21st century college library collections – i’m on the right track!

Crumpton, M. A., & Bird, N. J. (2013). Handbook for Community College Librarians. Oxford: Pearson Education.

In this book, two of the researchers I have frequently encountered in my workplace information literacy research, Michael. A. Crumpton and Nora J. Bird, have written about all aspects of library services in community colleges, including collection development. In reading this chapter, I was encouraged by the fact that I have implemented a number of practices which they recommend. In this table, I have highlighted their recommendations and noted what I have in place already, or what I would like to implement:


Recommendation Response
Instead of prescribed collection size the new 2012 ACRL standards encourages librarians to “use assessment and advocacy to build a case for what the …collection should be” (p. 88) Library Liaison program collections piece.
Community college collections must focus on a wide variety of topics, support the current curriculum and rely on a smaller number of more recent materials (p. 88)  
Clear policies describing the collection and how it supports the institution’s mission, goals and objectives (p. 89) Collections policy revised
Begin with a description of the communities which will use the collection (p. 89). In the collections policy
Popular fiction collections have been shown to increase reading levels (p. 90). Public library deposit programs
“Libraries in the digital age should not be buying collections of noncirculating materials” (p. 90)  
Acquire requested materials in the most expeditious way (p. 90). Proquest Thesis on demand purchasing and Reprints Desk purchasing for some ILL requests.
Monitor publications produced by the trades you support (p. 91).  
Consult faculty on a regular basis for suggested materials (p. 90).  
Use reviews, vendor tools and comparisons to items purchased by other institutions to find quality resources (p. 91). GOBI set up with reviews included, ability to see what other libraries have purchased a title.
Consider the best format — ebook, paperback, hardcover, dvd, etc. (p. 92).  
Consider using a vendor to obtain catalogue records at the time of purchase (p. 92). EDI ordering processes with Midwest.
Consider ownership versus access (p. 92)  
Set up cooperative e-resource arrangements when possible (p. 93). Novanet ebook DDA
Use data to assess the collection (p. 95). LibInsight
There are strong rationales for establishing an archives in a community college – the yearbook collection is a good place to start (p. 96). Yearbook project, Archives policy underway





21st century library collection development

Library collections in the 21st century (2011, December 05). Retrieved September 27, 2017, from https://youtu.be/6bofpsEciiQ

Last evening, I viewed a brief video presentation by James G. Neal, VP for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University/OCLC Board Trustee, in which he outlined four shifts driving 21st century library collection development:

  1. Primal innovation – We have to rethink what we are and be innovative.
  2. Deconstruction – We will have to tear apart what we have and creatively reassemble it, bringing in new parts as needed. He says that it no longer makes sense to think of library collections in terms of individual libraries.
  3. Radical collaboration – Libraries can no longer stand side by side as we have been doing (so well) but WITH each other, working as one and/or in collectives to accomplish our goals.
  4. Survival – We must focus on what the user needs, looking at non-traditional measures; Are users happy with our products and services? Are they achieving their goals with our support?

For the last 50 years, the goal of the larger library community has been to develop new approaches to coordinate collection development, but we have not done that; we have not been successful in implementing shared investments in collections. And now we are at the point where we must act as a collective by selecting, acquiring, owning, synthesizing, organizing and distributing TOGETHER.

  • We force users to make hard choices by limiting their information queries to what’s on OUR shelves.
  • Sophisticated interlibrary loan isn’t enough. User expectations have shifted dramatically and limitations of time and distance shouldn’t matter anymore.
  • With the massive decline in faculty coming to post-secondary libraries, we need to deliver content and functionality to the desktop of faculty and students and to deliver information in the online environment they are mostly in, to move librarians to the point of need.

workplace info lit

I’ve been researching workplace information literacy in preparation for our presentation at the fall 2017 NSLA Conference. Here are a few articles of note:

Bird, N. J., Crumpton, M., Ozan, M., & Williams, T. (2012). Workplace information literacy: a neglected priority for community college libraries. Journal of Business & Financial Librarianship, 17(1), 18-33. doi:10.1080/08963568.2012.630593

Crumpton, M., (2014, October). Teaching Workplace Information Literacy. Paper presented at the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=gaintlit

Forster, M. (2017). How is information literacy experienced in the workplace? In Information literacy in the workplace (pp. 11-28). London, England: Facet.http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nscc/detail.action?docID=4834744

Forster, M. (2017). The ‘Workplace Experience Framework’ and evidence-based information literacy education. In Information literacy in the workplace (pp. 149-164). London, England: Facet.http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/nscc/detail.action?docID=4834744

Hollenbeck, Kevin. (1993). An Introduction to Workplace Literacy Programs. In Classrooms in the Workplace Workplace: Literacy Programs in Small- and Medium-Sized Firms. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, pp. 1-6. https://doi.org/10.17848/9780585246093

Molopyane, J., Fourie, I. (2015) A framework for workplace information literacy in academic contexts: Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa) as case studyLibrary Hi Tech, Vol. 33 Issue: 4, pp.562-583https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-02-2015-0013

Ruleman, A., Horne-Popp, L., Hallis, R. (2017, March 22-25). Show me the learning: navigating information literacy through multiple life perspectives. Paper presented at the ACRL Conference, At the Helm: Leading Transormation. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/2017/ShowMetheLearning.pdf



I am also investigating JobJunction which is located in Halifax: http://www.jobjunction.ca/about/




Jacobson, T. E., & Mackey, T. P. (2016). Metaliteracy in practice. London: Facet Publishing.

  • Examines issues relevant to the new ACRL Framework in relation to metalitaracy.

PIL (Project Information Literacy) conducted a two-year study of recent US college and university grads. Their findings “underscore a gap between the critical thinking and information literacy competencies colleges may be teaching and the work skills they may need” (p. xi).

The Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative has produced several useful pieces of work (including this book) which I have been following:

The authors discuss how to incorporate metaliteracy learning objectives into coursework. They point out that metacognition is a “learned practice” and that students are likely, even with prompts, to describe their actions instead of reflecting to articulate on their learning (p. 56). Some excellent coursework components from a nursing course are given in Chapter 3, “Metaliteracy Learning of RN and BSN Students” (pp. 57-58):

  • Hallmarks of Professionalism email assignment, which immediately asks students to reflect on their attitudes, behaviour and knowledge about writing within their profession.
  • Brainstorming to select a specific topic and scope.
  • Research log to identify search strategies and sources.
  • Annotated bibliography  to summarize, evaluate and reflect upon their sources.
  • Proposal to a supervisor for topic approval, first working individually and then in groups to refine it.
  • Presentation of evidence by adapting and remixing it for patient education scenarios.
  • Final reflection in which students summarize and describe their learning, and how it will be applicable in the future.

Where Collections and Metaliteracy Meet (Chapter 4)

The author (Amanda Scull) notes that in her institution (Mason Library at Keene State College), most library instruction focuses on large databases, but she advocates for moving away from this to developing and promoting institutional repositories and research guides.

creativity = workplace productivity

In my P21 Creativity Course, I have been learning how creative problem solving is key to workforce success. The course document “What we know about creativity” indicates:

“The well-documented, shifting global paradigm from manufacturing to knowledge-based to innovation economies makes the ability to solve problems creatively a necessary skill for educational and workforce success” (p. 1).

This document defines creativity in ways that mirror the Coursera course on Creativity that I took earlier in my LCP, and it is interesting that my own desire to be a creative learner is in line with what employers are requiring in today’s workforce.

The document indicates that creativity definitions are well developed, and they generally all tend to include novelty, usefulness and social context as defining factors (p. 1). It points out that learning environments are as important as innate ability in student creativity (p. 4), and that the specific conditions of such learning environments include:

  • Openness to experience
  • Confidence in one’s own creative ability
  • Task motivation
  • Domain knowledge and expertise
  • Resilience in the face of criticism

Several means of assessment for creativity are also described.

In all of my reading, Creativity is described as something that requires work, not just innate ability.

Before Christmas, my Creativity mentor, Kathleen, referred me to a blog by James Clear, who offers advice on how to  “master” creativity and transform our habits so that we can be more creative, which will help us be more productive and happier.


Clear, J. (1994). Mastering creativity: break through mental blocks, uncover your creative genius, and make brilliance a habit. Retrieved from http://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/creativity-v1.pdf

Clear, J. (2013). Transform your habits: learning how psychology makes it easier for you to live healthy and actually stick to your goals. Retrieved from http://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/habits-v2.pdf

Plucker, J. A., Kaufman, J. C., Beghetto, R. A. (n.d.). What we know about creativity: part of the 4Cs Research Series. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/Research/P21_4Cs_Research_Brief_Series_-_Creativity.pdf

This document contains an annotated bibliography.


acrl and 21st century skills in workplace info lit

I have been reading research by Annemarie Lloyd, senior lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University who has researched and written extensively on information literacy in workplace contexts.

In her 2011 article, “Trapped between a rock and a hard place: what counts as information literacy in the workplace and how is it conceptualized”, Lloyd discusses the key issues related to workplace information literacy. Her key themes reflect the new ACRL framework, which advocates a contextual approach as being crucial for becoming information literate. It also underlines the importance of the 21st Century Skills, especially communication and collaboration, without which information people can’t become information literate in today’s workplaces.

Some highlights from this article:

  •  Workplace information literacy should “produce future workers who have the capacity to recognize and understand the central place that information, its creation, production, reproduction, circulation, and dissemination play in sustainable workplace performance” (p. 280).
  • The school “landscape” promotes individual performance and independent learning, whereas the workplace “landscape” is collaborative (pp. 280-281). The critical ground for information literacy research is the workplace (p. 279).
  • Workplace research shows that the generic information literacy skills we have been teaching are not transferable to the workplace (p. 277).
  • “Practice theories” can show us HOW information lit happens (p. 285).
  • Information literacy is not a skill but a practice (p. 286).
  • To become information literate, it is more important for a person to be collaborative than to learn a set of generic information skills (p. 294).


Lloyd (2012) describes a “people in practice perspective”which focuses on the “information landscape of their workplaces and everyday settings (p. 773).

Lloyd, A. (2011). Trapped between a rock and a hard place: What counts as information literacy in the workplace and how is it conceptualized? Library Trends, 60(2), 277-296. Retrieved from https://login.ezproxy.nscc.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/918114303?accountid=40480
Lloyd, A. (2012). Information literacy as a socially enacted practice. Journal of Documentation, 68(6), 772-783. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00220411211277037

workplace information literacy research

Over the summer I have been researching 21st century skills education and how workplace information literacy can be addressed through library instruction (keywords: “21st century skills education”; workplace information literacy library instruction”)

My research query: How can NSCC Library Services redefine information literacy practices to align with 21st century skills requirements?

To help determine the answer to this question, I am also investigating how NSCC determines if employers are satisfied with “soft skills” of our grads (and what this term means) and what NSCC is currently doing to address “soft skills” training, through the Student Services Alignment Project and through curriculum development.


Bird, N. J., & Williams, T. (2014). Casting a wider net: O*NET, workforce development, and information literacy. RUSQ: Reference and User Services Quarterly, 53(3), 227–231. Retrieved from https://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/N_Bird_Casting_2014.pdf

 O*Net, a US database of occupational information, was used to create information literacy programs that explored strategies within specific trades training programs. In one library instruction session, students explored job characteristics (in O*Net) for their trade and brainstormed likely problems that they might encounter on the job. In a second session, the librarian helped students develop keyword searches and gave instructions on how to find relevant information. For their assignment, each student had to articulate a career-related problem and propose an evidence-based solution (p. 230).


Hicks, A. (2015). Drinking on the job: integrating workplace information literacy into the curriculum. LOEX Quarterly, 41(4), 9–15. Retrieved from http://scholar.colorado.edu/libr_facpapers/59/

Head’s research for Project Information Literacy, which explored the information experiences of new grads in the workplace, identified gaps between employer expectations and employee competencies. “[E]mployers perceived that an overreliance on digital sources meant that new employees were often unable to explore a topic thoroughly or to make connections and patterns in their own work (Head, 2012). Students also perceived that the nature of information tasks was very different in the workplace” (p. 9).

Hicks recommends that information literacy instruction introduce students to information environments of the workplaces for which they are training. Hicks (2014) developed information literacy training in which she interviewed people in the field about the information practices, experiences, processes tasks and sources they most often used. After showing the recordings to a class, students were taught to develop their own individual PLE (personal learning environment) specific to their area of training.


Kivunja, C. (2015). Teaching students to learn and work well with 21st century skills: unpacking the career and life skills domain of the new learning paradigm. International Journal of Higher Education, 4(1), 1–11. Retrieved from http://www.sciedu.ca/journal/index.php/ijhe/article/view/5694

Reviews the “Career and Life Skills” domain of the Partnership for Teaching 21st Century Skills (P21) and outlines strategies for teaching these “soft” skills:

Skills Learning outcomes
1.    Flexibility/adaptability How to appreciate and respond positively to feedback
2.    Initiative/self-direction How to set goals, learn from trial and error and develop resilience in learning from mistakes
3.    Social/cross-cultural How to be an active listener who reads non-verbal information and remains open-minded
4.    Productivity/accountability How to manage projects and time; how to be ethical and participatory
5.    Leadership/responsibility How to direct the activities of others, set clear goals and give effective instructions


Lloyd, A. (2013). Building information resilient workers: The critical ground of workplace information literacy. What have we learnt? In S. Kurbanog˘lu, E. Grassian, D. Mizrachi, R. Catts, & S. Špiranec (Eds.), Worldwide commonalities and challenges in information literacy research and practice (Vol. 397, pp. 219–228). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-03919-0_28

In today’s workforce, it is not enough to be able to locate, access and organize information; workers must be able to transform it (p. 220). Workers must develop “information resilience”: the capacity to connect and engage with information in order to solve problems, adapt to change or to novel situations, transform workplace practices and to reduce possible sources of conflict or stress that arise when there is uncertainty about the type of information that is required or where to locate it in the information landscape” (p. 225).

Employers report that students coming into the workforce lack critical information literacies that enable them to find creative solutions to real-world problems (p. 221).

A “people in practice” approach shifts away from the information skills approach that has dominated IL research and education (p. 223). IL must be “situated and contextual” (p. 226).


Monge, R., & Erica Frisicaro-Pawlowski, E. (2014). Redefining information literacy to prepare students for the 21st century workforce. Innovative Higher Education, 39 (1), 59–73. doi:10.1007/s10755-013-9260-5

Traditional information literacy training assumed information skills could be applied universally and learned individually, but this is not the case, and there is a push to redefine IL guidelines using the requirements of specific disciplines.

In the workplace, information seeking and use is “highly contextual and fundamentally social”, and employers report that new grads have difficulty in handling ambiguous research tasks (p. 60). Current “college-centric” IL instruction fails to take into account the social and contextual nature of the workplace and focuses on the learner as a “solitary practitioner of information methods, rather than as an interpreter, creator, or collaborator immersed in an increasingly dynamic information context” (p. 61). Students are often not equipped to transform information skills outside of assignments (p. 62).

We need to abandon IL as a stand-alone skill set, embrace student-centered learning and provide opportunities for the social and technical landscape to shape learning (p. 66).


 Partnership for 21st Century. (2010). Up to the challenge: the role of career and technical education and 21st century skills in college and career readiness. Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Association for Career and Technical Education, National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED519335.pdf

Employers (in the US) have indicated that there is a mismatch between the skills they are looking for and the qualifications of their workers. In addition to industry-specific skills, executives are looking for a workforce that is equipped with critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity (the 4 Cs).


Roberts, L. (2016). Research in the real world: Improving adult learners’ web search and evaluation skills through motivational design and problem-based learning. College & Research Libraries. Advance online publication. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2016/06/02/crl16-887.full.pdf+html

Roberts describes an information literacy workshop entitled “Research in the Real World”, in which she uses the ARCS Model of Motivational Design and Problem-Based Learning to develop more engaging and effective library instruction programs for community college students. She includes her pre- and post-tests and the results of her findings.

Roberts acknowledges that there have been “few studies of effective research skills among nontraditional college students” and attempts to address this gap in her study.

She notes, “Best practices for improving IL have been moving away from prescriptive how-to of bibliographic instruction and towards concept-based teaching of information literacy to prepare students for the information economy” (citing Lloyd, 2013) and that the shift is from information literacy to metaliteracy, which Jacobson and Mackey (2011) position as the intersection of four domains: behavioral, cognitive, affective and metacognitive. They set four goals for metaliterate workers:

  1. Evaluate content critically, including dynamic, online content that changes and evolves
  2. Understand personal privacy, information ethics and intellectual property issues
  3. Share information and collaborate in a variety of participatory environments
  4. Demonstrate the ability to connect learning and research strategies with lifelong learning processes, personal, academic and professional goals.

She found that librarians tend to employ strategies pertaining to the relevance of material only a quarter of the time, and the ARCS Model suggests that to increase students’ motivation to learn, instructors must show relevance and provide hands-on activities. PBL (problem based learning) equips students to perform better in practice or skill-based environments.

How her instructional model relates to the New Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education:

  1. Authority is constructed and contextual – examines the construction of authority in various freely available internet resources.
  2. Information creation as a process –
  3. Information has value – the relative value of subscription database information and finding similar open access substitutes.
  4. Research as inquiry – problem-based learning (PBL) scenarios as a way of problem solving
  5. Scholarship as conversation
  6. Searching as strategic exploration – PBL giving context to define and redefine information problems.

Her results indicate that the Framework’s threshold concepts may be more effective when combined with “authentic learning contexts”, such as PBL teaching techniques. College students are more likely to find the instruction relevant if they are given realistic scenarios and an immediate chance to practice new techniques.


Weiner, S. (2011). Information literacy and the workforce: a review. Education Libraries,34(2), 7–14. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ961219.pdf

Weiner, who is the Booker Chair in Information Literacy at Purdue University, summarizes the literature around the topic of workplace information literacy and notes that there are concerns expressed by employers about the “workforce readiness” of new graduates. She points to evidence that information literacy instruction in college does not result in effective application in the workplace (p. 8); that the information needs and information-seeking behaviours of students are different than those they will need in the workforce, because workplace tasks are context-specific and not generic (p. 9); and that employers feel students would be more successful in the workplace if they could research questions in their field and develop evidence-based analyses (p. 10). The problem is exacerbated by the fact that little workplace information literacy research has been conducted in jobs that don’t require university degrees (p. 10).