Librarians, Leadership & Learning

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — September 25, 2016

I’m excited to visit the 2016 Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, New York-New Jersey Chapter and the Philadelphia Chapters of the Medical Library Association as a keynote speaker.


Leading from the Library: Authentic Learning that Emphasizes Curiosity, Context and Confidence

When we ask learners to master the moves experts and professionals use to find good information, learn from it, and use it creatively and rigorously to make decisions and solve problems, we’re asking a lot. Scratch the surface of evidence based practice or problem based learning and you will find a complex web of skills, content knowledge, epistemological frameworks, and cognitive dispositions that learners must navigate to be successful. Success takes time and repeated opportunities to practice. It requires learners who have been successful to learn new habits of mind and develop new ways of knowing. As librarians, we occupy a unique position in our organizations, working across organizational structures and boundaries. We are well-positioned to see the cognitive and affective barriers our learners face as they learn to research like professionals, and to advocate for their needs. We will talk about the many dimensions of teaching and learning in our libraries, and share strategies for designing authentic learning activities that respect the complex problems we all face.

Presentation materials.

LOEX Opening Plenary (2015)

Reflections on Reflection or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Meta

As teaching librarians, we firmly believe that reflective thinking improves learning and improves practice. At conferences, in hallway conversations, alone in the early morning hours — we reflect on our teaching and on our students’ learning. For some of us, reflection is easier than breathing. For some of us, it’s a struggle. Reflective thinking is a powerful tool, one I can’t live without, but it’s not without its own dangers, pitfalls and stressors. It can make us feel powerful and accomplished, or alone and confused. It can point the way forward, or reinforce our existing assumptions and prejudices. And sometimes, the easier it comes, the less useful it is.

In this session, I want us to turn a reflective eye on our own reflective practice. We’re constantly evaluating and reevaluating our teaching. Our reflective habits need the same kind of attention and focus or they can become pro forma, stagnant and a whole lot less useful. When we don’t critically examine our reflective practices reflection can become just another tool we use to justify whatever we want it to, instead of inspiring meaningful change. Pushing ourselves — to uncomfortable truths, to activities that challenge us, to complicated ideas — keeps our reflection fresh and useful.



Library Instruction West (2014)

Marijuana Legalization Papers Got You Down? You Won’t Believe What We Did About It!

Co-presented with Hannah Gascho Rempel (OSU)

Current research shows that for many students, choosing a topic is the scariest and most difficult part of the research process. They want to stick to safe ground where they know they’ll find sources; we want them to explore the unknown and learn new things. Tired of reading papers on the same topics over and over, and concerned that students weren’t making the connections between research and learning, librarians and composition instructors at Oregon State University developed a new approach to teaching topic selection, putting curiosity at the center. Providing a structured and supportive process, we help students overcome their fear of the unknown. Using tools and resources easily found on the open web, we encourage students to follow their interests, sometimes to places they didn’t know existed! And doing it together, we emphasize the importance of curiosity to the research process, and to the classroom experience.

Followups —

Concept mapping for better research questions (Veronica Douglas)