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On Teaching Information as Obligation

May 18, 2018

Dispositions outlined under the ACRL Framework suggest several ways students should gather, analyze, synthesize, create, and ultimately disseminate information. Too often these performative practices are limited by the language and parameters of the framework to purely academic contexts, however. While following the new framework, librarians typically guide students to interact with information as students only, thus limiting discussion of their eventual responsibilities as professionals, academic or otherwise. Outside departments of journalism, or those disciplines incorporating pedagogical coursework, students rarely learn how to curate information once they pivot toward a professional setting.

One field librarians overlook in this sense is healthcare. While medical and allied health departments often include communication coursework aimed specifically at preparing students to speak and interact with patients in their care, librarians are given little explicit direction in the framework for supplementing this instruction.

We are told learners who recognize that information has value should “see themselves as contributors to the information marketplace rather than only consumers of it” and “are inclined to examine their own information privilege.”[1] These respectable outcomes, however, tell us little about the ways newly-minted nurses, physical and occupational therapists, or athletic trainers, can transfer information and impart at least a fundamental level of information literacy to their patients. I fear we are doing too little to acknowledge, let alone instructionally address, the fact that these students will soon transition from seeking, vetting, and consuming information for themselves to serving a public eager to do the same for themselves.

We know that patients, caregivers, and others routinely seek supplemental healthcare information during times of sickness or injury. We also know that an abundance of misinformation is easy to find and often even impossible to avoid. As authorities in their field, healthcare professionals should feel comfortable providing valid information to patients. They should also recognize that patients are more and more likely to seek second opinions, alternative treatments, and all the knowledge they can possibly obtain.

It seems to me that librarians may provide a significant service by teaching healthcare students (and those in other disciplines as well) that they have an obligation to pass on to others both knowledge and the basic skills to discern, access, and acquire it. There is no frame entitled “Information as Obligation,” but in reality it will come with the job for many of the students we teach. Are we currently doing enough to prepare them for it?

[1] ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, 2015,


Reminder: West Branch Chapter Spring Workshop – May 31st

May 18, 2018



PROTECTING PRIVACY: West Branch Chapter Spring Workshop


Thursday May 31, 2018 at Lycoming College in Williamsport

Join the West Branch Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association as they help you protect the privacy of your patrons, your community, and yourself. The PROTECTING PRIVACY workshop features dynamic keynote speakers and informative sessions on online privacy, identity theft & social media.

Workshop Schedule

8:30 – 9:00           Registration, breakfast

9:00 – 9:15           Welcome/Opening remarks

9:15 – 10:15         “The Human Firewall” Lisa Bock, Associate Professor, Pennsylvania College of Technology

10:15 – 10:30        Break

10:30 – 11:30        “The Current State of Fake News” Linda Beck, Adjunct Faculty, Harrisburg Area Community College and Lebanon Valley College

11:30 – 1:00          Lunch and Chapter business meeting

1:00 – 1:45           “Avoiding and Recovering from Identity Theft” Sara Weiser, PSECU Financial Education Manager

1:45 – 2:30           “Nothing to Hide: Youth and Privacy in a Digital World” Tess Wilson, LYNCS Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

2:30 – 2:45           “The Intersection of Libraries and Privacy” Carrie Gardner Ph.D. Principal consultant, Clairmaxine

Registration is still open!

Registration fees: Members $40 Non-members $60 Student members $20 (breakfast & lunch included). PaLA will not issue refunds for cancellations or no-shows. Substitute attendees permitted with proper notice.  You can register at:

This project is made possible in part by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor, and through the College and Research Division ( ) of Pennsylvania Library Association


Connect & Communicate Series: Unique PA Academic Library Book Clubs

May 16, 2018



Connect&Communicate logo8

C&CS Series Presents

Unique PA Academic Library Book Clubs:

Food For Thought and Brew Pubs

May 30, 2018– 1pm

Online Zoom Session

Register Here!


Join us as we learn about these two programs from HACC Gettsysburg and Susquehanna University. Through a strategic grant, HACC’s Gettysburg Campus has offered Food for Thought sessions to help students become academically, socially, and emotionally successful.  The Book Club was started in the Spring of 2017 as a way to promote leisure reading, especially for our developmental reading population. Books were originally selected based on their movie adaptation to entice readers with the reward of watching a movie after the group discussion.  

Susquehanna University’s Brew Pub Book Club is an off-campus collaboration between Blough-Weis Library, the Student Library Advisory Committee and a local, award-winning brewery located in downtown Selinsgrove, PA. Monthly meetings over the past two academic years have focused on high-quality, thought-provoking pieces that are short but still engaging enough to spark meaningful conversation. Librarians will discuss the importance of providing students an opportunity for leisure reading, highlighting diverse stories and authors and why holding the event off-campus with community members has been integral in improving town-grown relations. We will hear from these panelists describe their sessions in more detail, and allow time for discussion.


Katherine Furlong (Susquehanna University)

Katherine Furlong has been University Librarian at Susquehanna since 2014. Her career has been centered on liberal arts college libraries, working at Lafayette College and Gettysburg College. She has written and presented extensively on library administration, management and instruction.

Ryan Ake (Susquehanna)

Ryan Ake joined Susquehanna University as Outreach & Collection Development Librarian in January 2015. He is responsible for all outreach activities of the library and oversees all print and electronic collections. His main areas of interest include ancient Mediterranean history, local & genealogical research, collection assessment, community outreach and digital humanities research.

Kathleen Heidecker, HACC

Kathleen earned a Bachelor’s of Art in English/Writing from Goucher College and her Master’s in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has worked as a librarian at a four-year residential college, an elementary school, and a public library before discovering the perfect fit at the Gettysburg Campus Learning Commons in 2008. She usually teaches about forty classes a semester, advises the campus Phi Theta Kappa chapter, and is involved in college governance.

Wendy Brubaker, HACC

Wendy received her Bachelor’s of Science in Education and Master’s in Reading Education and worked as a public school educator for six years before joining HACC in 2006.  She continues to teach developmental reading, integrated reading and writing and Foundational Studies courses since that time. For five years, Wendy was the Gettysburg Campus advisor of Phi Theta Kappa and has served as a health career advisor since 2012.  Wendy has received the Outstanding Student Service Award – HACC Gettysburg Campus in 2016, the Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award – HACC Gettysburg Campus in 2015 and the Paragon Advisor Award – PTK 2011. As of April 30th, Wendy will begin a full-time position as the Campus Director of Student Development and Multicultural Programing.



Register for the CRD Journal Club

May 7, 2018

This summer the College and Research Division (CRD) will pilot a virtual journal club as a benefit to all members.

A virtual journal club consists of online meetings where participants engage in discussion or critical appraisal of research publications and other professional literature in their field. Virtual journal clubs allow participants to build knowledge, improve professional and research skills, prioritize time for learning, and meet and interact with others. The CRD virtual journal club is designed to appeal to a wide variety of academic librarians and will discuss professional literature that covers a broad range of topics in or related to librarianship.

The first CRD virtual journal club series will meet June 19July 17, and August 21 from 12:00 – 1:00.  Those interested in participating must register at by May 16.

When registering, you will have the opportunity to vote on the topic you would like to focus on in this summer’s sessions. Prior to the first meeting, registered participants will receive an email containing a link to the online Zoom meeting, a link to the open access article for discussion, and a list of discussion questions/prompts to consider.

If you have any questions or suggestions for the planning committee, please feel free to contact Carrie, Christina, or Melissa.

Carrie Bishop
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Melissa Correll
Arcadia University

Christina Riehman-Murphy
Penn State Abington

Integration of a Distinctive Collection

May 7, 2018

It has been 175 years since the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) established Villanova University. The major library for the University, Falvey Memorial Library, is a complex of three interconnected structures. Thought of as a single entity, the building hosts a variety of offices, classrooms and conference spaces designed to support various campus activities and academic services; some not typically affiliated with the traditional function of a library. This however has increasingly become the new norm for a lot of libraries, particularly on university campuses where space is at a premium. Learning support centers, IT and communication-related areas, innovation and makerspaces, even a virtual reality laboratory have been incorporated into the main university library at Villanova.

In the process, every nook and cranny has been evaluated for maximum utilization. Nevertheless, for multiple reasons and for many years, one space existed in a kind of bubble. Its location was considered remote and its purpose was obscure. Off the beaten path and inaccessible to many, “The Augustinian Room” was the home of the Augustinian Historical Institute (AHI) at Villanova University. Its situation recalls something from the musical “The Music Man.” In that show, the library building belongs to the town, but the books belong to the head-strong librarian. In the case of the AHI, the room is in the library and is the property of the University, but its contents are owned by the OSA.


Room 301 Falvey Hall, formerly the “The Augustinian Room,” is currently being used as student
study space and an occasional conference room. Photo taken by Justin D’Agnese, 25 August 17.

A few years ago, several Augustinian provinces in North America corporately agreed the books and other materials in the AHI collection be held collectively, to maintain ownership by the OSA. The collection would merely be housed by Villanova University in its library. Even though the AHI had a storied past, producing scholarship and even sponsoring archaeological digs, in recent years it had basically become a non-circulating research collection focused on the OSA. The Augustinian presence is still very strong at Villanova, as seen by the development of another institute for the study of the life and writings of St. Augustine, and other initiatives associated with the heritage of the OSA by the Office for Mission and Ministry at the University. A long-standing body of materials collected to gather scholarly resources relevant to the study of the OSA at one of the Augustinians’ flagship insititutions, what haunted the AHI was that it was too little known, including by folks at Villanova, and too little used by the scholarly community in general.

The OSA founded the University in the mid-19th century. The seminal AHI collection was originally in Riverdale, N.Y. and brought to Villanova in the early 1970s. It was in the library but maintained a separate identity until 2016. Integration began when items were identified in the Library’s catalog as: “On deposit from the Order of Saint Augustine as part of the Augustinian Historical Institute.” However, even this potential online visibility did not show it as anything more than more holdings. The greater solution is still getting worked out, through the active collaboration of the subject librarian who curates the collection, and the heads of special collections, access services, and cataloging. Cross-departmental cooperation and internal communication are key to integrating a distinctive collection, and this is an excellent example of the kind of protected but hidden special collection that are good for a library’s identity, but which vex librarians.

Developing your library’s vinyl—yes, vinyl—collection

May 5, 2018

Image courtesy Jessica Showalter

The Penn State Altoona Eiche Library has been adding vinyl lps to their collection to keep up with the recent resurgence of interest in records. Library Director Bonnie Imler shares what she’s learned about developing a vinyl collection for other libraries considering one.

The American Libraries magazine recently summarized a report from the Recording Industry Association of America that gives details about this resurgence of vinyl. According to the original report, digital downloads are nosediving, whereas “[v]inyl continues to be a bright spot among physical formats, with revenues up 10% to $395 million.”

To respond to this growing interest, the Eiche Library has added dozens of records to their collection over the past two years, as well as two turntables available for patrons to borrow. Imler worked with library staff to determine logistics for cataloging, storing, and lending the records.

Collecting the records

The library utilized several strategies when deciding which records to add to the collection. Early on, the library solicited suggestions from patrons using a suggestion box. Placing the suggestion box at the circulation desk helped to generate excitement. Imler also consulted several lists of “Top 100 Records,” ranging from jazz to classic rock, to grunge music, to contemporary artists. As the collection continued to grow, Imler went to a surprising, but useful, source: Urban Outfitters’ list of best-selling vinyl for the year.

“Looking at their website gives me an idea of what the traditional college-age group is interested in and what new artists are trending,” Imler said.

Displaying the records

record display

Image courtesy Jessica Showalter

One of the challenges of adding records to the collection was determining the best way to display them.

The records are cataloged with call numbers, but if they were shelved spine-out as books are, they would be difficult to browse. Imler worked with the campus carpenter, Tom Vogel, to design a more user-friendly solution. Vogel built wooden display cases that resemble the bins once used to house records in music stores.

“A big advantage of these cases is that students can leaf through and see the amazing cover art,” Imler said.

Playing the records

Many patrons have shown curiosity about the record collection, but not all of them own turntables for playing them. To address that need, the Eiche Library acquired two turntables that patrons can check out for 14-day loans. When deciding which turntables to purchase, Imler’s main criteria were that the turntables be portable and include USB ports that enable conversion to digital files. Staff noted that some patrons have never used a turntable before, so they offer a quick tutorial if needed.

“The records and turntables have been popular with patrons, so we plan to continue developing our vinyl collection in the future,” Imler added.

Jessica Showalter is an Information Resources and Services Support Specialist at Penn State Altoona’s Eiche Library. Say hello on Twitter @libraryjms

Assessment in One-Shot Instruction Sessions: Preliminary Findings

May 4, 2018


One-shot library instruction sessions provide little enough time to present information literacy concepts, let alone to assess student comprehension before and after the lesson. This semester I piloted an attempt to incorporate assessment into one-shot sessions for gen ed writing classes. The lesson plan for these classes focused on an introduction to the library’s resources and basic research skills.

My goals for incorporating assessment into these classes were to:

  • determine the effectiveness of the library instruction session.
  • make improvements to the lesson plan.

In order to get pre-test data, I created an online self-paced tutorial in LibWizard (Springshare) and a seven-question quiz on the topics covered in the tutorial. This tutorial aligned with my basic lesson plan, provided brief videos I had created on these topics last semester, and incorporated some hands-on experience.

Topic Mapping tutorial slide
Your Turn tutorial slide

In addition to providing pre-test assessment data, my goals for implementing a pre-session tutorial and quiz were to:

  • distribute self-paced resources for students to re-use as needed.
  • increase time in class for more advanced topics.


Once I had the tutorial and quiz, I needed to distribute it to the students. Both could be linked directly to Springshare, but I wanted to host them on a platform the students were already familiar with: the learning management system (LMS). At West Chester University, the LMS is Desire2Learn (D2L). Hosting the pre-session module in D2L would also give professors more control in seeing completion rates and to use the quiz as extra credit if they wanted to.

I worked with on-campus D2L specialists to learn how to create and work with the kind of module I wanted. After the specialists set up a library course shell, I created a module with the embedded tutorial and a D2L version of the quiz.

At this point I contacted one of the writing professors, and she was happy to work with me to pilot this assessment in her class. D2L made it easy for me to add the professor into the library course so that she could copy the pre-session module into her writing course. She instructed the students to go through the tutorial and take the quiz prior to the day of their library instruction session. She also added me to her course so that I could view the results, but another method would be for the professor to export and send the results (this is what the professor for my second pilot class did).

On the day of the session, I delivered my lesson plan. As a class we took the quiz again to obtain post-test data, this time using Socrative. One student remarked that it was interesting to see the distribution of participant responses for each question.


The pre-session D2L module and post-session Socrative quiz were administered to two classes. Once I had the pre- and post- test data, I calculated the percentage of response accuracy for each potential response. Some quiz questions only allowed one correct answer, but for multi-select questions I calculated accuracy of responses for each response option.

Question 2: Which statements about topic mapping are true? (check all that apply)
☐ There is only one correct way to design a topic map.
☒ Topic mapping narrows down your focus for your assignment.
☒ Topic mapping develops keywords to use in the search bar.
☐ Topic mapping tells you what citation style to use.

Correct response option is checked when it should be checked option is unchecked when it should be unchecked
Incorrect response option is checked when it should be unchecked option is unchecked when it should be checked

The ideal for correct response accuracy is 100%. The ideal for incorrect response accuracy is 0%. I calculated the improvement percentage for each type of answer (an increase in correct response accuracy between pre- and post-test; a decrease in incorrect response accuracy between pre- and post-test). I added those two improvement rates together to get a total improvement rate of 21.37% and 12.89% respectively. Between the two classes, the improvement in student comprehension averaged 17.13%.

Response Accuracy to Information Literacy Quiz, Pre- and Post- Test (%)

Class 1 Pre-test Post-Test Improvement between pre- and post- test Class 2 Pre-test Post-Test Improvement between pre- and post- test
Correct response accuracy 73.41 86.31 12.9 Correct response accuracy 79.05 84.45 5.4
Incorrect response accuracy 18.38 9.91 8.47 Incorrect response accuracy 17.44 9.95 7.49
Total Improvement 21.37 Total Improvement 12.89

I also administered the Socrative post-test to three additional gen ed writing classes without the pre-session module.

Response Accuracy to Information Literacy Quiz (%)

Post-Test Response Accuracy to Information Literacy Quiz, Post-Test Only Classes Post-Test Response Accuracy to Information Literacy Quiz, Classes 1 & 2
Class 3 Class 4 Class 5 Average Average
Correct response accuracy 87.32 87.02 83.85 86.06 85.38
Incorrect response accuracy 4.9 8.98 7.86 7.25 9.93


The 17.13% improvement in comprehension from pre- to post- test in classes 1 and 2 is modest but promising. However, comparison to classes 3-5, which did not view the pre-session tutorial, actually shows a decrease in comprehension when the tutorial was viewed. Classes 1 and 2 showed a lower percentage of correct responses and higher percentage of incorrect responses than classes 3-5. This finding could be due to one of several reasons:

  • Small sample size. The range of accuracies is broad (e.g. 12.89%-21.37% improvement in classes 1 and 2). Natural variations in class composition play a greater role when the sample size is so small.
  • Discrepancy in lesson delivery. Did my in-class delivery change or leave out details in classes 1 and 2 under the assumption that the tutorial was effective?
  • Ineffective tutorial. Was the tutorial confusing rather than helpful?

Clearly more data is needed to determine if administering this particular pre-session module is less effective than only administering a post-test.

Calculating the percentages was a time-consuming, manual process. Exported data from D2L and Socrative did not match each other in format. Also, Socrative’s data counts students who logged into the quiz but didn’t answer a question as an incorrect response. For example, if 20 students were logged in but only 18 responded to a question, even if all 18 students responded correctly, Socrative would still count two incorrect responses. I manually made sure percentages were calculated based on actual number of students responding, not total students logged in but potentially dormant. Future iterations of this assessment should include a process to automate or streamline the data collection and evaluation.


Having completed these pilot classes, I made some progress on my initial goals for assessment.

  • Determine the effectiveness of the library instruction session. The assessment needs to be administered to a larger sample size of classes to get more accurate averages and determine if the pre-session module is more helpful than harmful.
  • Make improvements to the lesson plan. Analyzing the results of the quiz, both pre- and post- test, revealed troublesome topics for the students (particularly Boolean operators). I took this insight and adjusted my lesson delivery to take more time with Boolean.
  • Distribute self-paced resources for students to re-use as needed. Feedback from students is needed to determine the effectiveness of the tutorial. Analytics indicate students are not returning to the materials after completing the pre-session module.
  • Increase time in class for more advanced topics. This goal was more idealistic than I realized. I still spent considerable class time demonstrating the tutorial topics for clarification and for students who did not complete the pre-session module. Future iterations of this lesson plan should include more flipped classroom activities to increase student engagement and comprehension.

With further data collection and a streamlined process, this type of pre- and post- test assessment could be a viable and effective process to inform iterative lesson planning for one-shot library instruction sessions.