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CRD Virtual Journal Club Spring Wrap-Up

May 21, 2020

This past spring, the College & Research Division hosted a virtual journal club, which met online twice during the semester to discuss scholarship in the library science field and a third time to discuss what libraries are doing during COVID-19. The CRD Journal Club was originally established in Summer 2018, and runs in the summer, spring, and fall of each year. The theme for the Spring 2020 semester was critical librarianship. 

During the first session, the group read and discussed “Keeping up with…critical librarianship,” Kenny Garcia and published on the ACRL website, as well as “A decade of critical information literacy: A review of the literature,” by Eamon Tewell and published in Communications in Information Literacy. Participants discussed the main ideas behind critical librarianship and the difficulties in promoting critical thinking when students are focused on transactional models of reference with less critical engagement and the librarians’ time in the classroom is limited. Discussants shared ideas for following up with the students after information literacy sessions, such as being included in the course’s online shell, which may help to provide another venue in which to engage with the students. Another takeaway from the discussion was emphasizing to students that information is born at a specific point within specific contexts.

The second article discussed was “The problem with grit: Dismantling deficit thinking in library instruction,” by Eamon Tewell and published in Portal: Libraries and the Academy. This article focused on the idea of moving away from deficit thinking and generated discussion on how we can best meet students where they are; for example, in the classroom we should not make assumptions about students’ experiences with the library and we should find ways to incorporate their own experiences and perspectives into the lesson through ice breakers, group activities, or soliciting topics of interest for sample searches.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, many journal club members expressed interest in having a discussion of how libraries were reacting to the move to online services. This session was advertised to all CRD members, and participants discussed plans that went well and what they were considering changing for the future. Discussion ranged from plans for reopening to ideas for keeping the library and librarians involved if instruction remains online, and also emphasized the importance and ways in which we can continue to communicate with our researchers.

Though the semester changed quite radically and the focus of conversation shifted, this series was successful at first taking a look at our own profession and the impact we can have in engaging with our students and then at how we can continue to function in a (sometimes constrained) online environment. 

Look for our upcoming emails and let us know at crdvirtualjournalclub@gmail.com if you have any suggestions for topics/issues you would like to discuss!

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