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Information Literacy Instruction: Frameworks, Pedagogies, and Practices (July 2020): Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

Although many of the books that grapple with information literacy instruction include suggestions for learning activities, a subgenre of information literacy instruction texts has emerged: collections of lesson plans. These books may provide brief overviews of the ACRL Framework or of relevant pedagogical theory, but their raison d’être is to provide practical, ready-to-use lessons that librarians can implement immediately or adapt to various instructional contexts. One of the first books published on implementing the Framework in information literacy instruction, Joanna Burkhardt’s Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ Framework-Based Exercises for Creating Information-Literate Learners serves as a model for many of the other books on the topic because in addition to multiple ready-to-use learning activities for classroom instruction, Burkhardt provides an overview of the six frames. Since it also explains basic instructional design terms and how they are used in information literacy instruction, this book is particularly well suited to library school students and early-career academic librarians. Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians, edited by Patricia Bravender, Hazel McClure, and Gayle Schaub, also offers a brief background on threshold concepts in pedagogical theory, and it examines each of the concepts of the Framework before providing sample lesson plans for classroom instruction.

The “ACRL Cookbook Series” includes several new books that fit this model: The Embedded Librarian’s Cookbook, edited by Kaijsa Calkins and Cassandra Kvenild; The Discovery Tool Cookbook: Recipes for Successful Lesson Plans, edited by Nancy Fawley and Nikki Krysak; and The First-Year Experience Cookbook, edited by Raymond Pun and Meggan Houlihan. These successors to The Library Instruction Cookbook, edited by Ryan Sittler and Douglas Cook, all offer lesson plans targeting very specific skills, most of which map onto or link to the threshold concepts in the ACRL Framework. The majority of lessons are for undergraduates, although some lessons for K-12 students and graduate students are also included.

ACRL’s own six-volume set on the Framework’s threshold concepts, Framing Information Literacy: Teaching Grounded in Theory, Pedagogy, and Practice, edited by Mary Oberlies and Janna Mattson, follows a similar model, but instead of explaining the “frame” and then providing lessons, each volume is devoted to one frame and provides lessons that map onto that frame. These slim volumes are remarkable for the amount of information packed into their pages: each chapter explains not only how the lesson aligns with the frame being taught but also how it could be used with special populations of students and how it integrates other current theories of learning and pedagogy (e.g., social constructivism, metacognition, scaffolding, and so on). Library school students and early-career librarians will find this set an excellent introduction to the Framework and instructional design, learning theory, and pedagogy. The set also includes copious suggestions for further reading.

As the foregoing reveals, many recent publications in the field of information literacy instruction have been devoted to applying the ACRL Framework to discipline-specific information literacy instruction, both theoretically and practically. Two other volumes worth noting focus specifically on the application of the Framework to the sciences. Agriculture to Zoology: Information Literacy in the Life Sciences, edited by Jodee Kuden, Julianna Braund-Allen, and Daria Carle, defines and makes a case for information literacy before looking at the intersection of scientific literacy and information literacy and explaining how the threshold concepts of the Framework can be understood in the context of the life sciences. Likewise, Framing Health Care Instruction: An Information Literacy Handbook for the Health Sciences, edited by Lauren Young and Elizabeth Hinton, explores how a Framework-based conceptual approach to information literacy applies to the health sciences and provides case studies, lessons, assessment ideas, and other practical suggestions for instruction.