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Radical Reference PreConference/Unconference Report Back

Submitted by alycia on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 21:16

These are my notes from an amazing event I was lucky enough to take part in last March: ACRL Preconference Unconference

General Notes

Intro/Planning Session:
What do we hope for out of this event? What are we fearful will happen?

* How can we apply what we learn here? & not get discouraged? (when we are home)
* Non-traditional events
* Outside the library conference mainstream
* Unbranded conference
* Tap into what we do at home with what we discuss/learn here
* Not just talking about things
* To be energized about becoming a librarian
* How do you apply your ideology on a daily basis in your library?

Pedagogy and Instruction

* Not enough talk about instruction in library school
* Critical pedagogy: writing a teaching statement & philosophy as a part of your resume and application materials
* Alana: Status Quo
o Observation and modeling first, then mimicking what you observed?
o Plan for a specific course, create a class website with the instructor
o Prepared searches
o Boolean, catalog, lcsh
o Small time for hands-on
o "Expert" teaching down, top-down model
* Alana: Hopes
o Teach about knowledge production and dissemination
o Hold class without a demo of a database, no canned searches
o Critical pedagogy: education for empowerment and social betterment
o Paulo Freire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire
+ banking system of education
o Be totally unprepared for the session (just like the students): it levels the playing field, and it is important for the students to see their instructors struggle.
* Jenny: MCTC/Tom Eland Model
o Brian Martin "Information and Liberation"-on the web for free http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/98il/
o Andre Shiffrin-publishing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Schiffrin
o 2-credit information literacy course at MCTC (almost everyone takes) http://www.minneapolis.edu/library/courses/infs1000/support.htm
o Group work, but self-directed. Report-back and give feedback (instead of directing students). Let the students try what they intuitively think is right first, then give further suggestions.
o Vocational school
o Create captivate presentations and assign these to have students watch as homework outside of class before they arrive and build from there to save time for hands-on work, even in a one-off session.
* General Notes
o No right or wrong way to find information (the last way you use will always be the most successful)
o What on-the-job training do most librarians have?
o Drawing at Pratt, engaging art students, how do you feel about information?
o Jonny: How would you find out how to unclog a drain?
* Outreach
o Take new faculty/instructors to lunch with the library staff ($$?)
o Reach out to your liasons: email them and quote studies that show how students do better with library instruction

Workplace Issues

* Implementation of change and managing change as librarians
* "Freedom Manifesto"-anarchist self-help book
* How to empower/motivate library workers:
o Do they feel valued?
o Try to have everyone understand the overall organization and how they fit into it
o Ask about their vision of what they do and how they work
o Advocate for those who you work with
o Individual's problems, not the union's

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