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Information Fluency: Building a Tiered, Course-Integrated Program Across the College Curriculum: Home

Guide to supplement Faculty Food for Thought Presentation, April 12, 2018.

Assoc. Dean for Instruction & User Services

Sally Neal's picture
Sally Neal
I am the liaison librarian for Strategic Communication; Journalism; Sports Media; and English.

I am serving as thetemporaryliaison librarian for the Jordan College of the Arts. Please contact me for JCA instruction and resource questions.

109B Irwin Library

Neal Library Instruction Evaluation

In the beginning was the word and it came from ...

Evan Ira Farber (1922-2009) – College Librarian at Earlham College from 1962 to 1994; He became one of the country’s most articulate spokespersons for college librarianship and bibliographic instruction.  From the obituary appearing on the Earlham website:

Evan’s leadership in college librarianship ran counter to the conventional wisdom of the time and he spoke, consulted and wrote prolifically to counter those accepted ideas. Perhaps his most famous thesis, that “the library is not the heart of the college, the teaching-learning process is,” not only rankled his peers, but also caused them to rethink their professional roles and the services offered by their libraries. In debunking such conventional wisdom, Evan illuminated the real importance of the college library and articulated ideas that today have become central tenants of modern librarianship: the meaningful value of a college library is the degree to which it helps students learn and faculty teach. College librarians’ most important responsibility is to work closely with the teaching faculty to educate students about how to use information resources as a key part of their education. This is the legacy he leaves and the challenge he places before present and future librarians.

From Farber’s Wikipedia entry:

“Bibliographic instruction

Farber was highly regarded as a leader and authority on the subject of bibliographic instruction, he began hosting conferences on the subject at Earlham College in 1977.[6] He developed a successful bibliographic instruction program tailored to Earlham College in its specific context.[7]:145 This mainly entailed integrating the instruction into specific college courses within the college’s curriculum.[7]:160 His five defining points of the college’s bibliographic instruction program in 1974 included flexibility and variety in the methods of instruction, the use of structured examples and illustrations in the instruction process, personalized reference services, the perception of librarians as educators, and the extension of the library’s resources to include those materials presented as much as possible.  The central objectives of the program at that time were to indicate to students the differences between high school and academic libraries, to show that resources relevant to nearly any topic exist and the importance of choosing the most important and pertinent ones, to illustrate basic search strategy principles transferable to any topic, to emphasize the amount of resources that exist and the usefulness of working with a reference librarian, and to develop a readiness to search outside of the library if necessary.[7]:158 This approach to bibliographic instruction arose from his observations that colleges provide a particularly suitable context for both librarians and faculty to emphasize undergraduate education more than research.[8]

Faculty–librarian cooperation

To support effective bibliographic instruction, he [i.e., Farber] has also emphasized the necessity of developing faculty-librarian cooperation.[9] By working together with faculty, librarians were involved in specific courses at Earlham College and were thus able to structure their instruction towards specific assignments, with the result that the instruction became directly relevant to students’ interests.[10] Regarding the benefits of an ideal cooperative relationship between faculty and librarians, he stated: "When that cooperative relationship works well, it can result in assignments that approach, if not reach, what I consider the ideal: where both the teacher’s objectives and the librarian’s objectives are not only achieved, but are mutually reinforcing – the teacher’s objectives being those that help students attain a better understanding of the course’s subject matter, and the librarian’s objectives being those that enhance the students’ ability to find and evaluate information."

With the encouragement and support of then Butler Library Director, John Kondelik, Evan Farber and his Earlham English faculty colleague, Gordon Thompson, presented a workshop on course-integrated Bibliographic instruction on the Butler campus in March 1993.  Twenty-six Butler faculty and library staff members were in attendance.


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Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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