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Information Literacy Instruction: Frameworks, Pedagogies, and Practices (July 2020): Writing–Information Literacy Collaborations

Writing–Information Literacy Collaborations

Some of the most interesting work published after the adoption of the ACRL Framework engages with the fact that instruction librarians and writing faculty both have guiding documents constructed as frameworks, albeit different ones. The Council of Writing Program Administrators, in conjunction with the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Writing Project, published The Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, which was edited by Nicholas Behm, Sherry Rankins-Robertson, and Duane Roen and is available online. The parallels between the writing program Framework (hereafter WPA Framework) and the ACRL Framework are significant. For example, the WPA Framework posits “habits of mind” as the foundation for success in writing, and the ACRL Framework sets out “dispositions” that support information literacy. Both documents underscore the centrality of critical thinking to success in acquiring requisite skills, and both documents engage with the ways new technologies have changed both the process and product of writing and research. The two documents are not, of course, identical, but their approaches to teaching essential skills to students are, conceptually, remarkably similar. Writing instructors and instruction librarians have seen the alignments of these guiding documents as inspiration for new projects and models for collaboration, especially in institutions where writing faculty and instruction librarians have already been working together.

Andrea Baer has emerged as an important voice in the conversation about collaborations between writing faculty and instruction librarians. She has contributed essays to several edited collections (including The Information Literary Framework, discussed above), and she is author of Information Literacy and Writing Studies in Conversation: Reenvisioning Library–Writing Program Connections, a concise but very informative book. The book draws on decades of research in composition and rhetoric and in learning theory and theories of information literacy, and it addresses some of the institutional barriers to collaborative library-writing programs. The Future Scholar: Researching and Teaching the Frameworks for Writing and Information Literacy, edited by Randall McClure and James Purdy, also examines the ACRL Framework alongside the WPA Framework and suggests ways that library instruction that is part of first-year courses can support the conceptual learning identified by both of these documents. Randall McClure’s edited volume Rewired: Research-Writing Partnerships within the Frameworks, which is similar to The Future Scholar, provides several models for collaboration between writing program faculty and instruction librarians. In her Reading, Research, and Writing: Teaching Information Literacy with Process-Based Research Assignments, Mary Snyder Broussard takes a slightly different approach by focusing on research-paper assignments and how the conceptual skills that inform the ACRL Framework can be taught effectively in writing classes. Instead of comparing the two frameworks, Broussard demonstrates how examining the pedagogy of information literacy through the lens of rhetorical theory can be an effective way to develop new teaching strategies.