I just started reading a really interesting article that appears in the January 2012 issue of portal: Libraries and the Academy: “Research Papers Have Always Seemed Very Daunting”: Information Literacy Narratives and the Student Research Experience” by Robert Detmering and Anna Marie Johnson. I love narrative. It personally speaks to me a lot more than numbers. As they write, “In the face of assessment literature on information literacy, student voices have been missing for the most part.”
What I’m especially interested in is how those narratives can then be harnessed to make improvements or how they can be shared to promote services. Project Information Literacy just announced the release of a new “Practical PIL” page on their web site that showcases how schools have been using PIL findings to develop new sites, sources, and materials. I really like it.
Over the past few years, I’ve started a few different interview series–one with faculty about ways in which they are incorporating information literacy into the classroom and another with honors students about the process of researching and writing a thesis. The goal of the information literacy interviews–which are published in our biannual faculty newsletter–is to encourage more faculty to build information literacy into their courses and to collaborate with librarians on information literacy instruction. It’s a lot more powerful for faculty to hear from each other than it is for them to hear from librarians. The honors thesis interviews are also meant to showcase librarians’ work, but also to offer support to thesis students by capturing the stories of those that have gone before them.
I’d love to hear more from others about narratives and stories that you are capturing, and how you’re using them.