For immediate release | April 5, 2021

Ingram Library of the University of West Georgia chosen for the LIRT 2021 Innovation in Instruction Award

CHICAGO — The Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) of the American Library Association is pleased to announce that the 2021 Innovation in Instruction Award will be presented to the Ingram Library of the University of West Georgia. Created to recognize a library that demonstrates innovation in support of information literacy and instruction, this year’s award recognizes LibraryDen, an asynchronous information literacy course built in response to changing instructional needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed by Anne Barnhart, Melissa Farley, Lori Dixon-Leach, and Craig Schroer at the Ingram library, with help from a larger team of library staff and student library employees, LibraryDen combines existing materials from projects (such as LibraryDIY) with new structures and self-grading quizzes to deliver scalable information literacy instruction for students across disciplines. Due to the pandemic, all initial work on the course was done remotely, incorporating student employees and library staff to develop questions and test the course through several iterations. The team paid particular attention to “finding meaningful work for all employees working from home,” particularly for student employees whose jobs are more often place-bound. The course went through several rounds of testing before it was released in fall 2020 and has since been revised to incorporate assessment feedback from the first cohort of student users. The Awards Committee particularly recognized the cross-disciplinary applicability of the course content, the use of continuing assessment to improve the course, and the exceptionally enthusiastic praise for the course from a variety of University of West Georgia faculty.

Anne Barnhart, the project team lead, shared the following statement upon learning about the award: “I’m very proud of the way our team worked together during the pandemic to design and implement this online asynchronous information literacy course. The positive feedback from student testers while we were building the course and the comments from students and faculty who have used it indicated that we had developed a tool that was useful for our campus community. The external recognition of this award and the attention this draws to our project signifies that what our small team created will be beneficial beyond our campus community.”

The reproducibility of the course was another factor of the selection of this program for the LIRT Innovation in Instruction Award. The LibraryDen team has committed to making their project files, question libraries and other information about the course available to other libraries upon request. The Awards Committee found the commitment to share resources with other academic libraries that may be struggling with reduced budgets and staff was commendable and timely.

The Library Instruction Round Table was started in 1977 with the intent to bring together librarians who provide library instruction across all types of libraries–academic, public, school, and special. 2021 marks the eighth year the Innovation in Instruction Award has been awarded. The Ingram Library will be presented with a $1,000 cash prize and a plaque commemorating the award. Their achievement will be celebrated at a virtual awards ceremony during the ALA Annual virtual conference in June 2021 (date and time to be announced).

Find out more about LIRT, its mission, and the awards.

The LIRT Innovation in Instruction Awards Subcommittee included Emilia Marcyk of Michigan State University (chair), Alexandra Mitchell of Texas A&M University, and Bridget Farrell of the University of Denver.


Emilia Marcyk

Chair, 2021 Innovation in Instruction Award

Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT)