Tips and Best Practices for Librarians in the Classroom
Since the term “Fake News” entered the popular lexicon last fall, requests for librarians in the classroom have become more commonplace. Because collaboration between librarians and teachers is a desired outcome in so many conversations about information literacy (IL) today, it is helpful to explore best practices for this strategy.
Embedded librarianship can take several forms, from heavy engagement within the classroom, to one-shots, to digital resources embedded or linked within the Learning Management System (LMS) or website. Research from across the United States has shown a positive impact on student achievement when librarians collaborate with teachers, particularly in the area of information literacy.
Getting Started Among the most challenging aspects of collaboration is raising awareness of the services the library can provide, and gaining buy-in from teachers that such a partnership is worth their time. Here are some tips to get the ball rolling:
Market Information Literacy: In his research, Carl R. Andrews found that marketing the value of the library’s services to faculty was a critical first step, as many don’t fully appreciate what the library can offer them. He recommends creating an IL brochure (p.4) that includes a definition of IL along with what services the library can provide.
Entrepreneurial Mindset: The ACRL wrote about having an entrepreneurial mindset that is equally applicable to academic and K-12 libraries. Be proactive and imaginative in how you reach out to teachers, including requesting an opportunity to speak at teacher workshops or department meetings to “sell yourself” and broadcast what you can offer them.
Extending Instruction Online Taking advantage of the library’s website is one way to offer convenience to both the faculty member and students. In addition to uploading pathfinders, LibGuides, and other reference materials, librarians can also include on-demand videos and tutorials that will help students conduct their research at a higher level. These might be school-specific topics such as how to navigate the library databases or use the catalog, or you might include IL topics like writing a thesis statement, citing sources, or avoiding plagiarism.
Getting Better as You Go Librarian Raymond Pun has writtenfrequently about assessment tools and strategies, most of which can apply to embedded librarian models at all levels. He outlines how to work with faculty to create a rubric, how to use free and open source tools to assess in real time, and activities you can use in the classroom, library, or online.
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