Thursday, May 27, 2010

Assessing Library Instruction

As a librarian I belong to the American Library Association (ALA). The organization makes it easier to connect with other individuals in the profession. While many think of librarians in the generic sense, each librarian fills a different role within the library. For example, the Eli M. Oboler Library has only one electronic resources librarian, though she also has reference, instruction, and collection development duties. (Yes, variety remains one of the positive aspects of librarianship.)

So what do you do if you have a question or problem that none of your immediate colleagues can answer? Well, that's part of the beauty of ALA. Many others in similar positions around the country (even the world) willingly share their expertise with fellow, like-minded librarians. Last week I wanted to know how to assess my colleagues and their library instruction, so I sent out an email to other instruction librarians, including many coordinators of instruction.

The Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL) manages a number of listservs. One of these, the information literacy and instruction listserv (ili-l), devotes itself to instruction and info-lit issues. We talk about teaching in libraries, developing information-literacy skills, and so forth. A fair number of librarians responded to my question about assessing library instruction, so I created a Google Site to summarize their responses.

With so many libraries scattered throughout the country, ALA is huge, and so is ACRL. Library school seems like a good time to consider which nook within the larger library umbrella you wish to make a name for yourself. More and more young librarians seem to be entering the academic libraries as instruction and reference librarians. ACRL's Instruction Section can be quite supportive of instruction librarians, depending on your level of involvement.

If you are searching for academic library reference and instruction job positions the ili-l listserv frequently sends out job postings. To learn how to sign up for the listserv/discussion list, go to this link.

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