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Making IL Visible

Friday, May 13, 2011

In the latest issue of Communications in Information Literacy, you’ll find William Badke’s article “Why Information Literacy is Invisible.”  If you, the instruction librarian, feel like a lone voice crying in the information literacy wilderness, if you’re wondering why a topic as important as information literacy seems to be ignored by everyone except librarians at your institution, read this article for some reasons why this might be so.

Contrast that with a couple of recent blog posts by Wayne Bivens-Tatum in the Academic Librarian blog, discussing the limitations of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards and the limited influence of the librarian in the research lives of students.  If you read the blog posts, be sure to read the comments that follow as well. The article and blog posts make it clear that the instruction librarian who’s trying to teach information literacy has a difficult job.

At the Schusterman Library on the OU-Tulsa campus, we’re working on an information literacy integration plan for our campus. We are taking on that difficult task because whatever you want to call it, information literacy instruction, or research instruction, or library instruction, the librarians here know what a difference good info lit instruction makes for our students. Many of you are also working on the same kinds of things at your institutions. Some of us are making progress, some are not. On some campuses, the job is done—or rather, I should say, robustly implemented. Look at Augustana, an inspiration to IL librarians if there ever was one. In reading about these success stories, in talking to librarians about their lessons learned, in reviewing the literature, I’ve come across a lot of things that I wanted to pass on to my colleagues. Once a week or so,  I’ll post some of these things that I want to share, and document some of the interesting parts of our library’s work in making information literacy more visible on our campus.

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