Teaching and its discontents How academic librarians are negotiating a complicated role
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Teaching is a core role for librarians in academic contexts, although most librarians are not formally prepared to teach and encounter significant challenges in the role, including complex relationships with campus colleagues. The purpose of this research was to explore how community college librarians, an understudied population, understand their teaching role. Online interviews lasting fifteen to seventy-four minutes were conducted with thirty community college librarians who provide information literacy (IL) instruction. Participants were recruited by direct email invitation and were asked questions relating to their instructional practices. Interview transcripts were analysed qualitatively, with a specific focus on participants’ experiences of the teaching role. Participants reported positive relationships with students, and significant challenges in their relationships with disciplinary faculty and administrators. Their lack of formal preparation for the teaching role led to infrequent and informal assessment and evaluation practices. Pre-service education for the teaching role could be strengthened to provide librarians with the skill set and confidence to provide more effective instruction. Instructional quality is critical as the importance of IL is increasingly recognized as key to academic, workplace, and personal success.
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