Library Committee Handbook

User Education Committee

March 10, 2014 Minutes


User Education Committee

University of Illinois Library

March 10, 2014
Library 428


Members Present:

Susan Avery (ex officio)
Merinda Hensley (ex officio)
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (ex officio) – Chair
Cindy Ingold (14)
Jameatris Rimkus (15)
Elizabeth Sheehan (15)
Mara Thacker (14)
Mark Wardecker (14)
Sandra Wolf (14)

Members Absent:

Melody Allison (14)
Kirstin Dougan (14)


Also Attending:

Meredith Riddle (Information Literacy GA)

1.                        Welcome and Introductions

Lisa welcomed the committee. Due to staffing issues and conflicting meetings, Melody and Kirstin were unable to attend the meeting.

Lisa asked if there were any additional items for the agenda. Sandy requested to discuss the proposed subscription to the New York Times through the Center for Research Libraries. . Mara also requested to discuss having an Office of Information Literacy/User Education Committee-sponsored panel about international students. Lisa recommended exploring Mara’s recommendation as part of the proposed teaching/learning workshop series modeled after University of Michigan Library’s Instructor College.

2.                        Acclamations & Accolades

Cindy reported that she taught four sessions of ESL 502, which actually represented seven  course sections that came together for library instruction. She enjoyed teaching these classes, as the students are grateful and ask very interesting questions. Cindy also shared that she will supervise a new graduate assistant for multicultural and international outreach next year. This new graduate assistant position will also contribute desk hours to International and Area Studies as well as Reference, Research, and Scholarly Services.

Mara shared that she instructed a class she has not taught before. The Hinduism professor invited her for a single library instruction session. Although the professor and several students did not attend the session, those who did attend asked questions and followed up via email. Several students who reached out to her afterward said the session was useful.

Lisa shared that she met with the Individual Plan of Study (IPS) Coordinator from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students who create their own interdisciplinary majors, called an Individual Plan of Study, may be underserved by the library due to their relative independence from departmental courses of study. Right now, they do not fit into the library instructional structure. Lisa and the IPS Coordinator are planning focus groups to find out how the Library can help them early on in their academic programs.

3.                        New York Times Access

Sandy explained that she is concerned about possible access to the New York Times online that is being considered for license through the Center for Research Libraries. To access New York Times articles online in full, UIUC affiliates will have to set up an account on a campus computer in order to obtain access. If the patron is off campus but has not yet set up an account, he/she cannot get full text access. Sandy is concerned because of her patron base’s use and off campus status. Graduate students in library and information science do get assigned readings from the New York Times, and many of these students are enrolled in the online distance program (LEEP). Thus, the inability to use the proxy server or virtual private network (VPN) to obtain the full text creates a significant access problem for them. The committee agreed that there is a need for a policy and procedure for both reference and instruction scenarios. The committee members noted that Tom Teper welcomes comments and feedback about our current situation.

4.                        Discussion of Draft ACRL Information Literacy Framework  

The draft for the ACRL Information Literacy Framework is available online here:

Merinda is on the task force to rewrite the ACRL information literacy standards, so the committee asked her to provide an introduction to this draft. Merinda explained that the document is framed around threshold comments and metaliteracy – particularly what these concepts mean in the context of information literacy. The document currently does not distinguish between undergraduate and graduate levels, though the document seems implicitly focused on undergraduates. The draft starts with threshold concepts; now the task force is soliciting feedback in order to determine the future direction of the Framework.

Committee members expressed concern that the document is too long for using with faculty. Committee members also struggled to apply the “all or nothing” nature of threshold concepts to information literacy. The idea of threshold concepts implies that there is a liminal point or mindset that is necessary to make further progress in a field of study. For one-shot instruction sessions, the idea of threshold concepts is unhelpful, as threshold concepts cannot be directly taught in a single session.  

Committee members also noted that this document does not replace the competency standards even though the original task force charge was to do so. The committee asked whether these two documents (i.e. the original competency standards and this new Framework) might work together. Merinda affirmed that this is a concrete possibility, and that there are no plans to eliminate the standards right away.

Committee members held a wide-ranging discussion about various sections of the framework. Special attention was paid to the Format as Process section and each section’s assignments. Various strengths and weaknesses were noted. The committee also discussed how threshold concepts and enduring concepts might work in information science.

Committee members concluded the discussion by noting that they would like to see the document not to be written so as to be against the current standards. The committee members agreed that they will respond to the survey soliciting feedback individually, rather than collectively.

5.                        Teaching/Learning Topics

Due to being short on time, the committee will discuss this next month. All members are encouraged to identify 4-6 topics for a workshop series starting in the fall. Mara’s suggestion for a panel on international students will be part of the discussion.

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

Respectfully submitted by Meredith Riddle