Book Reviews

Faculty-Librarian Collaborations: Integrating the Information Literacy Framework into Disciplinary Courses. Michael Stöpel et al., eds. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2020. 238p. Paperback, $65.00 (ISBN 978-0-8389-4852-1).

Book cover for Faculty-Librarian Collaborations

Michael Stöpel and a team of editors have crafted a unique celebration of faculty-librarian collaborations that highlights the relevance of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education to all disciplines. This publication is a product of an AMICAL workshop developed to encourage faculty-librarian collaborations in the development of courses that integrated the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. AMICAL is a consortium of 29 higher education institutions located in 22 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central and Southern Asia. They are accredited by American Agencies and are members of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU). Workshop participants committed to codesigning their instruction and teaching the course the following year. The book offers a thoughtful selection of these codesigned instruction sessions that demonstrate the value and impact of librarian-faculty collaborations in information literacy instruction.

The book is aptly organized into three sections that take the reader through a journey from the initial discussions of the workshop to the development and presentation of the instruction sessions and lessons. Members of the AMICAL Information Literacy Committee begin the book with a thought-provoking analysis of the workshop survey. The chapter provides some very convincing evidence of the success and impact that the workshop had on instruction. The faculty provide some impressive testimonies, commenting on the value of the codesigning process and how it revolutionized their planning (24), and significantly improved student learning, student engagement, and the quality of the assignments. They credit this to the library input, in spite of the fact that the library nongraded assignments “didn’t carry as much weight” (25) to the students.

Starting the book in this way is very clever and effective. The chapter presents these types of collaborative experiences as rewarding and attainable at a time when many instruction librarians are struggling with how to apply the ACRL Framework to their discipline, and how to discuss information literacy with their faculty. The book begins by making this somewhat difficult collaborative process seem much more achievable and attractive.

In the second chapter, 11 case studies describe each codesign experience in detail. Most of the courses were high-enrollment, introductory, or first-year experience courses selected for maximum impact. Some courses had very prominent information literacy requirements and clearly stated this in their objective; others had none. A general education History Course at AL Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, stated as one of its course objectives that students understand “the ways in which reviews and interpretations of academic books vary according to the context” (38), a clear articulation of the ACRL frame Authority Is Constructed and Contextual, whereas a marketing course at the American University of Paris, France, only required students to conduct their own primary data gathering and never made any use of customer research data until it was introduced through the library instruction (46).

The detail that the contributors have included in these case studies is remarkable. Each study explores the discussions and issues that were involved in the course selection and objectives. The teams delve into the learning outcomes of the course and grapple with identifying the “threshold concepts” that correspond to the ACRL frames. Although these case studies expose some of the problems that librarians encounter as they try to collaborate with the faculty, the studies ingeniously provide a model of how the librarian and faculty can design and teach in a wholesome collaborative way that enriches student learning. Working with faculty to develop learning outcomes and identify related information literacy frames ensured that there were no disputes when assigning teaching time to the library portion of the class. It’s clear that the codesign process allowed time for faculty to understand and appreciate the involvement of the librarian. In most cases, the librarian taught several class sessions in addition to providing individual and group assessment and feedback to the students.

The third chapter includes lesson plans designed for easy use and adaptation. The editors provide information on the preparation and planning needed for the lesson to be successful and include a “Context” section that gives librarians the information they need to adapt the lesson to a specific discipline. Selected lessons introduce levels of active learning that were previously missing in the courses, what one of the case studies calls “Doing Content.” In this lesson, students were learning how to connect marketing to information literacy by conducting surveys, presenting marketing plans, and serving as critics for each other’s pitches. At each stage, students were learning and using information literacy concepts from the ACRL Framework. This chapter also incorporates a plethora of assessment strategies. Although many of the librarians did not assign graded assessments, they found other creative ways to evaluate student learning. In the final project of a history course, for example, students were given the task of revising the syllabus and recommending revisions to their chosen section of the course. They were also asked to integrate one or two information literacy frames into the sections effectively infusing information literacy concepts throughout the lesson and the course. This is the ultimate goal of these faculty-librarian collaborations.

The editors clearly illustrate that, for these types of collaborations to thrive, they need to be supported and integrated into the academic department and the university. The purpose of the workshops was to support and provide an opportunity for faculty and librarians to codesign their instruction and improve student learning. Faculty-Librarian Collaborations: Integrating the Information Literacy Framework into Disciplinary Courses serves as evidence that the workshops were successful. The book documents a wealth of experience and provides examples that teaching librarians and staff will want to continue digging into as they explore new and engaging ways to introduce and teach the ACRL Framework in the disciplines.—Lorna M. Dawes, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Copyright Lorna M. Dawes

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