Information Literacy and Writing Studies in Conversation
Re-envisioning Library-Writing Program Connections
Author: Andrea Baer
Published: December 2016
Since library instruction’s very beginnings librarians and writing instructors have been natural partners. Library-writing program connections illustrate that both writing and information seeking and use (information literacy) share powerful links: both are central to posing and exploring problems and questions and to seeking informed and creative approaches to them. Thus, at the heart of writing and information literacy are inquiry and critical thinking, which many college educators across disciplines view to be at the center of learning. But despite these intersections, there is still a strong tendency for English composition and library instruction to be taught in relative separation, with the latter frequently being viewed as a course “add-on.” Similarly, conversations about writing and information literacy pedagogy have tended to exist in professional silos. Fortunately, dialogue across our professions has begun to expand at what appears an unprecedented pace, as librarians become increasingly vocal about the need for information literacy to be an integral part of college education and as librarians expand their engagement with learning theories and conceptual frameworks for information literacy.
This book is intended to help widen and deepen the conversations between librarians and compositionists. How can we further build and strengthen teaching partnerships that invite students to engage in writing and information seeking and use as processes of inquiry, critical reflection, and meaning making? And what sometimes stands in the way of doing do? Written for both librarians and writing instructors, this publication considers these questions from multiple angles, including through explorations of:
- empirical research on student writing and information literacy development;
- intersections between and pedagogical implications of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and the WPA Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing;
- interviews with librarian-compositionists partners about their collaborative experiences;
- historical, social, cultural, and structural contexts that influence librarians and writing instructors’ work environments and cultures, and ultimately the potential for partnership; and
- the power of reflective pedagogical praxis.
While considering the possibilities for and challenges to library-writing partnerships from these different vantage points, the author invites readers to continue exploring this area of inquiry in conversations and teaching at and beyond their local institutions.
Andrea Baer is an Instructional Services Librarian at the University of West Georgia. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Washington and a Masters in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee. Andrea’s work in libraries and education is deeply informed by her teaching background in writing and literature and by her interests in critical pedagogy and critical inquiry.