Special Collections & Archives: Partners in Critical Information Literacy

Thursday, 9/13/2018
  • 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 1:00 PM-2:00 PM (Central)
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Pacific)

Discover how to utilize primary sources from special collections and archives to teach critical information literacy. Explore primary source analysis as a critical teaching tool that is rooted in both critical consciousness-raising and postmodern archival theory. Example analyses will use foundational archival principles to guide learners through their work. Additionally, the presenters will highlight ways in which critical primary source analysis can be useful in addressing some of the common challenges to implementing critical pedagogical techniques.

In terms of the infrastructure and support needed to include primary sources in critical information literacy instruction, participants will also discuss building partnerships between archivists/special collections librarians and teaching and learning librarians, in order to draw on each group's expertise, and identify the ways that archival and primary source literacies might be better integrated into an institution's teaching and learning program. Finally, we will examine more general strategies for building teaching and learning programs within archives and special collections libraries.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will recognize the pedagogical potential of primary resources in archives and special collections in order to integrate new elements of social justice, diversity, and inclusion into critical information literacy classrooms.
  • Participants will customize sample critical information literacy lesson plans in order to be able to transfer their new knowledge to their home institution and individual professional practice.
  • Participants will identify opportunities for partnerships between teaching and learning librarians, special collections librarians, and archivists, in order to create a learning community that joins together colleagues with an interest in critical teaching.

Who Should Attend

The webcast has two main audiences: teaching and learning librarians, who are interested in integrating special collections and archives into their instruction, and special collections librarians and archivists, who are interested in integrating their efforts with the work of their teaching and learning librarian colleagues.


Rebecca K. Miller, MSLS, MAED, is the Head of Library Learning Services at Penn State University Libraries. In this role, she leads a team of colleagues in providing strategy and coordination for teaching and learning expertise, foundational-level information literacy instruction, programming for outreach and student engagement, and physical and virtual learning spaces at Penn State's University Park campus. Previously, Rebecca served in various leadership, teaching, and liaison roles at Virginia Tech and Louisiana State University and has an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MAEd in Instructional Design and Technology from Virginia Tech.  Rebecca is a member of the ACRL Immersion Program Faculty, an 2012 ALA Emerging Leader, a 2016 ACRL Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians participant, a 2012 Immersion Program Track alum, and a 2011 Immersion Teach Track alum,


Julie Porterfield serves the Penn State University Libraries as both the Instruction & Outreach Archivist and WGSS Library Liaison. Her work focuses on women and feminism in archives, archival outreach to campus and community groups, and teaching archival and primary source literacies with critical pedagogical techniques. Additionally, she is an active member of the Reference, Access, and Outreach Section of the Society of American Archivists, serving as a member of the steering and teaching with primary sources committees.



ACRL member: $50
ALA member: $75
Nonmember: $90
Student: $40
Group*: $295

* Webcasts take place in an interactive, online classroom environment with one user/one login. If you select the group rate, one person must register, login, and keyboard during the event. A group registration allows an institution to project the Webcast to participants in the same location.

How to Register

  • Locate the webcast by the date of the event under the monthly headings.
  • Select the "Register" link next to the webcast title.
  • You will need to log in with your ALA ID & password. If you do not have an ALA ID & password, you will be asked to create one in order to register.

Webcasts will be recorded and made available to registrants as an archive, so if you sign up but cannot attend the live event, you will receive the archived webcast recording.

Tech Requirements

ACRL Webcasts are held in an Adobe Connect virtual classroom. Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. You may ask questions through text-based chat.  Adobe works on both PC and Apple platforms.


If you have a question about an e-Learning opportunity or need to make arrangements for special assistance, please contact Margot Conahan (mconahan@ala.org).