Can only Librarians do Library Instruction? Collaborating with Graduate Students to Teach Discipline-Specific Information Literacy

By Alexander Watkins

Art & Architecture Librarian, University Libraries, University of Colorado Boulder

Katherine Morrison

Arts Education and Regional Services Director, Tippecanoe Arts Federation

Former Lead Graduate Teaching Assistant, Art & Art History Department, University of Colorado Boulder

[Peer Reviewed Article]


At many libraries the ratio of students to librarians is in the neighborhood of thousands to one; teaching these students information literacy requires a creative approach to library instruction. To expand the reach of information literacy in challenging situations, we should rethink the idea that only librarians can teach information literacy. There is a role for librarians as collaborators and teachers of information literacy pedagogy which can multiply their reach. Many instruction programs already apply similar methodologies for large first-year experience programs, but this strategy can be expanded to amplify introductory subject-specific library instruction as well.

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Creativity at the Edge: Cutting Back on Library Services during Hard Times

By Amanda Moeller and Julie Gilbert

Gustavus Adolphus College, Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library

[Case Study, Article]


In a service profession like librarianship, it can be difficult to conceive of ever saying no. We are in the business of helping people, after all. The very notion of saying no to our users may cause a spike of fear: if we say no, will people stop seeking our services? Will they stop seeing us as useful and helpful? Of course, circumstances sometimes arise that make it necessary for us to say no to taking on additional tasks and initiatives. Conditions might unfold in our personal lives that require us to step back for a time, or we may already be working at capacity and unable to take on anything new. We might say no after concluding that we simply do not have the time or energy to add more to our plates. Or we might realize that a new task does not fit within our priorities and we let it go. In these situations, we hope our colleagues are positioned to assist with the work or that the tasks are not essential and can be tabled for now.[i]

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“Je Suis Charlie” and Our Commitment to Intellectual Freedom

The JCPL editorial board strongly condemns the attacks on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and the murders of twelve individuals. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families touched by the tragedy. We also see in this public moment of outrage and public support for free speech an opportunity to confront the challenge inherent in supporting intellectual freedom and the underscore the responsibility of librarians to engage that challenge.

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Academic Librarians as Knowledge Creators

Author: Donna Witek, Associate Professor
Public Services Librarian
The University of Scranton
donna [dot] witek [at] scranton [dot] edu


Despite support from national organizations like the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), pursuing research and scholarship remains a challenge for academic librarians, even when the literature connects these activities to greater effectiveness in the practice of academic librarianship. This essay examines the history and present state of the questions of faculty status and tenure for librarians, and relates these questions to that of performing scholarly research and creating and disseminating new knowledge as an academic librarian. It then offers as a case study my experience identifying and pursuing a research agenda in collaboration with a faculty colleague in another department at my institution, with the goal of both sharing what has worked for one academic librarian (n=1) while also critiquing the system within which that success has occurred. The essay concludes with a list of creative strategies academic librarians can put into practice to become successful knowledge creators in the field of library and information science.

Keywords: academic librarians, faculty status, tenure, scholarly publishing, library research, library and information science, collaboration, information literacy, social media

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Learning and the Arts: Library as Creative Partner


Laurie Alexander
Associate University Librarian for Learning and Teaching
University of Michigan
Hatcher Library 818 South
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
(734) 936-2381
lauriea at umich dot edu

Beau David Case
Head, Arts & Humanities
University of Michigan
Hatcher Graduate Library 209 North
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
(734) 764-0306
bdcase at umich dot edu

Annette Haines
Art & Design Field Librarian
University of Michigan
Art & Architecture Building 2032
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069
(734) 763-4438
ahaines at umich dot edu

Linda Knox
Learning Design Librarian
University of Michigan
Duderstadt Center 2622
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2094
(734) 764-1434
lkendall at umich dot edu

Carrie Luke
Instructional Learning Specialist
University of Michigan
Shapiro Undergraduate Library 1102A
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1185
(734) 764-7722
clluke at umich dot edu

Jamie Lausch Vander Broek
Learning Librarian and Exhibits & Programming Librarian
Shapiro Undergraduate Library 2178
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1185
(734) 764-3166
jlausch umich dot edu

Students, scientists, dancers, performers, professors, renowned authors and poets, researchers, administrators, activists, and librarians—what do they have in common? They bring perspectives and vision to the conversation about how the arts inform, enable, and advance who we are today and where we directionally aspire to be. This past March, the University of Michigan (U-M) invited these voices to come together for the inaugural UpstArt festival ( to celebrate the arts in scholarship. The results were both expected and unexpected, showcasing the predominant and pervasive role of the arts, illuminating various responses to recent challenges in higher education, emphasizing the specific aspirations of our university, demonstrating the importance of the creative process in learning, and, most interestingly, illustrating how library partnerships enable discovery, collaboration, and learning.

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