Winter 2023 Blog Post 2

Write a reflection on your observation of course instruction!

While I had experienced library course instruction from the student side before in several of my linguistics and cognitive science classes, prior to last week I had neither had a class in special collections nor library instruction in that area. It was very interesting to see how the work of a reference and instruction librarian can span such different types of education, yet be focused around the core idea of information literacy. The instruction helped guide the students through the special collections items being examined and prompted them to think about different aspects of items that might inform the students about their research. One of the prompts that interested me the most was about thinking about the different physical aspects of the books and what that might tell you about the information provided. For example, noticing that a book’s small size and light weight as a pocket handbook could give insight into how it might have been used by readers at the time in comparison to giant heavy dictionaries. This reminded me of the Framework’s idea of information creation as a process, where information formats are noticed and appreciated as giving insight into the creation process of the source. In this class I observed, students were prompted to think about the format the information was provided in and its implications. In this way, it was interesting to see how even though the instruction in this specific course seemed a bit more focused than I’m used to — as the instruction I’ve received previously had more to do with how to search for and cite information for a research project, which contrasts with the fixed set of books available in the special collections class — the librarian still maintained the goal of educating students about information literacy. This was done in a way that I hadn’t thought about before!