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The Value of Direct Engagement in a Classroom and a Faculty: The Liaison Librarian Model to Integrate Information Literacy

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

To Boldly Go... Engineering Librarians Explore New Connections with Users

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1512.1 - 22.1512.13



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Paper Authors


Anne Parker University of Manitoba

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Anne Parker, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Technical Communication Coordinator in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba.

S. Norma Godavari, MLIS, is the Head, Donald W. Craik Engineering Library and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba.

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The Value of Direct Engagement in a Classroom and a Faculty: The Liaison Librarian Model to Integrate Information LiteracyThis paper will update our earlier work on an integrated approach to information literacy.Our initial goal was to integrate information literacy into a technical communicationcourse in the Faculty of Engineering and to explore whether two pedagogical outcomeswere achievable within this framework: first, instantiating the benefits of an engineeringresearch report in a field where applications and design exigencies are paramount and,secondly, determining whether engineering research skills – far from being “short-termcompetencies” (as some would suggest) – are valuable additions to a student’s learningrepertoire. This initiative centred on the standards required by the Canadian EngineeringAccreditation Board, which demands that our graduates develop engineering professionalskills such as information literacy and communication skills. However, while that earlierstudy showed us that the integrated model worked well enough within a single class, wesoon saw the need for expanding what we were doing to the entire faculty.Consequently, we have now adopted the “liaison librarian” model followed by Americanuniversities (such as M.I.T.) as well as many major Canadian universities (for example, ). Similar to the U.S. “embeddedlibrarian” model, the liaising model stresses the efficacy of branching out beyond onecourse to several other courses within a faculty. So, in addition to teaching a few classesand evaluating some assignments, the librarian now assists with assignment andcurriculum development in the technical communication course. In other engineeringclasses the librarian acts only as a resource, facilitating the students’ learning at the pointwhere they are endeavoring to complete their research. In either case, the librarian liaisesbetween the myriad sources of information and the end users. At the same time, however,the librarian is now actively engaged in a faculty-wide promotion of information literacyand lifelong learning, two attributes that will go far toward meeting the accreditationstandards.

Parker, A. (2011, June), The Value of Direct Engagement in a Classroom and a Faculty: The Liaison Librarian Model to Integrate Information Literacy Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18610

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