reviews

Ann Whitney Gleason. New Methods of Teaching and Learning in Libraries. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. 200p. Paper, $55.00 (ISBN 978-1-4422-6411-3).

Ann Whitney Gleason’s book arrived on my desk at the perfect time. Similar to many colleges and universities across the country, at my university, we are currently struggling with economic and budgetary issues, assessment issues, how to best integrate the new Framework from ACRL and information literacy standards into the curriculum, as well as faculty retirements! I wondered what answers the book held for me.

Gleason’s book is divided into three parts, each addressing a different facet of teaching and learning in the library environment. The first part of Gleason’s book focuses on the teaching and learning practices in libraries. In chapter 1, Gleason introduces the basics of instruction in a library setting. She begins with a brief history of library instruction and then moves into a discussion of today’s learners, emphasizing the changing nature of the student. Gleason notes that “problems arise when colleges and universities are still organized around providing services that work best for traditional students and do not add services for the varied needs of the new majority of nontraditional students.” In addition, Gleason discusses many issues affecting colleges and universities mirroring the concerns noted above. Furthermore, even though, as Gleason says, “One of the primary missions of libraries everywhere is education,” librarians are not necessarily taught how to teach, similar to other faculty on campus. We obtain our terminal degree, usually an MLS, and then are thrust into the classroom environment without any pedagogical basis or direction. And while many librarians are familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy and even the flipped classroom model, few are familiar with other pedagogical models. Gleason rounds out chapter 1 with a discussion of several instructional theories including constructivism, a model that is present in the text as a whole.

In chapter 2, Gleason delves into the library instruction process. The author considers the need for information literacy instruction, the importance of lesson planning and design, and the need for assessing and improving library instruction. Chapter 3 is devoted to the examination of “Teaching beyond the Classroom Walls.” In this chapter, Gleason discusses online education and the new and familiar tools that are used in the delivery of online instruction. Many librarians and faculty members may have reservations about online instruction. In response, Gleason addresses best practices for those providing online instruction, listing important components of high quality e-learning as well as effective assessment.

Part II of Gleason’s book reviews the use of educational technology to actively engage students and meet learning outcomes. In chapter 4, the author reviews teaching and learning with multimedia tools including clickers, whiteboards, video, and gaming and simulation. Personally, I had never been clear on gaming in an academic library setting; however, Gleason offers a reasonable description of educational gaming for library instruction that cleared up many of my personal misconceptions. Chapter 5 is an incredibly detailed discussion of mobile technology in the library, including a framework for mobile learning along with a model for evaluating technology in learning and suggestions for effective use of mobile technology in the library.

The final chapters in Gleason’s text address a theme that has been important in the dialogue for some time, that of “Library as Place.” As we know, library as place is evolving. Chapter 6 examines the past, present, and future of library spaces as well as the pedagogical considerations that librarians must ponder as we use, assess, and modify our libraries. In chapter 7, Gleason expands on her examination of technology in the library space begun in chapter 6. In this chapter, the author details the concept of educational makerspaces, building on the constructivist pedagogical model she outlined throughout the text. Chapter 7 looks at 3D printing, video studios, support for digital humanities and scholarly publishing.

Gleason concludes the book with a discussion of the future of teaching and learning in libraries. She touches on the changing nature of libraries and advises the reader that libraries will “face many challenges in the future.” She writes about the trends and themes that we will likely be addressing in the years to come.

This book is appropriate for teaching librarians with years of experience as well as for new librarians who have never stood at the front of an information literacy classroom. As an academic reference and instruction librarian, I appreciate Gleason’s outlining of pedagogical models and her thoughtful discussion of library as place and how teaching, learning, and technology fit within that place and within the instructional framework. She addresses assessment and strategic planning, two very important topics that, I feel, libraries sometimes overlook. I plan to keep this text on my bookshelf and make it required reading for veteran and newly hired librarians at my university.—Kelli Johnson, Marshall University

Copyright Kelli Johnson


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