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I am hoping to find a job in an academic library, and one skill I’m missing is teaching information literacy in an academic library setting. I have taught in various other settings before, and observed library instruction sessions at the community college library where I work, but have not had any formal training on the topic. I chose two books for July on this topic, hoping to learn about teaching technique, but unfortunately chose my titles poorly…

The first book I read was How to Teach: A Practical Guide for Librarians by Beverly Crane (2014). This book had many of my pet peeves about librarianism textbooks: dated, dry, and written by someone who has never actually worked in a library. Will librarian books ever stop referring to the Internet as new? The content was much more suited to a short presentation than a full length book. There was a lot of fluff, multiple inconsistencies, and a lot of vague, big picture instructions without the details on how to actually complete those instructions. The book presented itself as a beginner’s guide to instruction, but made many assumptions of knowledge on the reader’s part. All-in-all, it was a useless book that was a waste of time.

The other book I selected was Teaching Information Literacy: 50 Standards-Based Exercises for College Students by Burkhardt, MacDonald, and Rathemacher (2010). This book was about what to teach rather than how to teach. It outlines lesson plans for a full course on information literacy, which strikes me as a rare luxury in the academic library world. Each lesson has background information, a description of the assignment, tips for administering, and handouts if needed. It was pretty well written, not as dated as I expected, and fairly interesting, but did not have the content I was looking for. I would recommend this book for librarians looking for content ideas for ongoing instruction, but it’s less useful for those who only have one or two hours with a given class of students.

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