Recommended Readings for Librarians New to Instruction

"If you could recommend just three readings of any kind on information literacy to new instruction librarians, what would they be?"

This question was posed to all current and former members of the IIL Advisory Board and all IIL Immersion Program faculty, in order to compile a list of personal recommendations. We placed no format or subtopic limitations, which made it very difficult to choose just three readings from among the wealth of information literacy materials which have been published over the past 30 or more years, but choose we did. The annotated list below is made up of our personal responses to this challenge, and is directed at new instruction librarians or those who would like a refresher. We hope you find them both thought provoking and useful, and we wish all of you the best in your future endeavors.

--IIL Advisory Board Members and Immersion Program Faculty

Information Literacy: Introductory Readings

Arp, Lori. "Information literacy or bibliographic instruction semantics or philosophy?" RQ 30(1) (Fall 1990): 46-49.
This is foundational for understanding both where we are in the evolution of concepts of helping users become more effective researchers and where we've been. Helps remember the lessons of the past without being bound by old concepts. --Tom Kirk, College Librarian, Earlham College

Bechtel, Joan L. "Conversation: A New Paradigm for Librarianship." College & Research Libraries 47(3) (May 1986): 219-224.
An eloquent article on what should happen to students in libraries- making the important distinction between students as passive gatherers of information and students as participants in a conversation. I think this paradigm sank in when I first read it and has been a part of my thinking ever since.--Barbara Fister, College Librarian, Gustavus Adolphus College

Bruce, Christine. The Seven Faces of Information Literacy. Auslib Press, 1997.
Bruce offers a new research-based model for understanding information literacy as a phenomenon rather than a finite set of attributes. Bruce's work shows information literacy is far more fluid and complex than American standards and guidelines might suggest.--Mary Jane Petrowski, Head of Library Instruction, Colgate University

Chickering, Arthur W. and Ehrmann, Stephen. " Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever."
Based on the "Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" published in March 1987 by the AAHE, this document underscores the most appropriate ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. --Susan Barnes Whyte, Library Director, Linfield College Library

Cuban, Larry. Teachers and Machines: The Classroom Use of Technology Since 1920 . New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 1986.
A fascinating account of the intrusion of technology into the classroom, but not necessarily into the teaching/learning process. Required reading for all who think that computers are The Answer to solving education's perpetual challenges.--Susan Barnes Whyte, Library Director, Linfield College Library

Dudley, Miriam.(1983) "A Philosophy of Library Instruction." Research Strategies 1(2):58-63.
An inspiring and quintessential description of what it is we do in the way of instruction, why we do it, and why we should keep doing it.--Esther Grassian, Instructional Services Coordinator, UCLA, College Library

Eisenberg, Mike and Johnson, Doug. " Computer Skills for Information Problem-Solving: Learning and Teaching Technology in Context ". ERIC Digest, ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, March 1996. ED392463.
Over the past 20 years, library media professionals have worked to move from teaching isolated library skills to teaching integrated information skills. Effective integration of information skills has two requirements: (1) the skills must directly relate to the content area curriculum and to classroom assignments; and (2) the skills themselves need to be tied together in a logical and systematic information process model. Schools seeking to move from isolated computer skills instruction also need to focus on these requirements. The "Big Six Skills Approach to Information Problem Solving" is an information literacy curriculum, an information problem-solving process, and a set of skills which provide a strategy for effectively and efficiently meeting information needs. This model is transferable to school, personal, and work applications, as well as all content areas and the full range of grade levels. The Big Six Skills include: (1) task definition; (2) information seeking st! rategies; (3) location and access; (4) use of information; (5) synthesis; and (6) evaluation.--Mike Eisenberg, Director, University of Washington, Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Ewell, Peter T. "Organizing for Learning: A New Imperative" AAHE Bulletin 50(4) (December 1997): 3-6.
A very short article that has a good overview of what we know about learning, and what we know about promoting learning. --Loanne Snavely, Pennsylvania State University Libraries

Hardesty, Larry. "Faculty Culture and Bibliographic Instruction: An Exploratory Analysis," Library Trends 44 (Fall 1995): 339-67.
One of best-maybe the only--ethnography ever done by an academic librarian of academic culture. This is an absolutely fundamental article for librarians new to teaching within higher ed. --Mary Jane Petrowski, Head of Library Instruction, Colgate University

Increasing the Teaching Role of Academic Libraries , edited by Thomas G. Kirk. New Directions for Teaching and Learning; no. 18 San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1984.
Although this publication predates the computer revolution, the discussions which relate to use of print resources apply equally to electronic resources. This sources introduces all the major tenets of program development. --Tom Kirk, College Librarian, Earlham College

Jiao, Qun G. "Identifying Library Anxiety Through Students' Learning-Modality Preferences." Library Quarterly 69(2): 202-216. (April 1999)
Good overview of the question of student emotional reactions to library and information use. Taking students' emotional state into account is a critical aspect of developing a successful program. --Tom Kirk, College Librarian, Earlham College

Keresztesi, Michael. "The Science of Bibliography: Theoretical Implications for Bibliographic Instruction," in Theories of Bibliographic Education: Designs for Teaching , by Cerise Oberman & Katina Strauch Bowker, 1982, pp. 1-26.
[Annotation to be provided.]-- Cerise Oberman, Feinberg Library, SUNY Plattsburgh

Klein, Michael. "What is it we do when we write articles like this one--and how can we get the students to join us?" The Writing Instructor 6 (Spring/Summer 1987): 151-161.
Not out of our literature, but an interesting view from a composition teacher. Introduces a nice distinction between hunting and gathering (looking for something you know is out there v. looking to see what might be out there) and a very funny dystopian view of students at work in the library. --Barbara Fister, College Librarian, Gustavus Adolphus College

Kuhlthau, Carol Collier. "Developing a model of the library search process: cognitive and affective aspects." RQ v. 28 (Winter '88) p. 232-42.
Kuhlthau's theoretical approach to information seeking as a process of construction with stages of increasing and decreasing uncertainty has had a tremendous influence on the field. She has written many other fine works (SEEKING MEANING, TEACHING THE LIBRARY RESEARCH PROCESS), but this is an easy place to start if you only want to include articles.-- Mary Jane Petrowski, Head of Library Instruction, Colgate University

Levine, Arthur and Cureton, Jeanette S. When Hope and Fear Collide: A Portrait of Today's College Student . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1998.
Required reading for all who teach in higher education. Paints an intriguing portrait of the students today and for the next decade. Solid research accompanied by inspirational interpretation . --Susan Barnes Whyte, Library Director, Linfield College Library

Novak, Joseph Donald. Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps as Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations . Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998.
See especially chapters 3,4 and 5 on the difference between what Novak calls rote learning and meaningful learning. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each, and points out that while meaningful learning takes more effort, it is retained longer, learning improves because learners develop more complex and organized conceptual structures making subsequent learning easier, and knowledge can be applied to a variety of new problems. --Loanne Snavely, Pennsylvania State University Libraries

Shapiro, Jeremy J. & Hughes, Shelley K. " Information Literacy as a Liberal Art: Enlightenment Proposals for a New Curriculum." Educom Review 31(2)(March/April 1996)
This key article provides a historical and technological context to information literacy efforts. In outlining an information literacy curriculum, it focuses mainly on technological aspects, yet manages to bridge the gap between librarians' information literacy goals and those of computer literacy. --Esther Grassian, Instructional Services Coordinator, UCLA, College Library

Snavely, Loanne & Cooper, Natasha. "The Information Literacy Debate." Journal of Academic Librarianship 23 (January 1997):9-14.
A review article which does an excellent job of outlining the issues regarding the use of various terms describing what we do, particularly "information literacy." In the process it helps us understand our current role in an information society. --Esther Grassian, Instructional Services Coordinator, UCLA, College Library

Spitzer, Kathleen L., Eisenberg, Michael B., and Lowe, Carrie A. " Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age ". ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, 1998. ED427780
This monograph traces the history and development of the term "information literacy." It examines the economic necessity of being information literate, and explores the research related to the concept. Included are reports on the National Educational Goals (1991) and on the report of the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS, 1991). Also examined are recent revisions in national subject matter standards that imply a recognition of the process skills included in information literacy. The book outlines the impact information literacy has on K-12 and higher education, and provides examples of information literacy in various contexts. --Mike Eisenberg, Director, University of Washington, Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Valentine, Barbara. "Undergraduate Research Behavior: Using Focus Groups to Generate Theory." Journal of Academic Librarianship 19(5) (Nov 1993): 300-304.
Depressing but true: students follow the path of least resistance, tend to return to the same tools whether or not they are appropriate, and would rather ask their friends for help than librarians. A good reality check for the unbridled optimist. --Barbara Fister, College Librarian, Gustavus Adolphus College