Librarian Bootcamp

Every summer, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) holds a week-long “bootcamp” for instruction and information literacy librarians called Immersion.  It consists of two tracks:  the Teacher Track and the Program Track.

A number of librarians here at Davidson have attended the Teacher Track in past years.  Four years ago, I had the opportunity to attend it in Burlington, Vermont.   Teacher Track focuses on learning theories, innovative and inclusive pedagogies, and assessment of instructional effectiveness.  It’s a valuable opportunity for teaching librarians, many of whom are in a unique position on college campuses.  There are many types of library instruction programs; some librarians are fortunate enough to teach credit-bearing, semester-long classes and some teach only during research consultations, but many more teach what we librarians call “one shots.”  In the best case, as at Davidson, these are course-integrated, but, in all cases, they are instruction opportunities within someone else’s class, which makes for some unusual challenges.  Although one-shots are not an ideal form of instruction, Immersion helps librarians to be authentic and intentional teachers and ensures that they maximize learning for all students, no matter the form of instruction.

This summer, I was fortunate enough to return to Vermont to attend the Program Track, which focuses on programmatic improvement and assessment.  I learned some great strategies for growing, promoting and assessing our information literacy program, which I’m looking forward to implementing in the coming year.  By far, the most valuable thing I took from this summer’s experience was the opportunity to interact with librarians from so many different institutions.  The curriculum, culture, and structure of an institution can greatly impact an information literacy program.  For instance, at some colleges and universities, librarians are faculty and, at some places, information literacy is an institutional learning outcome.  The approach we take to creating information literate students at Davidson is clearly going to be different than it would be at one of those institutions.  Talking to and learning from librarians from so many places helped me to more clearly see the opportunities and challenges we have here and gave me some great ideas for growing our information literacy program.  It was also wonderful to be around so many people who are passionate about being great teachers and innovative and impactful librarians.  I am lucky that the librarians I work with here at Davidson have the same attitude.

Curious about what people were talking about at Immersion this year?  Check out the Twitter feed: