards and Accreditation Committee for final approval at the New York Annual Conference.

Multilingual Glossary of Library Terms

The Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee has almost completed a multi-language list of common library terms with basic definitions for use in teaching library skills to non-English speaking library users. Once completed and approved by IS Executive and Advisory, the list will be available on the IS web page so that instruction librarians can download it and tailor it to their own institution's needs.

Instruction Section Planning Committee

Last summer, ACRL approved a news strategic plan. IS Planning Committee Co-chairs ( Barbara Conant and Jon Hufford), Policy Committee Chair ( Carl Phillips), and the IS Chair ( Esther Grassian) have been gathering input from IS members and leadership in order to develop a new draft IS Strategic Plan. The draft will be reviewed by IS Executive and Advisory, as well as the membership before adoption.

New Visibility for IS

As part of its charge to promote involvement in IS, the Membership Committee is working to develop Instruction Section stickers for conference program badges that will increase visibility and help people identify IS members at conferences. The Committee has also developed packets of IS informational materials for new IS members, including a welcome letter from the IS Chair.

Managing Instruction Services

The Management of Instructional Services Committee or MIS (formerly Management of Bibliographic Services Committee), will hold another "Bright Ideas" sharing session for BI managers, at MIS Committee meeting at the ALA Annual Conference in July. This year's theme is "Don't Let the New Technologies Manage You: Bright Ideas for Managing Instructional Technology."

The Committee is developing a proposal for a LAMA regional institute on "Instruction Coordinators and their Managers: The Nuts and Bolts of Creating a Successful Instruction Program." Another new MIS Committee project is to develop a "tips sheet" of suggested resources for BI managers to tap into when putting together a staff development program for both new and established teaching librarians. The IS Executive Committee is currently reviewing an MIS Committee review article on publications related to the management of instruction programs.

Archiving and "Guidelining" the Web

The Policy Committee has developed Guidelines for Archival Record Retention for the Section and is working on extending archiving, as well as publication guidelines to the Web.

Active Learning Cookbook

The Teaching Methods Committee is in the process of evaluating entries received and developing a standard format for active learning "recipes." Submission guidelines and information can be obtained on the IS web site. Submissions are being accepted through June. Estimated publication date: 1997.

Library School Contacts

The Education for Library Instructors Committee or ELI (formerly the Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee), held a successful Saturday morning breakfast meeting for about 15 IS members and library school faculty interested in teaching instruction courses. This is expected to be an annual event at ALA Midwinter Meetings.

IS hosted two ALISE members at the IS Dinner at the Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. Dr. Loriene Roy, who teaches a bibliographic instruction course at the University of Texas, Austin, and the outgoing President of ALISE, June Lester from the University of Oklahoma. Instruction Section leadership plan to continue to reach out to ALISE and library school faculty, by inviting an ALISE leader and a library school faculty member who teaches a bibliographic instruction course, to the Midwinter IS Dinner.

    Sneak Preview: IS 1997 Preconference

The 1997 Preconference to be held prior to the San Francisco Annual Conference will feature workshops based on the Learning to Teach handbook published by BIS in 1993. The preconference will be held on the UC Berkeley campus (easily accessible by BART, the rapid transit system known around the world for its cleanliness and efficiency!). Two 90-minute workshops will be offered simultaneously in the morning and two will be offered in the afternoon allowing all attendees to participate in each of the four workshops. The Instruction Section is grateful to UC Berkeley for agreeing to serve as co-sponsor of this event, and for donating $1000 to help defray Preconference expenses.

    New Editor Appointed

The IS Communication Committee reviewed applications from a number of highly qualified individuals for the position of Instruction Section Newsletter editor. The Committee recommended that Keith Gresham (University of Colorado, Boulder) be appointed to this position; the Executive Committee approved the recommendation, and Keith has accepted the 2-year appointment to take effect following Annual Conference 1996. Keith has a degree in journalism, among his other qualifications for this position. As incoming Editor, Keith worked closely with Stephen Fitt, our current Editor, on this issue of the Newsletter. Welcome to Keith, and a hearty thanks to Steve Fitt not only for doing such a great job on the Newsletter over the past couple of years, but also for helping Keith transition into the Editorship position.

-Esther Grassian

    Midwinter Discussion Forum: The WWW as a Teaching Tool

The "World Wide Web as a Teaching Tool" was co-sponsored by the IS Continuing Education and Emerging Technologies in Instruction Committees and featured speakers Ralph Alberico, Elizabeth Dupuis, and JoAnne Newyear-Ramirez, from the University of Texas at Austin. Deborah Tenofsky (Emerging Tech), Loyola University Chicago, moderated and provided introductions. Karla Hahn (Continuing Ed), Johns-Hopkins University, developed the forum bibliography.

The first half of this standing-room-only forum presented four approaches to the World Wide Web (WWW) as an instructional tool at UT-Austin: Web-based Presentations (as in Freshman Orientations), Class Pathfinders, and Basic and Advanced Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) sessions. An informative question and answer session comprised the second half.

Ralph Alberico began by providing some background on the context at UT-Austin, noting that it is a large, very wired campus, with heavy use of technology. Many faculty incorporate the WWW into their courses and often require students to publish on the web to fulfill course requirements. The Undergraduate Library, which Alberico heads, houses a large networked computer lab. In short, this technology is not emerging, but has definitely emerged.

The WWW proves to be an effective medium for Freshman Orientation. In these sessions, Alberico promotes resources to incoming students, raising their awareness of what kinds of resources the library is providing. The Web-based lecture/demonstrations present a variety of resources, introducing the students to both library resources and WWW resource evaluation. Alberico added that the in-coming freshmen exhibit WWW savvy by no longer being "wowwed" by the Internet, but rather are impressed by content.

The Class Pathfinders demonstrate the merging of traditional course-based bibliographic instruction/material selection with the expanding world of Internet resources. In a cooperative effort, Elizabeth Dupuis and the course instructor provide a lecture/demonstration of local and global Internet resources dedicated to one discipline or issue. In the hands-on component of these sessions, Dupuis encourages the students to evaluate the information content of these resources.

The immensely popular Basic HTML provides students with a two-hour introduction on basics of the language using their resumes as the content. With the aid of additional instructors, Newyear-Ramirez outlined how she takes the students back and forth between the HTML editor and the HTML browser, using demonstration and hands-on experimentation to teach and reinforce the language. In this logical progression, the students create a page while discovering the rules and styles governing the page's appearance and function.

Advanced HTML sees its inaugural session this semester. Alberico designed this hands-on session to teach students the creation and maintenance of personal WWW research pages. These pages serve as a hypertext platform, keeping track of Internet tools and resources students use in their research. Resources such as bibliographic databases, news groups, and addresses comprise these pages.

During the Q&A session, the presenters added the following:

  • Strategies for Internet resource evaluation include comparing and contrasting resources, considering affiliations and credentials and engaging students in discussions of contents or merits of pages.
  • Since the emphasis is on networked resources, print sources are generally not included with the Class Pathfinder pages unless specifically requested by the instructor..

The WWW tools discussed by the panel are available from the following locations on the WWW:

Web-based Presentations (

Class Pathfinders (

Advanced HTML Instruction (

    Teaching/Innovations in Instruction Tips

A new feature of the Instruction Section Newsletter, this column represents one way in which the Newsletter can be a vehicle to share practical information about being a better instruction librarian. Please share the tips with your colleagues! If you have comments about this column, please send them to Lynn Bailey, IS Continuing Education Committee Chair, LBAILEY@WPPOST.DEPAUL.EDU.

And now for the tips:

Experienced Versus Inexperienced Students

I often have classes of students with very mixed experience with our OPAC. In order to keep the know-it-alls engaged while teaching the newbies some basics, I start by stating that I know many of the students already know how to use the systems, and then ask the class members to suggest which commands and tricks they think every class member should know. We make a list, and go over those, before I segue into some points that may be new to them all. It seems to help keep everyone's attention, and makes those who know something already feel valuable.

-Barbara Fister, Associate Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College,

Basic Skills Workshop Series

At the Penn State DuBois Campus, I have supplemented our regular course related instruction and 1-credit Library Studies course with a series of Basic Skills Workshops. Each works as a stand alone session, but also builds on the previous session. Breaking the sessions into short, focused, interconnected workshops makes it seem more like traditional classroom instruction.

Each 1-hour workshop incorporates active learning exercises. During the Classification Workshop, students suggest ways that books might be arranged in a Library. In addition, they arrange 12 call numbers by shelf order and each student actually locates two books on the shelf by call number alone. The other workshops: LIAS Catalog, Print Indexes, Automated Indexes, and Topic Selection have similar active learning exercises. It leaves little time for "lecture", but makes for a productive and entertaining learning environment.

-Catherine Lee, Penn State DuBois, DuBois, PA 15801,

Print vs. Electronic: Let the Student Decide

  1. Students use the WWW version of The Thomas Register to get information about a few companies that manufacture a product of the student's choosing.
  2. Students do the same thing using the print The Thomas Register.
  3. Students answer the following questions:

    A. Which did you find easier to use, the print or WWW version of The Thomas Register?

    B. Since the library's subscription to the print The Thomas Register costs over $200 per-year and is available for free on the WWW, do you think the library would be wise to drop its print subscription and use the money for other materials? Briefly explain why you think the way you do.

-Donald A. Barclay, New Mexico State University Library,

Turning Complaints into an Opportunity

One way that I have tried to face student complaints or apathy about the library head-on, is to start library instruction sessions with the opportunity for students to anonymously air any questions or complaints. One method I have used is to distribute a small piece of paper to each student, asking them to jot down any question or comment they have about the library. I tell them that I plan to use most of the 50-minute class period to answer their questions. The types of questions students have generally lead into what I was planning to teach anyway. I use their questions to launch into a demo of the databases or other topics. I have received several comments such as "Why doesn't this library have any decent journals?" Rather than getting defensive, I compliment the questioner for being forthright, explain to the students that the library does want to hear any complaints, and then I answer the question. The students seem to enjoy being heard and I end up teaching what they want to learn.

-Rachael Naismith, Senior Reference Librarian, Babson Library, Springfield College, Massachusetts, RNAISMIT@SPFLDCOL.EDU

Recruiting Team Teachers

Electronic instruction sessions often require additional instructors to help with hands-on activities. Also, the presence of a subject expert would sometimes benefit the class. However, that person may not feel comfortable with the technology or the role of instructor. Other staff may also be interested in teaching, but may lack the skills to take on a full partnership in the classroom.

By allowing these staff members to ease into their teaching role, you'll expose them to the classroom setting, typical user questions and difficulties, and course content. Some staff may take a semester or two to reach the necessary skill or confidence level. Others may only want to be the keyboardist/"floater" once or twice before taking on more responsibility for content delivery. Either way, everyone has benefitted. The diversity in instructors' styles helps to accommodate different learning styles. Your student-teacher ratio has been lowered and you've gained instructional help for current and future sessions.

-Abbie Basile, Information Services Librarian, Folsom Library, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180,

Using Active Learning in Instruction

This works for print or online instruction and is based on active learning theories.
  1. Uninformed Practice. Assign preliminary exploration of a source/tool. Give a browsing or a procedural exercise in the sources or systems that will be taught, to provide hands-on experience before presenting any explanations (e.g., self-instructional worksheet before meeting, or at the beginning of the session).
  2. Explain the formal aspects of the tool. Uninformed practice provides a concrete (though incomplete) basis for understanding information about the tool. Students are more attentive, more interested in details, gaps can be filled-in more easily, and their questions during the lesson are more advanced.
  3. Informed Practice. Follow-up with additional hands-on experiences. Provide opportunities for practice throughout the formal instruction portion and afterwards, applying what they learn to their information needs. This technique helps in managing students' motivation, since confidence is gradually built up over a period of time.

-Diane Nahl, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822,

Thanks to all who contributed their tips!!

    Leadership Tips

  • Encourage other instruction librarians to employ active learning activities in their sessions.
  • Become aware of activities on campus that may assist in instruction by participating in on-campus organizations.
  • Be proactive with teaching faculty and personal networks in communicating the value of library instruction for students.
  • Write a short bibliography of sources related to a guest lecturer coming to campus to cultivate ties with the sponsoring organization.
  • Encourage faculty "buy in" and participation in the library instruction program.
  • Encourage collegiality among librarians and teaching faculty members. (Among librarians so that instruction ideas and strategies can be exchanged; with teaching faculty to encourage and promote library instruction.
  • Plan library instruction sessions thoroughly-success breeds success.
-These tips were derived from ideas contributed by: Marcia King-Blanford, University of Toledo (; Lisa Janicke, Parkland College (; and Dorothy Glew, Moravian College ( Thanks for your contributions!

The Instruction Section Newsletter is published semi-annually by the Instruction Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago IL 60611, 312/280-2519. Editor, Stephen D. Fitt, UNLV Libraries Box 457038, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV 89154-7038, 702/895-0983, Fax: 702/895-3050, email: The Instruction Section Newsletter is sent to all IS members. Claims and address changes should be sent to the ALA address above. © 1996 ALA.

Please note that this electronic version of the Instruction Section Newsletter is currently under development and that the format of future issues is subject to revision and change.

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