For immediate release | March 28, 2022

Learner-centered techniques for academic library instruction

CHICAGO — When you stand alone in front of the class, being in command of your content is only the first step. Knowing how to engage students’ participation in ways that foster “ownership” ensures that learning is both active and lasting. In her new guide “Practical Academic Library Instruction: Learner-Centered Techniques,” published by ALA Editions, Jo Angela Oehrli shares tried and tested techniques honed from 20 years of practice in both traditional and nontraditional settings. Drawing from educational research, she applies these techniques to the learner-centered teaching of information literacy topics. In this book, which is organized for quick access to techniques at your point of need, you will learn:

  • how to use guiding principles to shape your personal philosophy of teaching;
  • ways to address the uneven power dynamics of a classroom;
  • 5 basic questions to guide your preparation for a class;
  • pointers for communicating with students in the language of the ACRL Framework;
  • simple and subtle ways to build rapport with students;
  • real-world applications of education research concepts such as Keller’s ARCS theory of motivation;
  • metacognitive techniques that foster student ownership of learning;
  • other tips for asking good discussion questions and how to use the think/pair/share method to encourage discussion;
  • techniques for defusing distraction in the classroom through proximity, pivoting, and pausing; and
  • interactive methods to uncover students’ prior knowledge in research.

Oehrli is a learning librarian at the University of Michigan Libraries‒Ann Arbor, where she delivers instruction in one-on-one, small group, and large class environments. A former high school and middle school teacher, she has been an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan’s School of Information and for undergraduate courses in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. In 2017, she won ALA’s Library Instruction Round Table’s Librarian Recognition Award and the University of Michigan’s University Librarian Recognition Award. Oehrli is serving as president of the LOEX board from 2021 to 2023.

Many book retailers and distributors are experiencing service disruptions or delays, including Amazon. For speediest service, order direct from the ALA Store. ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman at

Related Links

"Practical Academic Library Instruction: Learner-Centered Techniques"

"Using Context in Information Literacy Instruction: Beyond Basic Skills"

"Teaching Research Data Management"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing & Media