Embedding in the 21st Century Academy: Crossing curriculum and geography
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2010, 00:00 by Kaijsa Calkins, Cassandra Kvenild
Upon entering the new millennium, the University of Wyoming Libraries have expanded traditional one-shot library instruction and desk-bound reference into a suite of embedded services including reference, instruction, and curriculum and general education planning. Increased enrollment, along with increases in librarian consultations and instruction, have provided opportunities for innovation. Growing numbers of online students at the university encourage librarians to hone distance services and to experiment with new delivery methods. Librarians take care to follow both the ACRL guidelines for information literacy at the academy as well as the best practices for serving distance learners. Both distance and on-campus reference and instruction at the UW Libraries have grown into a constantly deepening "embeddedness" within classrooms, curricula, and online teaching and learning environments. Following the national trend away from the traditional reference desk, the UW Libraries are exploring options for point of need reference both in person and online. Reference service is embedded across platforms, meeting patrons on the university portal, online course management software, and on the Libraries' own "online branch" offering email, instant message, text message, and telephone reference options to all users. Demand for library instruction is on the rise, and with the uptick in demand, UW librarians experiment with more embedded and distance strategies for student learning. Librarians deliver instruction to distance learners through synchronous and asynchronous methods including embedding librarians in online courses. Similarly, we have undertaken embedded projects in on-campus classrooms as well as at the curricular level and within university departments and student services. Instruction librarians are represented on university-wide curriculum and assessment committees, work closely with faculty development programs, and participate in a state-wide educational articulation project. Subject liaison librarians participate in curriculum development with their departments. The shift to embedded models of librarianship has informed assessment methods at the UW Libraries, as well. No longer satisfied with the old instructor evaluation model from one-shot instruction sessions, librarians are utilizing different tools to assess student learning and they are also assessing the needs of library constituents. All of these efforts aim to truly embed information literacy instruction across the curriculum and embed librarians in nearly every level of teaching and learning at the university.