Library Committee Handbook

User Education Committee

February 10, 2014 Minutes


User Education Committee

University of Illinois Library

February 10, 2014
Library 428 

Members Present:

Melody Allison (14)
Susan Avery (ex officio)
Merinda Hensley (ex officio)
Cindy Ingold (14)
Jameatris Rimkus (15)
Elizabeth Sheehan (15)
Mara Thacker (14)
Mark Wardecker (14)
Sandra Wolf (14)

Members Absent:

Kirstin Dougan (14)
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (ex officio) – Chair

Also Attending:

Meredith Riddle (Information Literacy GA)

1.                        Welcome and Introductions

Susan welcomed the committee in Lisa’s absence.

2.                        Draft Report from the UnRetreat

All of the committee members present attended the UnRetreat except for Merinda and Beth. For each topic, a group met in the morning to identify challenges and goals; after the first group met, the second group was formed to go over those challenges and goals.

Susan remarked that the session attendance breakdowns are important. The instruction groups consisted of a higher proportion of staff and academic professionals than other groups. From her meeting with Dean Wilkin, Susan noted that while leaders must try not to marginalize anyone, leaders also need to filter and prioritize feedback about library processes. Such filtering is essential for determining the main points, directions, and decisions for the Library. The committee remarked about how key absences may have affected the quality of feedback regarding instruction.

Committee members noted that the expression “transformative learning experience” was used repeatedly at the UnRetreat. This phrase comes from the campus strategic plan. Susan noted that it is important to use unified language with the campus as part of aligning goals and priorities. A committee member remarked that the same key phrase is being used by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), especially for their upcoming session on instruction in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The committee members discussed the possible meanings and implications of the phrase. Although the phrase is somewhat ambiguous, the committee agreed that the phrase’s relationship to the campus strategic plan is perhaps just as important as its definition. Dean Wilkin may wish to use this phrase and this UnRetreat report, along with Executive Committee, in order to set a course for future library planning.

As for the draft report itself, many committee members found the results off-putting. While instructing our internal population is a need, some committee members argued that there are many bigger, deeper problems with instruction that would be more appropriate for a strategic planning document than the current contents.

Some committee members supposed that attendees who chose to attend the instruction group were unfamiliar with instruction at our library and were hoping to learn more. Unfortunately, the report includes no information about subject liaison work or most of Merinda’s work with instruction. Some committee members found the UnRetreat report enlightening because it demonstrates that many people do not know what we do. The most essential questions are: what counts as instruction? And who is responsible for that instruction?

The committee discussed the possibility of adding an addendum to the UnRetreat report in order to provide context and to explain why certain proposals within the document are overly ambitious. For instance, the report’s Goal 1 calls for incorporating library instruction in all Advanced Composition courses. Committee members agreed that although there’s a need to discuss this possibility again, immediate implementation is out of reach without further work. Since strategic planning is a major time investment and process for deciding how to allocate library resources, the committee wants to ensure the submitted documents are understood within context. Committee members agreed to send comments to Susan, who will compile them as an addendum and send them back to committee members.

3.                        Teaching/Learning Topics

Committee members plan to bring ideas for topics to the March meeting. In the meantime, members discussed some best practices for such an instruction workshop series. One committee member recommended offering face to face workshops, but also capturing content online as a module or video. Another committee member suggested offering a certificate of completion in order to improve attendance.

4.                        Upcoming Events

6.            Open Discussion/Announcements

FYI – Upcoming 2013-2014 Meetings – 10:00-11:00 am

Respectfully submitted by Meredith Riddle