Bob has recently been hired into his first professional librarian position. He is fresh out of library school and is excited to take on all of the responsibilities in his new job as a reference and instruction librarian. His colleagues have welcomed him and have offered to help in any way they can as he adjusts to his new role.
As an instruction librarian, Bob works with a variety of disciplines. One week he could be asked to do instruction for the business department while the next week he might have to provide an information literacy session for a philosophy course. The majority of his teaching duties, however, will involve the first year English course. These students are primarily freshmen who are experiencing their first exposure to the library and its resources. All of the ENG 101 professors require their students to attend a session in the library; most of the professors attend with their students while there is certainly the occasional faculty member who has an excuse for not being able to come with his/her students.
During the first few weeks on the job, Bob has observed some of his colleagues do instruction. He has noted that there is a wide variety of teaching styles among the instruction librarians. Some librarians stick mostly with a lecture format while he observes a few of his coworkers trying to engage their student audience with humor, clickers, and group activities. Bob wants to be able to incorporate some of these elements into his teaching, but isn’t sure how.
While in school, he was versed in the concept of information literacy. Because he was interested in pursuing a job in an academic library, Bob took the only course on library instruction offered in his Master’s program. As a result, he has minimal experience teaching. He is tech-savvy, but not strong in pedagogy, classroom management, or learning styles.
After co-teaching a few instruction sessions at his new job, Bob quickly realizes he is struggling with time management—trying to cram too much content into a 50-minute session, and classroom management—many of the students in his classes look unengaged and even bored. He wants to try some active learning strategies, but wonders how he can incorporate those into an already full outline of content. He has read numerous listserv postings and has gotten some good ideas from other instruction librarians, but when it comes to actually applying those to his own teaching, Bob just isn’t sure how to do it.
His first solo instruction session is coming up. The ENG 101 professor has requested that Bob show students how to locate books, find articles, and evaluate information on a controversial issue. The head of library instruction has encouraged Bob to incorporate active learning strategies in his instruction because this will improve student learning. He is wondering how he will do it all: cover all of the content the professor wants, utilize active learning activities, organize all of this content, and keep the students from surfing Facebook or texting while he is presenting.