Winter Blog Post 1

What does it mean to be a teaching library from the Reference & Instruction perspective? How do your experiences thus far, the readings, and tasks inform your sense of a library that participates in the teaching mission of the college?

Many of the readings I’ve done thus far have been centered on what the individual reference librarian should strive to be, so it’s interesting to think about it from a larger scale perspective. I think the job of any library should be to work with the users, and as a teaching library on a college campus, the user base is primarily students, although of course the library should be useful to the faculty and ideally the surrounding town as well. “How We Got Here” by Susan Ariew discusses how teaching libraries should not just teach students about specific subjects, but help them learn how to teach themselves and concludes that “information literacy
instruction is here to stay along with the role of academic librarians as active stakeholders in the teaching and learning mission of their institutions” (Ariew, 220). In other words, where the professors of a college are responsible for teaching students about specific subjects as well as assist them in learning how to parse information, the librarians are there as a resource to help the students by bridging the distance between whatever their classes can teach them about research and information literacy and true proficiency. Of course, it’s all well and good to have that as a goal, but much of the reading I’ve done has been digging into the methods by which the librarians and the library as a whole can accomplish this. Ultimately, no interaction with a student is going to be exactly the same, so the teaching library necessitates a huge range of options for helping the student body, from online access to the research desk to student workers to trained research librarians in order to constantly strive for that goal.