Simmons wins 2006 ACRL Instruction Section Publication Award

Contact: Megan Bielefeld

ACRL Program Coordinator

For Immediate Release

February 28, 2006

Simmons wins 2006 ACRL Instruction Section Publication Award

CHICAGO—Michelle Holschuh Simmons, at the University of Iowa, has been chosen as the winner of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Instruction Section (IS) Publication Award for her article, “Librarians as Disciplinary Discourse Mediators: Using Genre Theory to move Toward Critical Information Literacy,” which appeared in portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol.5, No. 3 (2005), pp. 297–311.

This annual award recognizes an outstanding publication related to instruction in a library environment published in the preceding two years.

“With her article, Simmons challenges us to broaden our conception of information literacy beyond the skill and task orientations that continue to dominate our professional discussions, to encompass the notion of discursive practices that differentiate the disciplines from each other,” said Lynn D. Lampert, IS award committee chair. “With her provocative assertion of the affinity between information literacy and genre theory, and of the librarian's unique interdisciplinary vantage point within the academy, Simmons offers an ambitious vision of the librarian's role in addressing a longstanding gap in undergraduate education .”

According to Simmons, librarians are positioned “to see the academic culture as an anthropologist would, as an insider-outsider who observes deliberately and sensitively, noticing what might not be visible to others within the culture—in this case, faculty members and students.” She offers insightful ideas on how academic librarians can call attention to disciplinary discourses and their practices in information literacy sessions and curriculum development. Her creative application of genre theory to the role of instruction librarians as “disciplinary discourse mediators” challenges librarians to adopt new approaches to introducing students to research in their respective disciplines.

Simmons received her B.A. in English from the College of St. Benedict in 1993. She earned her M.A.T. in English from Minnesota State University in 1995 and her M.A. in Library and Information Science in 2000. She is currently working towards her PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Iowa.

She was awarded the 2005 Social Science Dissertation Fellowship, and received the H.W. Wilson Scholarship for academic achievement and leadership potential in a library science program in 2000. In 1999, Simmons was awarded the ALA Marshall Cavendish Scholarship for the pursuit of a library science degree.

Simmons will receive a citation during the 2006 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans at the IS program on Sunday, June 25, 2006, at 1:30 p.m.

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association, representing 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.