ACRL BIS Task Force on
Strategic Options for Professional Education (SOPE)


January 1994

ACRL BIS Task Force on Strategic Options for Professional Education (SOPE)

Esther Grassian (Chair), Elizabeth Frick, Abigail Loomis, Diane Zabel, Prudence Dalrymple (Ex-Officio)    


Library schools in the U.S. and Canada are closing, merging and downsizing. Librarians (including BI librarians) are themselves struggling with a major identity crisis brought on by severe economic problems and an extraordinarily intense "warp speed" technological revolution. In these difficult times, some, like BIS, have made a positive decision to reexamine and redirect their efforts, and to be more proactive and visible.

The BIS leadership appointed the Task Force on Strategic Options for Professional Education (SOPE) to examine and make recommendations on the broad underlying issues behind a 1991 position paper which proposed a voluntary certification program for BI librarians (Appendix A). The Task Force was charged:

  • to investigate and identify strategic options, such as certification, which may influence and/or encourage library schools and employers to offer and develop education and continuing education for bibliographic instruction,
  • to make recommendations to the Executive Committee on their facility and political usefulness for the Section in influencing library schools and employers; and
  • to recommend a process of implementation within the Section

We began our work by asking for input and posting our charge on BI-L, Libref-L and in C&RL News, in fall 1992. At ALA Midwinter 1993, we held a discussion forum on the charge, and in spring 1993, asked for further comment through BI-L, Libref-L, and C&RL News. Throughout, we discussed issues and ideas with the BIS Executive and Advisory Councils, and received much creative and thought-provoking input.

We are very pleased and hopeful as we offer our report to the BIS executive committee for consideration. The "Executive Summary" briefly lists seven major recommendations, with references to the full report. The full report contains ten short-term and twenty-two long-term recommendations, placed within the context of three main themes.

SOPE Task Force members believe that increased communication and visibility are the keys to increasing BI education and continuing education offerings, and to increased employer appreciation of the need for such offerings. The recommendations in this report provide exciting and creative means for achieving these goals. We are eagerly looking forward to their implementation.

Esther Grassian, Chair
Elizabeth Frick
Abigail Loomis
Diane Zabel
Prudence Dalrymple, Ex-Officio

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Executive Summary    

SOPE Task Force members have formulated proposed action plans in response to three themes identified by the Task Force and by the BIS Executive Committee from listserv and email discussion, as well as brainstorming ideas from a BIS Midwinter 1992 Discussion Forum. These themes are:

  1. There is a great need to convince library schools and employers of the importance of offering a BI course in library school or including it as a component in an existing course.

  2. There is a need to encourage and assist library school faculty in determining how to include BI in existing courses and how to develop separate BI courses. One of the obstacles to either of these approaches is insufficient interested or knowledgeable faculty.

  3. There is great interest in "bringing BI to the people" through low-cost regional workshops and by disseminating other BI materials at the local level, for continuing education purposes.

Following is a brief list of the major recommendations contained in this report. The full report includes other recommendations, as well as details on the facility, political usefulness and recommended implementation for each.

  1. Expand the scope of the BIS Dinner/Reception to include
    1. recognition of BI-related accomplishments of BIS members, Ph.D. candidates and library school faculty, as well as BIS award winners
    2. outreach to other groups-e.g., ALISE, LIRT-by inviting Chairs of these organizations to the Dinner as guests of BIS.

  2. Expand and formalize ties with ALISE via
    1. the ALISE Conference and the JESSE Listserv
    2. a substantive informational packet for BI courses, BI components for existing courses, and increased BI continuing education

  3. Pull together and make full use of survey results, BIS products and publications
    1. as a means of publicity to increase visibility
    2. to form an informational packet for library schools

  4. Draw on existing BI expertise to publicize, recommend, sponsor, co-sponsor, or provide
    1. regional outreach via workshops, programs or institutes
    2. human and other resources for BIS members and library school faculty, for information, education and research

  5. Monitor and publicize progress in library schools in regard to BI courses, BI components of existing library school courses, and continuing education for BI.

  6. Expand the number of BIS awards and criteria to include library school faculty and Ph.D. dissertations and research, and expand recognition of award winners.

  7. Aim for regional outreach to large numbers of BIS members and potential members by establishing links with other groups such as LAMA and LIRT, as well as regional and state groups, in order to publicize, recommend, sponsor, co-sponsor, or provide
    1. regional workshops, programs or institutes
    2. teleconferencing of pre-conferencing, conference programs, etc.
    3. discussion forums

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BIS Task Force on Strategic Options for Professional Education (SOPE)

Final Report    

Charge: To investigate and identify strategic options, such as certification, which may influence and/or encourage library schools and employers to offer and develop education and continuing education for Bibliographic Instruction; to make recommendations to the Executive Committee on their facility and political usefulness for the Section in influencing library schools and employers; and to recommend a process of implementation within the Section.

SOPE identified three parts to the charge:

    1. to investigate and identify options
    2. to make recommendations based on facility and political usefulness
    3. to recommend a process of implementation

Three themes emerged from listserv, email discussion, from a BIS Midwinter 1993 discussion forum, and BIS Executive Committee input on the SOPE Task Force charge:

  1. Increase the number of BI courses, BI components in other library school courses, and BI continuing education courses; increase employers' awareness of the need for these courses.
  2. Help library school faculty establish BI courses and add BI components to existing courses.
  3. Reach out to the membership--demonstrate openness to new ideas and interest in fostering new approaches in making continuing education opportunities available to them.

The following recommendations are framed within these three themes and include mention of projects, products and other activities already in place, in progress or planned, and how they may best be utilized to achieve the three goals listed above.

1.  Increase the number of BI courses, BI components of other library school courses, and BI continuing education courses; increase employers' awareness of the need for these courses.

*Already in place:
a. BIS Dinner
b. Proficiencies article--Shonrock and Mulder
c. Sample BI course syllabus available via BI-L and LOEX--Cody, Grassian, and Jacobson *In progress or planned:
a. Management of BI survey
b. Liaison to SCOLE and ALISE
c. Employability and BI experience/class work survey


ST1a. Invite the ALISE Chair to the BIS Dinner as a guest of BIS.

FACILITY: Simple--personal invitation
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Information exchange, consciousness-raising
IMPLEMENTATION: BIS Chair and Program Committee

ST1b. Invite to speak briefly at the BIS Dinner: a library school faculty member who teaches a BI course, and the Dean of that school.

FACILITY: Simple--personal invitation describing parameters and time frame for talk--10 minutes maximum
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Support for faculty members teaching BI courses; library school Deans will begin to recognize the importance of such courses
IMPLEMENTATION: BIS Chair and Program Committee

ST1c. Invite the LIRT President to the BIS Dinner as a guest of BIS.

FACILITY: Simple--personal invitation
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Establish solidarity in efforts with library schools and employers
IMPLEMENTATION: BIS Chair and the Program Committee

ST1d. Create a list of BIS publications and publicize them widely, along with the message that help is available to library schools and employers. Include Executive's and Committee Chairs' email addresses and phone numbers, as well as LOEX' address, email, phone number and fax.

FACILITY: Medium--Will need to create this list, update it annually, and publicize on BI-L and Jesse, and in C&RL News.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Increased visibility, BIS leadership will be seen as source of information and assistance for library schools and employers
IMPLEMENTATION: Continuing Education Committee and Communication Committee


LT1a. Reach out to library school faculty through the Jesse listserv, JELIS and Prism (ALA Office of Accreditation's newsletter)

FACILITY: Simple--Post meeting highlights semi-annually, and post annual notices of BIS projects and how to get advice or help on teaching about BI
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Outreach to library school faculty and Deans on their "turf" to raise consciousness/visibility and demonstrate BIS' proactive approach
IMPLEMENTATION: Communication Committee & Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee

LT1b. Establish BI sharing sessions at ALISE Conferences, on an ongoing basis. Following are some possible scenarios:

  1. develop or co-develop programs
  2. set up sharing sessions as formal or informal discussion forums
  3. arrange informal breakfast or lunch updates
  4. staff an exhibit booth or table and provide handouts, including sample copies of all BIS publications and resource packets for those interested in developing BI courses or adding a BI component to an existing course.

FACILITY: Medium to Difficult--requires much advance planning, as well as cooperative arrangement with ALISE; however, once procedures have been established, may reduce to Medium facility.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Increased visibility among library school faculty and Deans; consciousness-raising; BIS will be seen as a source of information and help in establishing BI courses, including a BI component in existing courses, and ideas for research.
IMPLEMENTATION: Education for BI Committee, or a task force created especially to liaise with ALISE. This task force should include an ALISE member, should send a representative to ALISE committee meetings and curriculum discussions, and should investigate ALISE awards or other forms of recognition, with the aim of raising consciousness about BI.

LT1c. Provide competencies/proficiencies list to library schools and to ALA accreditation teams, for accreditation purposes, and link these proficiencies to job descriptions and the need for continuing education.

FACILITY: Simple to Medium--May want to summarize for the resource packet, with an explanatory preface, and provide full list for accreditation purposes
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Will demonstrate that, like other specialized areas of librarianship, BI librarians need certain types of knowledge, skills and abilities in order to succeed. Also will provide ALA accreditation teams with a means for evaluating library school BI offerings or BI specialization.
IMPLEMENTATION: Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee and Continuing Education Committee

LT1d. Expand the employability survey to include a review of job descriptions for the past few years as to BI desired or required, and query employers as to how they expect librarians to have gotten this experience, and what criteria they use in assessing how well as candidate meets these requirements. Publicize the results to employers and library schools.

LT1e. Link the results of the management survey with the results of the employability survey and publicize widely--e.g., in LAMA publications, on LibAdmin-L and on Jesse-L.

LT1f. Publicize the need for job postings to include mention of BI coursework as well as experience, perhaps through LAMA and ALISE.

LT1d, e & f:

FACILITY: Simple to Medium--Expand the employability survey before it is finalized and distributed. Utilize appropriate research methodology to review job postings. Incorporate the results of this review into a publication describing the results of this review into a publication describing the results of the employability survey, and linking these results with the management survey, as well as the need for improved job postings which would include BI education desired or required.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: May serve to raise the consciousness of employers as to both the background needed to meet job posting requirements, and the advantages of a thorough grounding in BI theory and technique through education and continuing education
IMPLEMENTATION: Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee, Management of Bibliographic Instruction Committee, or a task force (with a LAMA member), set up especially to investigate opportunities to liaise with LAMA. (Note: This task force might be the same once charged to investigate opportunities to liaise with ALISE.)

LT1g. Survey library schools for Ph.D. dissertation topics related to BI. Highlight BI-related doctoral work. Establish an award, publicize the award winner at the BIS Dinner, the BIS Conference Program, in C&RL News, Prism, and Research Strategies, and on BI-L and Jesse. Publicize the existence of and possible uses of BI-L to Ph.D. candidates and to faculty--e.g. for research ideas, as a resource base and as a testing ground.

FACILITY: Simple to Medium--Need to devise short survey; simple if posted on Jesse & published in Prism; medium if mailed; medium to follow up and identify appropriate doctoral work/research, establish criteria and select best; simple to post "honorable mention" or award-winning work.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Increased visibility among faculty and Ph.D. candidates of fruitful areas of research; encouragement of possible future BI course instructors
    --Survey: Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee
    --Criteria and Selection: Awards Committee
    --Publicity (pre and post): Communication Committee

2.  Help library school faculty establish BI courses and add BI components to existing courses.

* Already in place:
a. Proficiencies article--Shonrock and Mulder
b. Sample BI course syllabus available through BI-L and LOEX--Cody, Grassian, and Jacobson
c. BIS Advisory Council listserv*
In progress or planned:
a. Resource packet for library schools
b. Liaison to SCOLE and ALISE

ST2a. Move quickly to finalize the resource packet, and provide copies to library schools. Include a list of library school faculty teaching BI courses, the Model Statement of Objectives, Read This First, and information on how to obtain a copy of the sample BI course syllabus. Add later: the video and summaries of proficiencies, as well as the results of the management of BI and expanded employability surveys.

FACILITY: Medium to Difficult, depending on whether or not a video is to be included and if funding is available for the video. Full packet including all in "a" above will need to wait for completion of employability and management surveys. Interim partial packet could be prepared and distributed more quickly. The smaller interim packet should include a brief description of BIS' role and accomplishments, what BIS would like to see in library school courses, and how BIS would like to help (e.g., list of BIS publications, Model Statement of Objectives, information on how to obtain a copy of the sample BI course syllabus).
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Increased visibility for BIS; encouragement for library school faculty interested in teaching BI as part of existing course or as separate course.
IMPLEMENTATION: Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee, Video Task Force

LT2a. Develop list of BI resource people who have taught BI courses or presented BI workshops, and who are willing to team-teach or serve as guest lecturers for BI courses or answer questions related to BI courses. Ask all of those on the list to deposit copies of their syllabi at LOEX.

FACILITY: Simple to Medium. Would need to develop criteria for inclusion in such a list and a methodology for producing it, as well as keeping it up to date. One approach might be to work with LOEX to revise and expand its speakers' list.  Once procedures are in place for gathering information on an ongoing basis, updating and publicizing it, this activity may reduce to a fairly simple procedure.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: This list would provide a graphic illustration of attempts to meet the demand for BI continuing education, as well as the breadth and depth of expertise in BI among the BIS membership. It would also provide a means of connecting potential BI instructors with experienced instructors. It would be easier to identify potential guest lecturers, as well, especially if names are grouped or indexed by geographic region.
IMPLEMENTATION: Continuing Education Committee and Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee, with LOEX. All Committee Chairs to contribute to list of categories for guest speakers, as well as suggested names.

LT2b. Use the Jesse listserv, BI-L, Prism and other means to establish three-way dialogue among library school faculty, BI practitioners and the BIS leadership to identify faculty interests related to BI, as well as additional BI-related areas needing research.

LT2c. Encourage and publicize BI practitioner/library school faculty joint research projects and team-teaching efforts.

LT2d. Use the BIS Dinner, a small portion of the BIS program, or some of the post-program poster sessions to highlight library school faculty's BI-related research. Also, publicize on BI-L, in C&RL News, Research Strategies, and on Jesse-L by means of a brief summary of presentations.

LT2b, 2c and 2d

FACILITY: Simple to Medium. Utilize electronic and other means to uncover and publicize, as well as stimulate discussion of possible research related to BI. Encourage practitioner/library school faculty partnerships and team-teaching, first by asking for descriptions of current or past experiences, then by encouraging calls for new partnerships. Will also need to select particular research to highlight at the Dinner or at the Program, possibly through the BIS Advisory Council listserv.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: By bringing faculty and practitioners together, each will benefit. Faculty will have greater appreciation of practitioners' needs and experience; practitioners will be able to participate in research studies to verify or disprove conflicting opinions on the effectiveness of BI, as well as to study areas heretofore neglected. The Dinner and the conference program provide public arenas for recognizing and encouraging BI-related research.
IMPLEMENTATION: All BIS Committees--each committee should be charged with coming up with a potential research topic, and a description of some faculty/practitioner partnership or team-teaching effort. All committees should participate in electronic discussion, under the direction of the Executive Committee. Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee will need to publicize this effort. The Program Committee will need to coordinate, to allot sufficient time during the program slot, if necessary, or to accommodate special poster sessions focused on this area. Or, the Communication Committee will need to coordinate with Local Arrangements for the Dinner, to arrange for time, equipment and an appropriate place.

LT2e. Solicit and submit to library school faculty a list of practical BI projects or assignments which would be useful to library school students and also to BI practitioners--e.g., development of generic user guides. These projects or assignments should be designated as a learning experience both for those taking BI courses, and as a supplement to other courses.

FACILITY: Simple--Post a message on BI-L and in C&RL News requesting ideas. Post a message on the BIS Advisory Council listserv. Compile ideas and submit to library school faculty via Jesse-L. Also, make this list available via BI-L and through LOEX. Update annually.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Library school faculty would probably appreciate the practitioner's view of useful projects or assignments. It would not only provide help in updating or creating specific courses, it would also give faculty a good picture of current needs and emphases.
IMPLEMENTATION: Rotating assignment for a different BIS Committee each year.

LT2f. Regularly monitor BI courses and BI-related portions of other courses in library schools through syllabus examination.

FACILITY: Simple to Medium. Establish an ongoing methodology for soliciting and sharing library school syllabi related to BI--e.g., a form for outlining or describing syllabi. Work with LOEX to solicit syllabi regularly, and arrange to archive syllabi at LOEX. Publicize the results broadly.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Will provide tracking mechanism and self-evaluation. Library schools will be able to see where they fit on the BI instruction continuum, and BIS will see whether it needs to expand its efforts and where.
IMPLEMENTATION: Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee and LOEX.

LT2g. Consider library school faculty's BI-related publications for the BI Publication of the Year Award.

LT2h. Consider establishing a separate award for BI dissertation of the year. Strictly as an interim measure, consider BI-related Ph.D. dissertations for BI Publication of the Year Award.

LT2g & 2h

FACILITY: Simple to Difficult--publicize the existence of the BI Publication of the Year Award and the fact that both dissertations and published faculty research are eligible. Difficulty may arise in obtaining ACRL approval for a fourth BIS award.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: A separate award would provide strong encouragement to faculty and doctoral students to study BI-related issues. (However, considering both dissertations and works by practitioners for the same award may discourage practitioners from applying for the award.)
IMPLEMENTATION: Awards Committee and Executive Committee.

3.  Reach out to the membership--demonstrate openness to new ideas and interest in fostering new approaches in making continuing education opportunities available to them.

*Already in place:
    a. Innovation in BI Award
    b. BIS Conference & Preconference Programs
    c. BIS Discussion Forums
    d. BI-L as an electronic discussion forum
    e. Regional/State Library Instruction Contacts List (Teaching Methods)

*In progress or planned:
    a. List of potential discussion forum topics and speakers in progress (Emerging Technologies)--expand on this
    b. Model for Internet instruction
    c. Alternative scenarios for incorporating active learning into BI
    d. "Bright Ideas in BI Management" Project (MBIS)

ST3a. On an ongoing basis, use BI-L to solicit ideas from the membership about preconferences, program topics, publications, involving members further, etc.

FACILITY: Simple--Committees put out calls to the membership (or other interested parties) for ideas and suggestions, via BI-L, C&RL News, Jesse-L and Prism.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Increased involvement will draw in new members and demonstrate to the current membership that the BIS leadership wants to be responsive to broad-based needs. This would go a long way to dispelling the notion that BIS is a closed organization comprised of cliques.
IMPLEMENTATION:  All Committees, on a rotating basis, to post queries regarding planned focus, possible program and pre-conference topics, and publications. The Executive Committee to begin and to monitor.

ST3b. Arrange to teleconference preconferences.

FACILITY: Difficult--Will need to investigate and standardize procedures for arranging for teleconferencing preconferences. Once standardized, the chore will be more routine, especially if done through the ACRL office.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Teleconferencing fees may bring in enough income to bring down the in-person preconference registration fee. Teleconferencing these BIS preconferences would also bring BIS programming to local and regional areas for line librarians who are unable to attend national conferences.
IMPLEMENTATION: Conference Program Planning Committee in conjunction with ACRL.

ST3c. Summarize Discussion Forum results on BI-L and Jesse-L and encourage further discussion.

POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Will provide BIS members and others interested with a "you are there" flavor, and may stimulate further discussion on hot topics. May interest BI-L subscribers to join BIS if they have not already done so, as they will be able to participate in some fashion in directing the Section's focus.
IMPLEMENTATION: Rotating--Committees responsible for discussion forums will summarize and monitor further discussion. It will be necessary to act quickly following conferences in order to "cash in" on topic currency and to encourage further participation.

ST3d. Provide two locations for retrieval of various BI-related documents, lists, etc., such as the list of state BI contacts--LOEX and BI-L.

FACILITY: Simple--BI-L moderator (Martin Raish) has already indicated willingness to mount on BI-L generically useful or interesting BI-related files for retrieval by BI-L subscribers. LOEX has been a traditional repository for such materials, and will continue to serve this function.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Outreach to the membership and others interested in BI. Will result in increased visibility, and may be a membership draw.
IMPLEMENTATION: With Executive's approval, various Committee documents or products may be posted to BI-L and sent to LOEX; all Committees should be encouraged to take this route, among others, to publicize their products.

ST3e. Publicize the work of each BIS Committee on BI-L and Jesse-L twice each year, and ask library school faculty to forward this information to interested Ph.D. candidates.

POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Will keep the membership up to date on committee activities and plans, thereby making them feel a part of the action.
IMPLEMENTATION: The Communication Committee should post a copy of each Committee's "Meeting Highlights" form to BI-L immediately following each national conference.

LT3a. Sponsor, co-sponsor, endorse, publicize or establish regional workshops, programs or institutes, perhaps with other groups, national, regional or local--e.g., LAMA institute for managers; state library associations' programs.

FACILITY: Medium to Difficult--Medium facility to link to already established programs, workshops or institutes, by co-sponsoring (i.e., lending approval by allowing use of the "BIS" name, though may require ACRL approval to do this). Difficult, if BIS decides to establish or sponsor workshops, institutes or programs on its own.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: True outreach to membership and to other groups; increase visibility and membership.
IMPLEMENTATION: Immediately establish a task force to begin investigating options for developing, endorsing, sponsoring or co-sponsoring regional workshops, programs or institutes. Once options have been identified and approved, charge the same or another task force with conducting one or more pilot projects to test these options. Charge the task force with documenting and analyzing the success or failure of these pilot projects. Further charge it to work with the Policy Committee and the Executive Committee to develop criteria and clearly identify the level of effort needed for each option. Will also need to check with ACRL on their procedures, if any, in this regard.

LT3b. Provide teleconferencing of BIS preconferences, to sites around the country, with advance registration available.

FACILITY: Difficult--may involve great cost for basic teleconferencing fees, as well as ACRL overhead, in addition to difficulty in working with hotel union rules.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Teleconferencing BIS preconferences would truly bring the Section to the membership and involve them directly. Members who cannot attend national conferences will feel included, rather than excluded, and we will all benefit by being able to share the excitement and intellectual stimulation that conference participation brings.
IMPLEMENTATION: Conference Program Planning Committee.

LT3c. Highlight innovative BI ideas at each annual conference program, perhaps the Innovation in BI Award winner and runners-up, and the winners of MBIS' "Bright Ideas in BI Management" Project, by allotting 30 minutes of Conference program time for winners and runners-up to describe their innovations, or through additional poster sessions following the program. Or, allot 30 minutes of program time where line librarians who have developed promising new ideas or approaches each have a brief period of time (e.g. five minutes) to describe their ideas, and would also provide handouts when appropriate.

FACILITY: Simple--inviting winners and runners-up for Innovation Award and Bright Ideas, to the annual BIS program, or inviting them to submit poster sessions; establishing time constraints (if they are to speak at the program), and coordinating with program plans.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Will focus attention on line BI librarians with promising new ideas and approaches. By recognizing their grass-roots efforts, we will be encouraging others to be creative and to let the rest of us know about it. This could be quite a morale booster and another means of reaching out to the membership.
IMPLEMENTATION: The Program Committee and the Awards Committee would need to coordinate this effort. If these individuals are invited to speak at the program, it would involve sending out invitations describing the time constraints and requesting rsvp's. If they are invited to do special poster sessions, the Program Committee and the Awards Committee would need to send out invitations and provide instructions as to poster session requirements.

LT3d. Consider developing a preconference composed of the Learning to Teach Handbook workshops. Teleconference to others or create a videotape and make it available for sale.

FACILITY: Medium to Difficult--A preconference would be fairly simple to arrange, as the presenters and topics are all laid out in the publication. A traveling workshop or institute might be co-sponsored with other groups, requiring quite a bit of effort and coordination. Videotaped workshops might come out of a preconference or stand alone program or workshop, depending on the availability of funding.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Preconferences reach those who attend national conferences, but if videotaped or teleconferenced, could reach many more. Videotaped or traveling workshops would be another important method of reaching out to the membership. If videotaped, these workshops could also be used in library school BI courses or in library school courses with a BI component. It would also be helpful to accompany the workshops with a handout or booklet containing points for discussion, a bibliography for further information, and other handouts, as appropriate.
IMPLEMENTATION: Link to long-term recommendation 3a.

LT3e. Make "teaching tips" a part of the BIS Orientation publicity/poster, etc. at BIS Dinner and at each conference and pre-conference program. Ask BIS members to submit short practical teaching tips.

FACILITY: Simple--Include a request for teaching tips along with the Dinner announcement.
POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Will attract more interest in the Dinner and will result in higher morale for line BI librarians, as they see their best and most creative efforts recognized by BIS.
IMPLEMENTATION: The Communication Committee will need to prepare and add to the orientation poster short descriptions of these tips. They will also need to provide a handout describing these tips at each program, reprint them in C&RL News, and post them on BI-L.

LT3f. Continue to provide the membership with practical help and advice, for example:
            --scenarios for incorporating active learning into BI
            --model for Internet instruction
            --list of resources on BI to diverse groups

POLITICAL USEFULNESS: The members appreciate all the good work BIS Committees perform in developing and publicizing their projects and activities.
IMPLEMENTATION: All BIS Committees--keep up the good work in developing practical help for BI librarians.

LT3g. Continue CE surveys of needs and interests, and add semi-annual survey of membership through BI-L and C&RL News--"How can BIS help you?" Use the results to help plan conference programs, preconferences, discussion forums, publications and committee work.

LT3h. Survey library school faculty teaching BI as separate courses or as component of other courses, asking the same question as in 3g, above.

LT3g and 3h

POLITICAL USEFULNESS: Members will feel a part of the planning process--will feel more involved in BIS activities.
IMPLEMENTATION: The Continuing Education Committee will need to post surveys, and report on results and plans. Reporting back is a critical part of the effort.

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Appendix A: Position Paper on Voluntary Certification    

Note: BIS members, BIS leadership, and other interested BI librarians commented on the concept of voluntary certification for BI librarians, through listserv discussions, a BIS Midwinter 1992 discussion forum, and BIS Executive and Advisory Council discussions. Most comments were either hesitant or negative, which led the SOPE Task Force to concentrate on other ideas and suggestions instead.

Position Paper on Voluntary Certification for BI Librarians Esther Grassian UCLA College Library 12/91

Resolved, that BIS establish a voluntary certification program for BI librarians, both to encourage library schools to provide separate BI courses for library school students, and to encourage increased opportunities for continuing education among BI librarians.

Problem: Most new library school graduates have no knowledge of or training in the theory and practice of bibliographic instruction. Each new institution, therefore, must train new BI librarians laboriously in the BI methodology in place at that institution. Some institutions even ask these librarians to create new programs or revise existing programs within their first year on the job. Yet it takes a number of years to "get up to speed," not only regarding a particular institution's program(s), but also those in other institutions. Some never get beyond a crawl, mostly due to lack of exposure in library school and a lack of continuing education opportunities. How can we encourage employers to value BI coursework and training, and thereby encourage library schools to offer introductory and continuing education BI courses?

Background: Library schools show encouraging signs of turning to the profession for help in revising curricula and goals through accreditation standards revision, as well as to meet changing needs. Technological change, for example, has meant increased course offerings in information science courses.

Since the early 1970's, BI librarians have been hoping that library schools would also establish separate BI courses for library school students. Indeed, over the past 20 years, some library schools have established such courses. For example, in Spring 1990, the UCLA GSLIS began to offer a separate BI course for library schools students. Next year, BI will be included in the course description of a newly revised reference course, as well.

But times are tough, and when they are, BI courses are among the first to be cut or treated as "second-class." Using UCLA as an example again, the full BI course (scheduled to be taught annually) will not be taught in Spring 1992, due to a lack of funds. Instead, GSLIS wanted to offer the course in the summer, sending a signal of secondary importance. At the ALISE/BIS discussion forum at ALA Midwinter 1991, Herb White, too, stressed that BI would continue to be of secondary importance to library school educators until and unless BI coursework became a requirement for employment.

Proposal: Health sciences librarians have dealt with the twin problems of ensuring library school coursework and continued professional development, by establishing a voluntary certification program through the MLA Academy of Health Information Professionals.

BIS should create a Task Force to investigate the establishment of a voluntary certification program for BI librarians, modeled on MLA's program, and possibly entitled BIS Academy of User Education Professionals. By pulling together the proficiencies study, the standards for BI librarians (when completed), the model library school BI course (when completed), the core BI bibliography (when completed), and through a study of the MLA plan, the Task Force should:

  1. Plan for establishment of a BIS Credentialing Committee, which would
    1. set criteria for a Code of Certification of User Education Professionals, with recognition at four levels: Associate, Member, Senior Member and Distinguished Member
    2. base recognition on a Portfolio of Professional Progress, with BI or related coursework as an important element
  2. Provide a plan for the establishment of a Professional Recognition Review Panel which would conduct individual reviews
  3. Provide a plan for establishment of an Appeals Panel
  4. Provide a plan for publication of an annual directory of members, including skills and abilities (e.g., availability as library school lecturers,speakers, consultants and/or mentors)
  5. Provide a plan to publicize to library schools the existence of the credentialing program, a model BI course (when completed), a core BI bibliography (when completed), and the directory described above.
  6. Provide a plan for publicizing the program to BI librarians and their employers

It is particularly critical that BIS initiate this investigation now, for several reasons. First, we (library schools and the profession) are trying to figure out what we do and what we should be doing, as we overlap more and more with professionals in computer science, instructional development and communication. Second, library schools need and want our input to survive these difficult economic times. They are carefully examining their curricula, listening to the voices of practitioners, and then making long overdue changes. Let us speak up now and let library schools know what we need, and how we can help them meet our needs. Let us establish a program that will award BI librarianship the stature it deserves. This is a singular opportunity for change, for a paradigm shift. Let us make the most of it.

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Appendix B: BIS Chronologies*    


  1. Traveling exhibits
  2. Sale of BI Liaison Press Kits
  3. Coordination of reporting pertinent articles in professional journals and of planning speakers on conference program agendas
  4. Promoting the instructional potential of the academic library
  5. Creating an awareness of the academic library's total role in higher education
  6. Project was contracted out to LOEX Director for two years and funding ceased after August 1984.

CHRONOLOGY--AWARDS (1984-present)

  1. BI Librarian of the Year Award (1984)
  2. Revised criteria for Dudley BI Award; recommended establishing award for research and publication (1990)
  3. Renamed Dudley Award Committee as Awards Committee (1991)
  4. ACRL Board of Directors approved the BI Publication of the Year Award and forwarded it to the ALA Awards Committee (1991)
  5. BIS Awards Committee investigated a second new award--Innovation in BI Award (1991)
  6. Innovation in BI Award approved (1992)


  1. BIS Executive considered eliminating the Clearinghouse Committee, yet saw a need for communication among clearinghouse librarians, as well as a need to strengthen work with ACRL chapters, regional BI groups, other units within ALA and organizations outside ALA.
  2. A Task Force on Cooperation (Don Kenney, Chair) examined these issues: (1988)
    1. Should the Section have a Cooperation Committee and if so, draft a feasible charge in keeping with ACRL and BIS Strategic Plans (Charge)
    2. Task Force will attempt to determine the cooperation needs of the Section, who should do it, and our relationship with other unites, and the overlap of cooperation with continuing education.
  3. At Midwinter 1989, the Task Force identified cooperation problem categories:
    1. Unclear or undefined liaison activities within the BIS Section, with other ALA units and other professional organizations
    2. No one Committee was responsible for publicity, gathering information, compiling information
    3. Coordinating regional and local outreach programs and projects

Also concluded that LOEX role should be enhanced. (1989)


  • Discussion group meeting at each Midwinter and Annual for librarians active in state and regional BI groups (Clearinghouse Committee 1984); repeated (1985)
  • Informal forum and discussion session on the "nuts and bolts" of setting up end-user search services, including instructional methods (Computer Concerns Committee, 1985)
  • Discussion Forum on "Developing In-House Computer-Assisted Instruction in Academic Libraries," Midwinter 1987 (Computer Concerns Committee, 1986)
  • ALISE Panel discussion, January 1987 on status of Education for BI, and on the Proficiencies Project (Education for BI, 1986)
  • Discussion Forum (January 1988), "Remote Online Users--Issues and Trends" (Computer Concerns, 1987)
  • Informal discussion/orientation, June 28, 1987--will provide an opportunity for people with an interest in User Education to get together in small groups and chat about programs, problems and concerns, as well as a very brief introduction to BIS (1987)
  • Discussion forum, Midwinter 1988, "Online Remote Users: Instructional Issues and Trends" (Computer Concerns Committee, 1987)
  • Discussion forum re formation of clearinghouse depository files and compilation of regional or state directory of library instruction programs. "BI Clearinghouses: Starting and Sustaining" (Clearinghouse Committee, 1988)
  • Informal discussion at Annual 1988 among those interested in conducting user satisfaction "research". (Research Committee 1988)
  • ALISE program, January 1989, "Bibliographic Instruction--A Case in Point" re proficiencies for practicing BI librarians and how library schools can respond. (Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee)
  • Discussion forum, Midwinter 1989--uses of hypertext as a BI tool (Computer Concerns Committee)
  • Discussion Forum, Midwinter 1989, "Libraries in the HyperAge: Uses of Hypertext in Library Instruction" (Computer Concerns Committee). Info sheets about hypertext projects in progress distributed at forum, to be collected. Information to be passed on to LOEX.
  • Discussion Forum, Midwinter 1990, "Bibliographic Instruction of Information Literacy: Semantics or Philosophy?" (Continuing Education Committee)
  • Discussion Forum, "Supercatalog: Service Implications of Locally-Mounted Databases" (Computer Concerns Committee)
  • Discussion Forum, Midwinter 1991, on teaching end-users file management techniques and file management software (Computer Concerns Committee)
  • Discussion Forum, Midwinter 1991, "Partnerships: the Key to Information Literacy" (Continuing Education Committee)
  • ALISE Discussion Forum, Midwinter 1991 (cosponsored with BIS Education for BI Committee) re Proficiencies Project and education for BI
  • Discussion Forum, Midwinter 1992, "A Career in Bibliographic Instruction: Dead End or Stepping Stone" (Continuing Education Committee)
  • Continuing Education Committee to facilitate discussion forums (1992)
  • Discussion Forum, "Getting There From Here: BI Issues When Libraries Go On the Network(s)" (Emerging Technologies Committee, 1992)
  • Discussion Forum, "Teaching Diverse Populations: Do We Need to Change?" (Continuing Education Committee, Instruction for Diverse Populations Committee, and Teaching Methods Committee, 1993)
  • SOPE Brainstorming Session--Discussion Forum Midwinter 1993--SOPE Task Force brainstorming session on strategic options for professional education

Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee (1984-present)

a. To identify specific proficiencies for bibliographic instructors, through questionnaire (1984)
b. Processing data collected to identify proficiencies desirable in BI librarians (1985):

-->Completed (1986)
-->Proficiencies survey sent out (1988)
-->Second survey developed from initial "Survey of BI Practitioners"--will take the 25 most often stated proficiencies needed by instruction librarians and practitioners. Respondents will be asked to report how they acquired those proficiencies along with how they think these skills should best be obtained. (1989)
--> Competencies and BI subcommittee developing project statement and plans to examine proficiencies identified in 1991 as they relate to BI in library schools (1992). Subcommittee working to identify basic skills for instruction librarians (1992).


  1. BIS Orientation Program at Midwinter and Annual (Communication Committee, 1985)
  2. Informal discussion/orientation, June 28, 1987--will provide opportunity for people with an interest in User Education to get together in small groups and chat about programs, problems and concerns, as well as a very brief intro to BIS (1987)
  3. Two page handout, history of the Section, to be distributed at BIS program, San Francisco (Communication Committee, 1987)
  4. Orientation session with slide show and narration (Communication Committee, 1988)
  5. Poster sessions for orientation and letter to each new BIS member (Communication Committee, 1989).


1. ALISE program with following objectives:
    a. To initiate communication between ALISE and BIS
    b. To clarify definitions of bibliographic instruction and education for bibliographic instruction
    c. To demonstrate the importance of library schools' offering opportunities to learn about bibliographic instruction. (1984)

2. ALISE program planned for January 1985--theme: undergraduate education (1984)

3. ALISE Panel discussion, January 1987 on status of Education for BI, and on the Proficiencies Project (1986)

4. Fostering closer ties with library schools through ALISE and contacting people at different institutions to serve as liaison to keep library schools informed of the importance of BI to practitioners (1987)

5. ALISE program, January 1989, "Bibliographic Instruction--a Case in Point" re proficiencies for practicing BI librarians and how library schools can respond. (1988)

6. ALISE Discussion Forum (cosponsored) re Proficiencies Project and education for BI (1991)

*(Information gleaned from BIS Newsletters)

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Report from Executive Committee    

To:         Executive Committee
From:     Lori Arp
Re:         Report from Executive on the recommendations of the SOPE Committee
Date:      July 23, 1994
cc:         Sharon Mader
             Linda Muroi
             Trudi Jacobson

At the 1994 Annual ALA conference in Miami, the Executive committee met in a special session to review the recommendations of the Strategic Options for Professional Education Task Force (Appendix 1). The SOPE Task Force's work was comprehensive and creative, generating a great many possible actions. Executive committee's minutes outline in detail response to every item mentioned in the report.

The following recommendations were felt to be the most practicable and timely, particularly given the current structure of the Section. The actions are listed below. Rationale for each project is not given, as it is included in the original report.

a.) Directory Resource People/Syllabus Collection. Education for BI Committee is asked to continue to update a directory of resource people who teach classes and collect syllabuses. These should be distributed through LOEX, or other appropriate informal avenues. A model of template syllabus should not be created, rather a list of actual examples designed.

b.) ALISE Communication. Education for BI is asked to continue to work with ALISE through conference planning, liaisoning, and using the JESSE listserv and other publications to alert library school faculty to pertinent BIS publications, etc. A subcommittee should be established to generate ideas on programming on this issue. An ALISE liaison should be assigned from the committee to monitor work.

c.) Dissertations.

1.) The Awards committee is requested to include a review of dissertations when considering the BIS publication of the year award. A new award is not practicable at this time.

2.) Education for BI Committee  is directed to continue to monitor dissertations in the field of instruction and notify membership through listservs, etc. of their existence.

e.) ACRL Initiative. The Executive Committee recommends that one of the 1994-95 ACRL initiatives be a promotional and informational package directed at library school faculty and employers. The package would specifically promote ACRL and BIS activities in the realm of teaching and instruction for the purposes of recruitment and information. The tone of the package should be that of peer communication. Only documents developed by BIS committees and official publications of the Section should be included. Some inclusions would be: the lists of resource people; a summary of BIS survey projects (employability, management, and the job ad analysis); a list of the syllabuses available through LOEX; the Model Statement; the updated results of Emerging Technologies report; BIS brochure; etc. Publications by individuals (ex. proficiencies) should not be included. The package should not be dependent on the production of a video and the tone should avoid being prescriptive in any fashion. Education for BI is directed to develop the concept of the package and its contents; the Executive Council would draft the initiative.

f.) BI Lecturers. The Education for BI Committee is asked to develop and maintain a list of resource people who have taught courses or would serve as guest lecturers for BI courses. This should be distributed through LOEX and other channels.

g.) Communication. The Communication Committee is charged with examining what materials are appropriate for the ACRL Gopher for distribution and investigating the possibility of a BIS listserv as well as an electronic newsletter for the membership. It was felt that BI-L is excellent for announcements but that it would be inappropriate to distribute full BIS documents through this media as it is designed to be informal, conversational, and is not directly related to the organization.

h.) Regional Workshops. Continuing Education has been asked to examine the facility of regional workshops, national preconferences, etc. and make recommendations concerning this type of programming. Management of BI has been investigating connections with other ALA organizations in cosponsorship. The Program and Preconference Manual Task Force has been charged with designing a manual to facilitate work on these projects in the future.

The following recommendations were not acted on:

1. It was strongly felt by both Advisory Council and Executive Committee that the BIS dinner should remain a casual informal function. Awards, or recognitions, etc. should be brief and limited. The Chair of the Section is asked to invite chairs of ALISE LIRT to the dinner but the Section budget should not cover the cost of these activities. No speeches, etc. should occur.

2. Many members of the Executive Committee disagreed strongly on the need for the development of a competencies/proficiencies list and the distribution of such a list. The membership has been consistently split on this topic and the development of such a document would need to go through guidelines and standards process in ACRL. It was felt that the controversial nature of such a project would not support communication with outside organizations. Codification of intellectual activities was felt to be best left to discussion of individuals and without the endorsement of the organization. For example, the Shonrock and Mulder article presents an interesting, appropriate, independent view of this option. This document was deliberately not sponsored by the Section Executive Committee at the time of submission so it could stand as an independent view.

3. It was felt that teleconferencing was not practically feasible at this time as a programming option because of logistical difficulties and expense.

4. BI-L, while a useful and interesting forum, is designed to be an informal open communication device. Many participants are not BIS members and the listserv has no official connection to the organization. It was felt that due to these issues, it is more courteous and appropriate to provide informational items about BIS documents, functions, etc. through this medium and to house the actual items of this nature elsewhere, such as the ACRL gopher.

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