Section 2: Theory into practice
University structure and the Library’s position within academia.
Practice: The ACU Libraries directorate is under the guidance of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor as Figure 1 indicates. However, it would make more sense for Libraries to be part of the teaching and learning team under the Provost because the Library is intrinsic to academic success.
Theory: ETL504 highlighted the importance of embedding the library into teaching and learning in order to improve student learning outcomes. If the library and the Teacher Librarian (TL) are considered separate from the learning process, it is then much harder to embed programs such as inquiry learning, school wide reading programs and information literacy into pedagogical practice. However, at ACU the library is essential because reading lists must be submitted to the ALs to ensure sufficient access is available to the students and that copyright laws are adhered to.
Library Learning and Teaching: Framework, program implementation and evaluation.
Practice: The Library Learning and Teaching (LLT) Framework (2020) is aligned to the university’s mission statement and divides information literacy into two components; seeking and accessing relevant information, and the ethical use of information. It uses ability rather than level of study as a differentiation tool because the framework supports self-navigation from foundation to advanced, through the relevant LLT Libguides, videos, instant chat, facilitated teaching sessions as well as online consultations and drop in help desks. The ALs evaluate the effectiveness and efficacy of these programs and sessions to guide future practice so that students can continue to get the assistance that they need in the format that they prefer.
Theory : ETL 401 pointed out that information literacy is an intrinsic aspect of educational librarianship because it is essential for critical thinking, research success, and academic integrity (Mallon, 2018, p.1). Information literate students are also more adept at using the collection and have increased knowledge of how to ethically use that information. However, the delivery of information literacy differs as information literacy sessions occur sporadically within universities and additional support is student initiated. Whereas, ETL401 clearly elucidated the importance of embedded information literacy in classroom practice and that inquiry learning is the most efficient instructional method because the guided inquiry design can be adapted to suit any age or unit of work. However, it was ETL504 that highlighted the importance of leadership so that these programs can be effectively facilitated into pedagogy practices across the curriculum.
Library guides – Resourcing the Curriculum
Practice: The key role of an academic library is to actively participate in the education of students and LibGuides (LG) are commonly used to connect users to services and other relevant academic materials for specific units of work, classes or course (Walters, 2016; German, 2017, p.163; Hicks, White & Behary, 2021). The quality of sources is more important than the amount, therefore it is essential that these LGs only link to the most relevant resources to minimise information overload (Logan & Spence, 2021). Additionally, ALs are required to regularly verify LG links to ensure that they function and retain their user friendliness (Logan & Spence, 2021; Walters, 2016; German, 2017, p.165).
Theory: The fundamental principle of ETL503 is that a library’s collection and services’ primary purpose is to meet the needs of its community. Therefore any LG created needs to match the learning outcomes of the course, the numbers of students and their relevant learning needs and comply with copyright. It is also important that resources are prioritised from the collection before acquiring new materials. However, whilst ACU has a distinct ‘digital first’ motto with their resources, this is not a viable plan for schools due to the lower lower digital literacy competency of children and teenagers. ETL402 and INF533 both explained the increased cognitive load that digital literature places on low literacy students. Therefore, whilst digital resources are ideal in a digital society, there needs to be consideration for students with diverse learning needs.
Evaluating the Collection – Analytics of LibGuide usage (Project 2).
Practice: LibGuides from 2019-2021 were analysed to examine their usage statistics. The Law LG was the most complex with multiple subsections and had the largest number of resources with minimum ‘clicks’. Whereas Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine LGs were concise and their resources were accessed more frequently by students.
Theory: The collection can be successfully evaluated for its value to the curriculum and students by running analytics to determine LG usage. This process highlights which LG and corresponding resources are valued and which are not. ETL503 pointed out the importance of regular collection evaluation to ensure that it still holds its value. However, analytics often do not discriminate between faculty and student visitors, nor do they always identify accidental and meaningful interactions (Perrin et al., 2017). This means that high results should be viewed with caution, however low data can be correctly inferred to be low use.