Are we spinning or is it the board? Young children’s interaction with an interactive whiteboard in preschool

Reviewed By: E. Hawkyard, M. Holmes, L. Morrison, T. Vargas, C. Wisniewski

Link to article:

Introduction and Theoretical Framework

Screens, screens, screens. They’re everywhere. And there is, as every reader knows, quite a bit discussion about whether or not we ought to be spending so much of our attention gazing at them. This is a particular concern when it comes to very young children. Of course, screens in and of themselves are not all bad. As Lindstrand, a Ph.D student in the School of Education and Communication at Jönköping University in Småland, Sweden—who draws on a variety of scholarship here—points out, “[o]n the one hand, there is concern about young children’s use of technology and how it may affect childhood and children’s cognitive, emotional and social development in negative ways…[o]n the other hand, technology is regarded as a positive feature influencing children’s play, learning, and the development of literacy” (p. 124). Knowing that literacy and verbal language development have a great a deal to do with one another, and are important influences in the way in which young children make meaning, Lindstrand set out in this study to “[explore] the links between the embodied and multimodal ways in which young children make meaning with interactive whiteboards and early literacy processes” (p. 125). We are told that the use of interactive whiteboards are on the rise in Swedish schools, and we have also seen them being used more and more here in the United States and elsewhere.

Lindstrand’s study is largely inspired by Olsson’s and Lind’s work, who each claim that in such things as ‘nonsense’ (Olsson, 2009) and ‘scribbles’ (Lind, 2010) there actually lies meaningful methods of problem-solving. Young children purposefully, these scholars argue, use gestures and markings to test and play with problems that they themselves have constructed. Gestures as well as words, which undoubtedly interact with the material world and with others who are within it, should be understood as ‘expressions’ that explore, communicate, negotiate, and question (pp. 125-126). It is these ideas as well as those put forth by Gee and other New Literacy theorists (literacy is a social practice) as well as the multimodality work of Kress and Pahl & Rowsell that Lindstrand uses to frame her study’s design. Children under three years old were specifically selected because, though there are now a number of studies being published that deal with children’s use of technology in school, there are few that address pre-school age children and none that deal with children under three. Lindstrand is analyzing how technologies, in particular IWBs, affect the use of language in preschool.

Methodology and Findings

To observe such interaction, a little over four hours of video footage was shot over a six-month period that records “natural occurring interactions” (p. 128) between the IWB and 15 children aged one to three years, and four pre-school instructors. Some of the footage was shot while the camera was attached atop a tripod, at at other times the camera was hand-held. These interactions were then transcribed, and sorted into sequences that showed those moments when children closely interacted with the IWB. Particular attention was paid to those interactions in which children were using a web camera and paint program, for they were activities in which the children were required to use technology, thus “[offering] insight into potentials provided by the new technology”; thus, guided by Kress’s 1997-era example, Lindstrand was able to witness “[c]hildren’s actions on their world, [which,] through their bodies, leave traces of their interest that can be analyzed” (p. 127). “How are children’s interactions with IWBs constructed?” she asks, “How do children use different modes in their interactions with an IWB?” (p. 127). Lindstrand’s study of her target IWB interactions were guided by Kress’s social-semiotic approach, indeed his very same set of questions, “‘Whose interest and agency is at work here in the making of meaning?’, ‘What meaning is being made here?’, ‘How is meaning being made?’, ‘With what resources, in what social environment?’” (Kress, 2010, p. 57).

In one of the situations in which the webcam was used, its image was rendered on a portion of the IWB while the main camera captured students viewing and responding to the webcam’s projected image. The webcam captured children standing in front of the whiteboard. It was during this time that the instructor applied a special effect to the webcam’s projected image, making it spin. The main camera captured student’s seeing themselves. “Unlike a mirror,” Lindstrand tells us, “it is not the board itself that mirrors the activity. While a mirror will reflect a person who walks right up to it, one has to stand a certain distance from the board to be captured by the small camera and become visible on the board” (p. 130).  The children are able to see both themselves and their movements on the whiteboard. They lean their bodies according to the rhythm of the board’s circular movements, in the same direction, in separate directions, jumping, and balancing. Lindstrand argues that

“[t]heir different choices…can be understood as different experiences of the visualization, differently [moving] in order to continually adapt to the changing orientation and construction of new bodily signs….part of the process of meaning-making that is created by the logic of three-dimension space, technological functions, and the children’s own activity and interest. They are exploring the space and connections between their own bodies and how [their bodies] are displayed on screen” (p. 132-133).

These physical movements and others that are described are accompanied by occasional verbal expressions that seem to reinforce their attempts to balance or stretch their bodies as well as call attention to their success at doing so. In these situations, “verbal language is not seen as separated from other modes” (p. 133).

In another segment of activity captured by the main camera, a young girl is seen interacting with the IWB in a paint program. The girl’s touch on the board mimics a pen or a paintbrush on paper; thus, when she creates circles with her fingers, those circular outlines are rendered on the IWB. Various hand and body movements are visible in the segment: she takes her finger off the board, moves her arm downwards, places left her hand on the board and spreads her fingers, she touches the board and makes a line, and she moves her arms in large circles and spreads her fingers. Many of these movements are repetitive; often they are executed slowly and deliberately. It is through these movements that she explores the whiteboard, the changing pictures of marked lines, the light itself, and her own shadow. These repetitive movements, Lindstrand argues, are akin to the Lind’s (2010) concept of “visual alliteration” (p. 137) that is used to describe intentional and free play scribbling in which early problem solving skills are, in part, developed in children.  The girl’s various gestures and their repetition are seen by Lindstrand as “cooperating simultaneously” with the IWB “as a medium that offers different modes such as images, colors, writing and drawing…using what is at hand, the materiality, to express and explore [the young girl’s] interests in a sign-making process that can be seen as part of early literacy” (138-139).

Future Scholarship and Some Questions

While Lindstrand’s work here offers an intriguing case for the necessity of understanding multimodal communication as it intersects early literacy theories, it does not, unfortunately, offer much in the way of any concrete suggestions regarding future scholarship. The study only suggests that educators need to be familiar with these burgeoning theories, so that they may use technology in preschool environments that support rather than restrict a child’s “creativity, play and learning” (p. 142). Future scholarship could study students and others of different age groups (including adult learners) who also use IWBs so as to determine meaning-making as it develops or is deployed over time with respect to this technology in particular. One also wishes for one or more such studies to be carried out in cultures other than Sweden so as to help differentiate for early learners, especially, various cultural influences, which are likely then to be able to be isolated and identified—that is, if the New Literacy Theorists are indeed correct about literacy development being socially constructed. And while Lindstrand’s work is intriguing, more groups of students and far more footage than four hours needs to be studied if we are to know for certain whether her claims should be taken as gospel. Drawing on already present studies that explore post-preschool-age student interaction with non-IWB technologies (i.e., computers in general or tablets, for example), several of which Lindstrand cites in her introductory section, it also would be very useful to create other additional observable situations, wherever applicable, in which preschoolers make meaning with those same technologies. And, finally, given that many children are not likely to find themselves in an environment rich with IWBs or other technologies like that for some time to come, if ever, we perhaps ought to ask to what extent are such children are deprived of the kind of meaning-making practice that is seen in the children profiled in Lindstrand’s study. What other strategies and methods do preschool-age children use to make meaning in “embodied ways” that would be observable in communities not equipped with IWBs but rather more mundane technology?


Lindstrand, S. H. (2015). Are we spinning or is it the board? Young children’s interaction with an interactive whiteboard in preschool. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 3. Retrieved from

Kress, G. (1997). Before writing: rethinking the paths to literacy. London: Routledge.

Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London: Routledge.

Lind, U. (2010). Blickens ordning: bildspråk och estetiska lärprocesser som kulturform och kunskapsform [The Order of Seeing: Visual languages and aesthetic learning as forms of culture and knowledge]. Stockholm: Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogiskt arbete, Stockholms universitet.

Olsson, L. M. (2009). Movement and experimentation in young children’s learning: Deleuze and Guattari in early childhood education. London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Pahl, K., & Rowsell, J. (2006). Travel notes from the new literacy studies: instances of practice. Clevedon [England]: Multilingual Matters.

ICT Use: Educational Technology and Library and Information Science Students’ Perspectives – An Exploratory Studyew Article

Reviewed By: Shannon Engelbrecht, Catalina Lopez, Jaime Cortes, Alissa Gonzalez

Link to article:

This study explores the questions of “what factors influence students’ ICT use and web technology competence” (Aharony and Shonfeld, 2015, p. 192). They use three theories to explore this question: Diffusions of Innovation (DOI), personality characteristics, and motivation. DOI is defined in the fifth edition of Everett M. Rogers’ book Diffusions of Innovation as “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system” (Everett, 2003, p. 5) In mathematical terms, it is often depicted as a standard bell curve starting with early adopters and ending in late adopters. The personality theory used is based on the “personality characteristics derived from the Big Five approach (Aharony and Shonfeld, 2015, p. 191). Costa and McCrae developed this theory, which states that “five-factor model of personality is a hierarchical organization of personality traits in terms of five basic dimensions: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience” (Costa and McCrae, 1992, p.1). Finally, the authors define motivation as “ the process used to allocate energy to maximize the satisfaction of needs” (p. 194) and are working from the premise that “the higher the motivation students have, the greater their ICT use” (p. 194).
The authors used a questionnaire for their research tool. They distributed “120 questionnaires to the students and explained the study’s purpose” to two classes from the [Education Technology] program at an Israeli college of education (Mobile technologies, and Social Networks) and two LIS classes. Of these 110 responses were received back from these groups (91.6%), 50 responses were from college students and 60 from university students (p. 193-194). The survey focused on five topics: “personal details, ICT use, attitudes to ICT, personality, and motivation.” The personal details included: “age, gender, education, and institution” (p. 195) while the ICT use section “consisted of 14 statements rated on a five-point Likert scale (1=strongest disagreement; 5=strongest agreement).” The ICT attitudes section included 9 statements with a Likert scale, the personality section comprised 24 statements rated on a five-point Likert scale, and the motivation section included 6 statements rated on a 5 point Likert scale.
Findings and conclusions
In the data gathered by Aharony and Shonfeld’s questionnaire, several correlations were found between personality, attitudes, and motivation towards ICTs. (Aharony and Shonfeld, 2015, p.197) It was found that the more extroverted students are, the higher their openness to experience and their attitudes towards ICT use. Accordingly, it was found that the less extroverted students are, their level of neuroticism and negative attitudes towards ICTs were higher. Another finding was that a student’s level of neuroticism directly influenced their attitude towards ICT and their motivation to use them. It was also found that the more positive the attitudes towards ICTs the greater the motivation to use them. Students who view ICTs as complex or held negative attitudes towards ICT were less motivated to use them. It was also found in this research that students in higher education levels had a higher ICT use and higher levels motivation and positive attitudes towards ICT use. (Aharony and Shonfeld, 2015, p.197) The findings confirm that personality characteristics as well as motivation had the same directly affect on ICT use.
Researchers Aharony and Shonfeld suggest that if instructors wish to enhance student’s ICT use they should be aware of individual differences between students and should present the advantages and usefulness of ICTs to students to create positive attitudes. (Aharony and Shonfeld, 2015, p.198) The researchers also suggest the importance of presenting ICTs in a friendly and simple environment to increase student motivation and attitude towards ICTs.
Unanswered Questions and Answers:
Though there are quite a few findings and conclusions from the study, more questions also arose. These questions relate to unanswered thoughts stemming from the readings as well as what may appear in future research. One question is how would the study be different if the other two personality traits of the Big Five were included or featured in the study, those being agreeableness and conscientiousness? How much would those two traits change the findings? Another set of questions were about the participants. Was there a way to verify the authenticity of the respondent’s responses? The two universities used for the study, were they of the same quality and capability? Furthermore, the researchers did not provide any samples of the questionnaire, so it is difficult to verify if any of the questions may have been misleading or stacked. In all, of the four hypothesis, only one was accepted, that one being H3 that said, “The findings indicate that the more extroverted and open to experience students are, the higher their ICT use” (Aharony and Shonfeld, 2015, p.199). We wonder that if the other two personality traits were involved would they help accept or disprove the other hypothesis H3?
While having studies that include agreeableness and conscientiousness could alter the results, these personality traits seem that they would fall under the extroverted and introverted traits, respectively. A way for this kind of study to become more credible is to include even more personality types for more precise and verifiable results. Having more universities do these studies and corresponding with each other’s conclusions would validate this study.
An important factor that could form a new way to perform studies on student ICT use is to analyze what kind of activities the students enjoy. Many activities may have the possibility of influencing students to use certain ICTs, regardless of a student’s personality type of being outgoing or more introverted.
In terms of future research, we hope that further similar studies take a larger sample size of both participants and educational levels. Future research could also include as guiding factors all of the Big Five personality traits to have more conclusive and discussable data. Another possible question would be how well is ICT integrated within their daily activities as technology becomes increasingly entwined with everyday life. For example, a research question to explore could be: are people more dependent and do they understand *what* ICT is and *how it works* (not just how it is used in daily life)?

Aharony, N., & Shonfeld, M. (2015). ICT use: Educational technology and library and information science students’ perspectives – An exploratory study. Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Life Long Learning, 11, 191- 207. Retrieved from

Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory: NEO PI-R and NEO FiveFactor inventory. NEO-FFI Professional Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press

Library 2.0, information and digital literacies in the light of the contradictory nature of Web 2.0

Reviewed By: Sherrie Bullard, Michael Hober, Heidi Scheidl, Kayleigh Septer

Link to article:

Article synopsis and core research question(s)

In this article, Koltay (2010) attempts to find connections and differences between professional and amateur content generation in Web 2.0 environments. The paper begins with the hypothesis “that raising awareness of differences between professional content and content produced by the amateurs of Web 2.0 is of extraordinary importance in providing adequate library services, be it in the form of offering content services or information literacy (IL) and digital literacy (DL) education” (Koltay, 2010, para. 1). It is also argued that while technological developments are interesting and libraries enjoy being as close to the cutting edge as they can get, it must continue to be the user’s needs that determine the adoption of new technology.

The article begins by looking at Web 2.0 technology and why it is so commercially successful. It also examines Web 2.0’s connection to amateurism due to the ease with which users can participate. This is contrasted to the professional and educational uses that Web 2.0 provides for librarians and libraries. The importance of IL and DL in different contexts is also considered, such as the importance of engaging in formal IL instruction in academic library settings where an analytic style of information seeking and use is appropriate. However, in public library settings it is more acceptable to facilitate a pragmatic style of information use.

Methods used to answer the research question

The research method that Koltay used to answer the research question is desk research, also known as secondary research. This research method is the gathering and analyzing of information that is readily available in print or published on the internet. Secondary research has been proven to be very time and cost effective because it helps to obtain the large spectrum of information in a shorter span of time and for a lesser cost than primary research.

Many different types of sources were used to find literature that the author could use to support the research question. Peer reviewed articles from professional journals and professional associations that were in print and online and professional blogs were used to find literature. Most of the information is from the United States. However, the author used a few articles of information from other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy and Hungary. The author uses these diverse sources to try to find a balance view of Web 2.0. Although, the author does point out that having a “critical attitude helps to identify the most useful tools that can serve library goals and is the basis for providing adequate information literacy and digital literacy education” (Koltay, 2010, para. 2).

The author set out to investigate the main features of Web 2.0 that contributes to its commercial success, the question of amateurism, and the difference between amateur and professional contents. The role of amateur and professional content in library services, IL and DL and in Library 2.0 were also examined.

Findings & conclusions

As previously mentioned, the purpose of this article was “to prove the hypothesis that raising awareness of differences between professional content and content produced by the amateurs of Web 2.0 is of extraordinary importance in providing adequate library services…” (Koltay, 2010, para. 1). The author understands that “there is no single literacy that is appropriate for all people or for one person over all their lifetime” (Koltay, 2010, para. 31). He also realizes that literacies are changing and require “constant updating of concepts and competencies in accordance with the changing circumstances of the information environment” (Koltay, 2010, para. 31). It should also be noted that when public libraries use Web 2.0 as a service, that the tools that are a part of Web 2.0 “can and should be used for different purposes according to differential user needs” (Koltay, 2010, para. 32).

The concept that patrons should have is an awareness of whether they are using the Web 2.0 services for a scholarly need, or purely for entertainment should also be emphasized. Ultimately Koltay (2010) finds that “…the pragmatic style is compatible with amateurism, thus has a place in public library environments, while the analytic style is the ideal for academic users and literacies geared toward their needs should show preferences to this information style” (para. 30). Public libraries have so much to offer their patrons, and by providing their patrons with the knowledge of how to correctly analyze and critically evaluate these tools can prove to be not only beneficial for the library as digital and information literacy teachers, but for the patrons themselves.

Unanswered questions you have and what future research might address. &
A thoughtful attempt to answer your own questions

Upon evaluating this article, one major question came to mind: What are the most useful tools and how might librarians use them in order to assist users in creating more analytical and professional Web 2.0 content? If libraries make use of Web 2.0 tools, they have the opportunity to develop a presence in the every-day lives of their users by connecting and sharing via various online networks.

Some useful Web 2.0 tools might include: blogs (WordPress, Blogger), wikis, podcasts, social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn), image sharing (Instagram, Flickr), and video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo).

Libraries have the opportunity to enhance IL and DL competencies within the user community by way of distributing tutorials using Web 2.0 tools for construction and delivery. This activity might promote more professional Web 2.0 content from their users. Tutorials can be cross-promoted on various social networking pages associated with the library.

Libraries might host IL and DL screencasts on video sharing sites and share the link across other sites, or create interactive tutorials, such as Guide on the Side (GOTS), in order to assist users with navigating virtual resources while they are utilizing them. GOTS offer a valuable constructivist learning experience. Topics might be: tips for searching databases, evaluate sources for bias, make a blog, create a LinkedIn profile, use social media and exhibit “Netiquette”, ethical use of information (copyright and fair-use), guide to web resources that assist children in developing early literacy skills. These activities can help librarians instruct users on IL and digital DL while using Web 2.0 tools.

For further thought: As we move toward Library 3.0, how might the further development of the Semantic Web (or Web 3.0) and its environment of linked data change and enhance the way in which the library can integrate itself into the daily lives of its user-base in terms of information literacy instruction?

Picking up the cool tools: working with strategic students to get bite-sized information literacy tutorials created, promoted, embedded, remembered and used

Reviewed By: Katie Caughlan; Jeremy Hutchinson; Christian Larsen; Adrienne Mathewson; Tiffany Paisley

Link to article:

Blogging Open Access Research: “Picking Up the Cool Tools: Working with Strategic Students to Get Bite-sized Information Literacy Tutorials Created, Promoted, Embedded, Remembered and Used”
INFO 281

Katie Caughlan
Jeremy Hutchinson
Christian Larsen
Adrienne Mathewson
Tiffany Paisley

Article Synopsis

Hazel Rothera’s (2015) article “Picking Up the Cool Tools: Working with Strategic Students to Get Bite-sized Information Literacy Tutorials Created, Promoted, Embedded, Remembered and Used” documents an action research project involving university students in south England. The core research questions ask about the current information literacy (IL) tools available to the university students and if additional tools can be developed to enhance student IL skills.
The project had several phases, the first was to gather student’s self-assessments of their own IL practices during the first year of instruction and compared their responses a year later. Rothera (2015) investigated the IL resources available to the students through the university library and more importantly, evaluated the student’s knowledge and use of these resources.
The second phase used a focus group to explore possible tools that would enhance student research success. One of the primary solutions identified by the focus group was to have students develop short “bite sized” videos about IL topics. Although there were detailed IL resources available to the students through the library website and virtual learning environments including an IL Moodle resource, students were unlikely to find or use these resources.
Rothera’s (2015) research revealed that student’s digital research behaviors modeled their physical research behaviors. This results in a highly focused pursuit of resources, with little exploration of other possibly related resources. According to the focus group, short IL videos which were distributed in a variety of locations, not just in the library’s website or Moodle content, would be the preferred tool for IL lessons.

Methods used to answer the research question

Rothera (2015) chose “Practical Action Research” as an approach because it fit well into her small-scale project, which was based on her own professional practice. Based on a three-phase question, this research approach is cyclical in nature. The questioning phase begins with the simple question of ‘what?’, followed by ‘so what?’, and finally, the question of ‘now what’, is addressed. By phrasing the research approach within this cycle of ‘what’ questions, the data obtained enabled the researchers to identify several action items and revealed other barriers that could be incorporated into long-term projects.
This project lasted two years and included collaboration with the students who helped with the design and production of the resources. The length of the project allowed the researchers to do in-depth research using a variety of methodologies. The data collection phase (‘what’), consisted of investigating other university libraries, surveying student behaviors, and creating focus groups. The second phase (‘so what’) pulled together the findings and the third phase (‘now what’) started the action process of developing programs to address the findings of the research.

Findings and Conclusions

The study generated several findings. Expected findings included students being somewhat divided on whether or not they preferred electronic or print materials and the justifications for those preferences being similar world-wide. Unexpected findings tended toward the student’s actual information searching practices, generating interesting results. When students struggled to achieve the desired results of their queries, either because their library was truly limited or that they did not know IL tools existed, they took matters into their own hands to find what they needed by using Google, Google Scholar, and Amazon—even if it meant that they only found or were able to access a portion of the entire work in their search.
A further significant finding was that students approach their virtual environments in much the same way they approach their physical environments. The study found that with some exceptions many students used “linear navigational strategies” in both environments. This is a practice of knowing what is needed, going straight to that item, using it and returning it without engaging the rest of the environment. Searching in this manner meant that many tools, strategies, and IL services were missed or not seen in both virtual and physical environments. A third finding indicated that many students simply forgot that they had been told about IL tools. This forgetfulness was even to the extent that when students were asked to suggest improvements or additional IL tools, many suggested items that were already in place.
These findings generated some changes at the university’s physical library and in virtual spaces. Online reading lists and guides were placed on the library’s webpage and the library’s Facebook page was better publicized. Other actions and outcomes included embedding “bite-sized” IL into the lecture halls. This allows the librarian a few minute of a professor’s lecture time to show students IL skills and practices and is considered more effective and memorable than sending a whole class to the library for a one-off lecture. A further action taken was to begin creating short (2-4 minutes) tutorial videos of IL skills. This is a slow process to be sure but important to the students who favor visual learning for IL lessons.
Some conclusions drawn from this study indicate that students felt listened to because they were allowed to give feedback from the survey. When they saw quick changes in physical l and virtual library spaces and discovered tools and services of which they were previously unaware, a feeling of hope for continued change was reported. Any evidence of the short tutorial video evidence is forthcoming as those projects have taken longer to implement. An important conclusion that has been drawn hearkens back to the students’ linear searching behavior and the need to have constant small reminders of all the IL tools available peppered throughout physical and virtual environments. This is probably the most important conclusion. Repetition and embedded reminders to students are the best way to get them to use IL tools. Students do not proactively discover their environments so placing messages often and in multiple places is the best way to encourage utilization of IL resources.

Unanswered Questions

“How well do instructors use the tools in a VLE or in class? If the instructor does not use all the tools, thereby modeling exploration and utilization, they might not be encouraging students to do the same. Is it the instructors or students who might benefit from the library instruction?”

One glaring stand out of the study was the lack of involvement of instructors available, aware, or willing to promote library resources. The authors even make mention of having to be stealthy in order to expose teachers to available resources they can pass on to their students. “…since lecturers are more likely to be present when a librarian briefly drops in to their lecture or seminar than when sending a class to the library, their notorious reluctance to attend IL sessions themselves can be overcome with stealth…” (Rothera, 2015, p. 50). The researchers did contact staff members offering brief classroom drop-in sessions, but the results of this outreach are not yet available.

If students are needing frequent reminders of the efficient utilization and usefulness of library resources due to the demands of information overload (p. 48), then the first step in overcoming this issue would be to get staff buy-in and collaboration first. Rothera (2015) discusses how this study was encouraging fruitful conversations and awareness between academic staff and subject librarians (p.52), yet there is no staff involvement in the creation piece. Having students involved in the video-making process helps with their buy-in, while staff is still not a part of the process. Allowing staff input and a chance to participate might provide opportunity for librarians to better promote resources at the front end, to the lecturers, who can then disseminate this information to their students. While the research team plans to “work with her academic colleagues to embed use of videos at appropriate points in teaching,” (p.53), it does not appear they are collaborating with staff in ways that will ensure buy-in, they are only telling staff what they have done.
There is also a lack of discussion about administrative support for the project. If teachers do not hear about the project from administration, they may not consider it important.

“The authors identified through surveys that students desired short videos about Information Literacy (IL) the most. However, how could the authors assess the effectiveness of short IL videos compared to other IL tools including FAQ’s, discussion boards, and library wikis?”

Although the researchers confirmed students would prefer short IL videos, a more thorough assessment would be to provide a diagnostic comparison of all the IL tools available and their effectiveness and usefulness in student projects and outcomes. Using an assessment tool to compare what resources worked the best could better get the crux of what students really need to grow IL skills. A pre-test of student’s IL skills could be compared with a post-test based upon what tools were used to determine which could really be more effective. Although students indicate they have preference, there is no measurement showing that preference holds weight in the outcomes.

“Would linking these short IL videos into library website keyword search results help overcome the issues the author had about the lack of student awareness of IL support?”

Linking the videos into the keyword search results on the library website would help some students to be aware of IL support. It could help students who are less knowledgeable about the library website find the videos. However, there would certainly also be students who would not use them for various reasons. For example, some students may not be able to access or use the keyword search while others simply might not go through the time to search the website. Including a question similar to this on a future survey would be a good idea. This way, the school will be able to see approximately what percentage of students would use this option if it were made available to them.

“What, beyond embedding reminders of the IL lessons and tutorials, can be or has been done to increase the “stickiness” of the IL lessons and tutorials?”

As there are several different ways that students learn, it is likely that some would benefit from other forms of reminders. Embedding the reminders and the creation of the videos mostly benefits visual learners. It would make sense for the school to try other methods of reminding students to try to increase the “stickiness” of the lessons and tutorials for different types of learners. They could do this by using some of the information they have obtained via the surveys. Both second year surveys showed that while most students thought videos would be helpful, many noted that one-on-one help would also be beneficial. They could therefore implement in person reminders for those who might learn better from them. Additionally, refresher courses could also help to make these lessons and tutorials stick better. It was clear from the first survey, that most first year students found the tutorials incredibly useful and doing something similar at the start of every year may have positive results.

At one point, the article mentions having to wait on completing work on the videos until changes were implemented. Are there any plans to modify the videos when and if the systems change? How will possible changes affect the long term usability of the videos?

It is clear that the school has taken measures to make sure that the videos are usable. Therefore, they will probably continue to update them as necessary. It is also possible that they do not think there will be any significant changes in the near future that will affect the relevance of the videos. Given how frequently technology changes, this is somewhat unlikely. Alternatively, they might already have plans in place if changes do happen. Either way, it is important that the school be prepared for changes that may occur in the future.

Overall, this research project yielded very interesting results having significant relevance on learning design and information literacy. We look forward to more follow-up from this research project to see if the changes implemented have positive results.

Rothera, H. (2015). Picking up the cool tools: working with strategic students to get bite-sized information literacy tutorials created, promoted, embedded, remembered and used. Journal of Information Literacy, 9(2), 37-61.

A Multilingual and Multimodal Approach to Literacy Teaching and Learning in Urban Education: A Collaborative Inquiry Project in an Inner City Elementary School

Reviewed By: Megan Haney, Christine Sanbrailo, Delmi Rodriguez, Hope Katzman, and Kristine Moralez

Link to article:

For this assignment, we chose to explore an article about how an inner city Canadian school dealt with the rising population of students whose primary language was not English or French, the two most commonly spoken languages in Canada. This article reports on a project that seeks to demonstrate the importance of multilingualism, multimodality, and multiliteracies to student’s success in and beyond school. Two grade school teachers and two university based researchers conducted the project in order to answer how they could better assist their students academically and in literacy learning. The project became known as a Collective Pedagogical Inquiry. The study was conducted in a K-8 school with around 550 students. Seventy six percent (76%) of the student population spoke a language other than English at home. These students are referred to as English Language Learners, or ELL.

According to Ntelioglou, Fannin, Montanera, and Cummins (2014), in recent years prior to the project, researchers have found that with, “a change in outlook, mainstream classroom teachers can implement multilingual, multiliteracies pedagogies with positive results from their students,” (p. 2). Coupled with this, the authors drew their research questions from parents and teachers who had concerns that, “home languages other than English or French have been viewed as largely irrelevant to children’s schooling,” (Ntelioglou et al., p. 2). The main research questions the authors hoped to address were twofold: What tactics could teachers use to promote student engagement and literacy for English language learners, and how can these teachers use a multiliteracies approach to increase learning while maintaining a connection to a student’s home language and cultural awareness?

To answer their questions, the researchers gathered observation field-notes, took videos of the class teachings as well as the multimodal objects created in the classroom, which included digital texts, drama performances, and student writings. Formal and informal interviews were also conducted between the teachers and students, and then between the teachers and parents.

For the writing project, the students were asked to describe their favorite place within the school. Subsequent steps for the project included first drawing a picture or taking a picture with an iPad, and then writing a description of what this place meant to them. Following these steps, the students’ parents were brought in so that their child could interview their parents about their experiences in third grade, and what their favorite place was when they were in school. Some students went beyond the initial assignment and turned their writing project into multimodal presentations ranging from songs in their native language to a drama performance that included Hungarian, Mandingo, Spanish, and Tibetan speaking students.

Researchers found that multimodal and multilingual practice allowed the students to increase literacy skills, become more confident both in the classroom and out, and be more engaged in the learning process. Another result of the project was a change in teacher/student relationships; the student became the expert when expressing themselves in their native language. This role reversal contributed to the students’ increasing personal, social, and classroom self-esteem. The authors explain, “The multilingual and multimodal practices in the classroom changed the power relations in the classroom and allowed the students access to identity positions of expertise, increasing their literacy investment, literacy engagement and learning. At the beginning of this project, the two teachers were worried because many of the newcomer ELL students, especially the Roma students, had developed ‘learned helplessness,’” (Ntelioglou et al., p. 6). Through the project, students became excited to explore their home language even if they were not fluent, and this helped them form both a deeper identity with their cultural background and an excitement to learn.

The student/teacher relationship was not the only one to shift; the student/classmate relationship was also affected by the project. The researchers, “decided to first teach the use of the technology (use of iPad, computer applications, etc.) to these ELL students so that they could become the experts, and later could teach their classmates, accessing their identity positions of expertise,” (Ntelioglou, et al., p. 6).

Our group was left with a few questions after assessing the article. One question that was posed by each of us individually is how would this kind of project work in the United States? In cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York, where dozens of different home languages are spoken, how would teachers be able to adequately prepare themselves to help students complete a project both in English and in their native language? Another question we had concerns the timing of the project, specifically how much of the school year was allotted for this exercise? Lastly, the researchers are convinced that the project was a success, but they have taken no steps to measure that success. They use general terms to explain the students’ increased classroom engagement, but do not provide the reader with any conclusive or statistical evidence to prove their outcomes.

Our group is interested to read about how this same sample group of students has done in their subsequent years of schooling. Were they permitted in other classes to use both English and their home language?

Further research for this topic would include expanding the group of students surveyed, not just outside this specific school, but also perhaps to reach to other age groups.

Source Cited
Ntelioglou, B. Y., Fannin, J., Montanera, M., & Cummins, J. (2014). A multilingual and multimodal approach to literacy teaching and learning in urban education: A collaborative inquiry project in an inner city elementary school. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1-10. Retrieved March 3, 2016, from

Web 2.0 and New Learning Paradigms

Reviewed By: Melissa Feinberg, Tammy Molloy, Nate Nielsen, Kristan Ramos

Link to article:

Bartolomé, A. (2008, April). Web 2.0 and New Learning Paradigms. Retrieved from


Advancements in technology and the transformation of the internet towards Web 2.0 has lead to new educational ideas known as eLearning 2.0. Changes in old curriculum have been compared to the new paradigm for distance education within a technology enhanced environment.

Changes in old curricula:
The Net as a multi-device system allows changes in studying at any place and time.
Flexibility between iPods and computers for learning tasks is a technical and irrelevant question, implying learning occurs at any time such as walking and traveling.

While recently developed changes occurring at institutions and businesses using eLearning is skeptical, the near future is hopeful to use eLearning 2.0 as a commercial promotion tactic that encompasses Web 2.0 in educational courses without business control access and knowledge authority. At the same time, distance learning attributes should be characteristic in non-formal education in order to end the separation between living and learning.

Core Question: “Where are the new paradigms?”

Although the lack of a formative definition of Web 2.0 indicates that it has been used and shows a connection between distance education courses and Web 2.0 elements, there is little to no impact on the structure of the old learning paradigms that new curriculum is built upon. The acceptable structure is oriented towards document distribution and production including video-sharing, blogs, and wikis, while courses with eLearning elements are not currently applicable to information management tools including social bookmarking and tags.


Bartolomé breaks down the concepts that form Web 2.0 and what the future holds for eLearning. The article is organized into three sections that (1) describe Web 2.0, (2) the types of Web 2.0 resources used within eLearning, and (3) new paradigm platforms for eLearning. Breaking down the constructs of Web 2.0, provides analytical structure and meaning to this technology trend.

Web 2.0 – To understand Web 2.0, it must be divided into what it is and what it is not. Bartolomé explains the characteristics of Web 2.0 and the comparison from Web 1.0.

Web 2.0 resources found in eLearning courses – This section analyses the structures within Web 2.0 that may be found in the eLearning environments, such as, Wikis, Blogs, RSS readers, and so on. Bartolomé references scholars and other personnel to understand how each resource provides eLearning capability.

New paradigms – After comparing Web 2.0 with 1.0, and explaining the individual learning tools for Web 2.0; Bartolomé predicts the future of the Web 2.0 platform through past and present references. New paradigms for Web 2.0 are portrayed within this section to expand the eLearning environment.

Bartolomé references the research and theories from other scholars and journals to create a comprehensive argument about the eLearning environment within the Web 2.0 platform. The new paradigms referenced throughout this paper are theories; however they possess possible solutions for an expanding Web 2.0 platform and eLearning environments.

Conclusions and Findings

In our technologically driven environment today we are more dependent on Web 2.0 resources than most of us realize. Many users of the Web 2.0 resources don’t realize they are using resources in their everyday life that are categorized under a technologically advance concept. Although we as everyday laymen users are skilled in these resources, our learning environments are becoming more of a model for how to utilize these resources to their best benefit to the end-user.
Our end-users include teachers, students, corporate trainings, and business professionals. Web 2.0 is no longer just a Snapchat or a Facebook post, it is now a technological model utilized for various purposes such as education and corporate training in many domains.
Web 2.0 being mostly based on a learning theory that can offer online access from anywhere, once being more of a social networking collaborative effort, is now being catapulted into the future as a collaborative learning, teaching, and effective business tool for all users in many capacities under many domains.

Unanswered questions you have and what future research might address

As we all now know, web 2.0 has effectively taken over the web. Wikis, blogs, video and picture sharing platforms are now the norm on the web. Although one could still find the old model of expert to novice information sharing, this model is continuously shrinking in favor of broad information collaboration. While we were given a thorough description of the web 2.0 paradigm, and how it may affect learning, the article leaves a number of unanswered questions, these unknowns will benefit future research. Future research should do its’ best to answer the questions regarding the continued growth of web 2.0, its effects of learning models and what’s in store. Some questions that might guide future research include:
How are educators using web 2.0 technology in the physical classroom and are they keeping pace with the e-learning environment?
Have schools developed learning models to teach technical and digital literacy to prepare students? Are e-educated students more digitally and informationally literate than physical classroom taught students?
What effects has the growth of web 2.0 had on student learning?
Now that we have seen / used / participated in web 2.0, what comes next? What is the next development?
Researchers who look into these and other questions will show how learning modules have evolved and adapted. They will be able to describe new learning paradigms, how educators and institutions have harnessed the web 2.0 and the impacts it has had. They will put themselves into a position to answer the ever important question of what comes next.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)- Themed Literature for Teens: Are School Libraries Providing Adequate Collections?

Reviewed By: Corin Balkovek, Helen Cate, Juliann Hilton, Garrett Purchio

Link to article:

For this assignment, we chose to examine the article, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)-Themed Literature for Teens: Are School Libraries Providing Adequate Collections?”, published in 2013 in the School Library Research Journal of the American Association of School Libraries. The study outlined in this article focuses on the prevalence of LGBTQ works (both fiction and nonfiction) in today’s public high schools. With the rise of LGBTQ rights and issues within current society, the issue of representation within public schools is an important and at times polarizing topic.

This study sought to determine if LGBTQ high school youth have access to LGBTQ materials in their school libraries. The study analyzed the collection of 125 high school school libraries in an undisclosed state of the United States to see if LGBTQ resources were available to students. The authors provided background information on LGBTQ resources and cited previous studies on LGBTQ youth in which the results showed that having access to relevant, useful resources helped this group of people. The data gathered from the searches was presented in four charts, as were two lists of prominent LGBTQ-themed literature. The authors concluded that these schools were lacking sufficient LGBTQ-themed literature in their collectives, which could prove harmful to LGBTQ youth. The authors acknowledged that even though librarians may face opposition and other assorted challenges related to serving LGBTQ youth, they must attempt to provide these resources to this group given how valuable these resources can be.

The study was conducted by using the online catalogs of the selected libraries to look for LGBTQ materials using four different search terms: “homosexuality”, “gay men,” “lesbians”, and “transsexualism”. Each item that turned up in each of the searches was tallied. Additionally, searches were conducted for highly recommended materials from a prominent LGBTQ literature collection.

Findings of the study showed that, overwhelmingly, public schools within the state that was studied were under-serving the teenage LGBTQ population. In regards to LGBTQ-themed works- including fiction, non-fiction and biographies – half of the schools studied held fewer than 31 titles. The number of titles held by these schools ranged from 1 to 157. The average number of LGBTQ-themed titles held was 35.7, and on average made up 0.4% of their collections. The authors also studied the inclusion of a highly-recommended core collection of LGBTQ-themed literature, as laid out in Webber’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teen Literature: A Guide to Reading Interests. Of titles from Webber’s collection, 65.3% of schools held fewer than five of the fiction titles, the most commonly held title being The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and 19.3% of the schools held none of the titles at all. Schools held even fewer of the recommended nonfiction young adult works, which focus on LGBTQ history and various issues like coming-out and safe sex practices.

There are a few questions that remain unanswered through the course of this study, many of which could be resolved by increasing the scope and depth of the study. This study was constructed from research done on a handful of schools from one state in the southern part of the U.S.; while the results are a good look at the LGBTQ curriculum found in high school of this particular state, to extrapolate this information as being representative of the entire country would weaken its case. However, if a large sample size was taken from throughout the country, the results of this larger study would be a stronger representation of what the national outlook of LGBTQ literature in high school libraries.
In addition to expanding the scope of the study in terms of sample size, looking into other extenuating factors that could lead to the development (or lack thereof) of LGBTQ literature in high schools could work to answer questions and concerns regarding the methodology of the study. For example, the authors of the study list out the number of LGBTQ books each library held, but did not mention what percentage of the total library’s collection those books entailed. By focusing on the actual percentage of LGBTQ books within a collection rather than the number, the researchers would create a metric that would be universal despite the size of the library being studied. While only having 31 books focusing on LGBTQ themes and issues is low, is it 31 books out of a collection of 1,000 (which would be 3.1% of the total collection), or out of 10,000 (which would be .31% of the total collection)?
The authors of the study touched on another underlying issue that possibly affected their results: the variance in cataloging practices between the schools that were studied. The researchers searched the OPAC of high school libraries using the Sears subject headings “homosexuality”, “gay men,” “lesbians”, and “transsexualism”. As they discovered during their work, there were many times where a book in one school would be cataloged using one of these search terms, but in another school would not. These differences in cataloging practices create a certain margin of error on the results of the study: just because a book didn’t come up while using these search terms in the OPAC, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t in the collection. Additionally, some youth may not feel comfortable coming to ask a librarian for a list of LGBTQ works; how might they find the collection of works when the cataloguing system might not include everything, or include works that should necessarily be labeled as such? Perhaps if the recommended books on the lists came with suggested cataloguing headings, there would be more consistency and that would make searching for LGBTQ works somewhat easier. By working to find other ways to determine the LGBTQ collections that circumnavigate these cataloging differences and issues – for example, requesting a list of LGBTQ works directly from library staff who may know of works that aren’t tagged using the subject headings above – researchers may be able to get a clearer picture of high school library collections.

Another remaining question concerns the biases of librarians, teachers, and administrators. Are those that purchasing the books for collections allowing their own beliefs, thoughts, and feelings on the matter effect which LGBTQ books they buy and how many? If so, how might this be overcome or minimized? The possibility that lack of variety and low level of purchases of LGBTQ works comes from personal biases can’t be completely dismissed. At times, there is pressure (real or imagined) from an outside source that affects choices in library collection development.
All in all, the study works to highlight a serious issue facing diversity in modern high school libraries. By first discovering the weak spots in library collection development in terms of LGBTQ literature, steps can be made to improve the situation and work to ensure that the libraries held in today’s high school are inclusive for all students.

Sources Cited:
Hughes-Hassell, S., Overberg, E., & Harris, S. (2013). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ)-Themed Literature for Teens: Are School Libraries Providing Adequate Collections?. School Library Research, 16.

Welcoming the Homeless into Libraries

Reviewed By: Connie Lin, Haylee Lederer, Maria Haga, Rebecca Heine

Link to article:

Why should libraries help the homeless, and what efforts have been made to serve the homeless population?

In her article Welcoming the Homeless into Libraries, Kim Leeder addresses issues inherent with library attention to the homeless community. The reality is that aside from providing a warm, dry place with restrooms, libraries are not doing much else for the homeless. Though in 1990 the ALA approved policy #61, Library Services to the Poor, the adoption of the policy’s intent has not been carried out as universally as expected; however, there are some existing services that have proven beneficial. Leeder mentions the partnership between the Free Library of Philadelphia and Project H.O.M.E., as well as the partnership between of the San Jose Public Library and the San Jose State University Library. Both have developed services aimed directly to the homeless, resulting in a more well-rounded representation of the services libraries make available to the general public. As public libraries are designed to provide resources and make information available to the public, the homeless community should be included in their efforts.
Leeder uses qualitative data and secondary sources to explore ALA’s stance towards services for the homeless and positive initiatives libraries are taking towards their homeless patrons. In particular, she focuses on specific articles of case studies that succeeded like the Free Library of Philadelphia’s H.O.M.E. Page Café and the Lawyers in the Library and Social Workers in the Library programs at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose. The article consists mainly of paraphrases or article quotes describing efforts those libraries are making towards supporting the homeless through partnerships with local organizations.
While doing research on homelessness, Leeder realized that homeless populations often appreciate and take advantage of local libraries. Not only do they provide free restrooms, they also offer the homeless a safe and warm place to get off the streets, while allowing them to explore and connect to the world around them. However, despite the homeless being the most vulnerable population of library patrons, they are often the most discriminated against. Leeder found that several U.S. libraries employ policies that can be seen as “anti-homeless”; her examples being policies against: “offensive body odor, bathing, and sleeping.” Not to mention the almost universal library rule of needing an address and an ID or driver’s license to check out books or access library resources, all of which excludes the homeless from utilizing the library. She points out that most libraries simply just tolerate the homeless, when they actually have the power to do so much more.
A question Leeder asks in the article is, “Have I ever helped them or has my library been doing anything to help?” and further research might focus on answering this question in regards to staff attitudes towards the homeless. Research might focus on staff bias towards the homeless and what potential ways can help in shifting attitudes. In addition, Leeder also explores only two different examples and it would be interesting to see further research from libraries across the nation on how many libraries have implemented programs/services directed at the homeless. It would also be interesting to see what effect these programs have had and if there are ways to to refine them to make them more effective.
For me, the ending question is one of balance. We can train librarians to recognize their own bias, implement programs to help those disadvantaged, and be a genuinely good resource, but one topic barely commented on is that this will not change the rest of the public’s perception of the homeless. Thus, how do we balance the needs and rights of the homeless while not alienating the rest of the library patrons?
There are no clear answers to this; anyone who has worked in a public library has likely seen these tensions arise.
Perhaps a possible solution lies in breaking the stigmas that homeless people are the victim of. Because they are dirty or smell, or look “suspicious”, much of the public and even library staff members are automatically programmed to put themselves on the defense. As Leeder discusses when she references the book Breakfast at Sally’s, there are instances where the homeless are very normal people that have come across a period of bad luck in their lives or they have made some bad decisions to lead them where they are in that particular moment in time; however, that does not mean they do not have the potential of doing well. The main character in that story was basically abandoned by his family, which led him to his homelessness. When libraries partner with other community organizations to address the homeless population, I think they have to look for ways to empower the homeless and work to incorporate them back into society. This might mean giving them support in finding housing or job training, and so on. The more that libraries embrace the population and truly provide the services needed, the more the surrounding community will become comfortable with the projects and the reasons they are being put in place.

Serving Diverse Knowledge Systems in Academia

Reviewed By: Renee Vincent, Tyler Ward, Elanna Erhardt, Cathryn Gowen

Link to article:

As librarians we must always be aware of the various needs and wants of the Information Community we are serving. These needs become increasingly technical and diverse in an academic institution. History majors looking for primary resources and documents need a better search system than is currently being offered. The research needs of medical students need different sort of services than others. Currently, unless a school has a “law library” or “medical library” their services are generally pretty homogeneous, what this article suggests is that services become much more heterogeneous to take into account all the various disciplines at schools.
Libraries and institutions must not only work with each other, but they must also work with their patrons. It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is that the actual needs of the users be taken into consideration. This leads to a much more flexible system that can change as the spirit of the institution does. Libraries are a far better source for information than google is, and yet because many institutions do not change, people will use google until this trend is changed.
A library must ask itself, what journals and databases they need to have access to, and how they can get users to them. Perhaps more records should be digitized as it is often a rarity of students who peruse the stacks. Searching can also be modified by adding more key phrases into searches. What is key, is that our current system is not sustainable, and not likely to produce the best scholars. If we want to change this, there must be a massive effort to use databases, fill them, and reform them, in ways that are appealing to the average user.

Birdall illustrates how 21st century libraries are going through a major shift in this digital age. A challenge for academic libraries in modern times is successfully serving diverse academic disciplines that are also changing with technology. Academic disciplines are well aware of the unique distinctions between themselves, however the libraries serving them tend to ignore the differences and focus on similarities. Some libraries try to coordinate changes to accommodate new trends in the academic world. One fact holds true for academic disciplines “technological change will not diminish the diversity found among academic disciplines.”
The root of homogeneous library services comes from the fact that libraries have always looked for similarities between disciplines. Traditional librarianship has always been “committed to universal services and to efficiency” paving the way for homogeneous services. The modern library needs a more diverse outlook regarding homogeneous services, and adopting an understanding of “research knowledge systems” could help. Knowledge systems as defined by the author is “the differing epistemological means of generating knowledge (ways of knowing) and of the resulting institutions, values, and methods employed to preserve, distribute, own, and provide access to that knowledge (knowledge organization).” Library leaders agree that a move from homogeneous to heterogeneous services is needed in a 21st century academic library. The dedication of many libraries to universal service and efficiency is stifling this shift.
Understanding knowledge bases is stressed in the article, particularly at the end. Knowledge bases will be a necessary adaptation for library services in order for them to be productive. Library services need to draw from the heterogeneous aspects of knowledge bases and collaborate with each discipline. Development strategy guidelines are summarized, and elaborate how to create an open model of services based on knowledge bases. Transforming library services will only provide more accurate aide for the community and evolve the profession further.

Scholarly research was used to help answer this question. It appears also that this article was informed with the authors’ experiences of hegemonic knowledge stewardship. Evidence for the need to create heterogeneous sources of knowledge and knowledge sharing were provided with the authoritative voice of the OCLC, and, more significantly, with indigenous and non-English-speaking authorship that help to more aptly represent the need for libraries to shift their services from the more mainstream forms of knowledge curation and dissemination that best serve people with economic and racial privilege. The voices of color and non-English-Speaking voices cited to support the argument serve to validate the need to incorporate culturally specific ways of knowing into information services.

Questions for further research
q 1. How has the recent trend in the 21st century towards digitization in libraries improved and revealed necessary changes related to diversity? Has this process produced any negative effects relating to diversity? This article explores how academic libraries are moving towards diversity through digitalization, but what are the contributing factors, whether positive or negative?

q 2. What is the result when needs force conflicting models of heterogenous services at the local level? Part of the desire for universalism and efficiency is that services can be provided, generally, in the fastest manner for everyone. If a local city or university has multicultural roots from many cultures that differ on retrieval preference or services offered, what principles should local libraries apply as they seek to convenience all diversity?

Attempts to answer our own questions
q 1. Technology has irrevocably changed library information services in complicated ways that both help and hinder. Many culturally specific and economically disadvantaged forms of knowledge have been disregarded while information needs of primarily privileged, hegemonic majority of white, English-speaking populations are served through digitization. The number of underserved people needing information services is significant and can be served through what may be considered a more radical form of librarianship that makes efforts to provide multiple points of access to knowledge.

q 2. This question has many different answers depending on the location and population considered. A very general response to needs for many different points of access to information is to hire librarians with a broad skillset and training in outreach services, culturally specific, social forms of creating and disseminating knowledge, as well as restrictive, technology-based forms of information creation and sharing.

Recruiting Future Librarians From Diverse Backgrounds: Model Projects in the United States

Reviewed By: Kate M. Spaulding, Karla Arellano, Generra Singleton

Link to article:

Literature Review
Zhang and Roy include a short literature review in their paper. They begin by citing population data from the 2000 U.S. Census about the ethnic makeup of America. 30% of the U.S. population identifies as belonging to an ethnic/cultural group, and the Census Bureau’s models anticipate that number to be over 50% by 2050; however, the percent of the same populations among librarians is only 11% (Zhang & Roy, 2011). Zhang and Roy list many reasons for this disparity including low starting salaries, lack of role models, lack of diverse faculty in MLIS programs, and a lack of diverse curricula in those same programs.
The authors cite data from 1997, 2004, and 2009 about the populations of LIS graduating students and professionals. In 1997 and 2004, 9% and 10%, respectively, of survey participants identify as belonging to an ethnic/cultural group. By 2009, however, that number rose to nearly 18%, which the authors call “encouraging” (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 75). While drawing attention to the 50% rise in Hispanic graduates from 2004 to 2009, Zhang and Roy (2011) also mention “there was an increase in the number of students of color who received ALA Spectrum scholarships. The number of federal funded LIS programs focusing on diversity recruitment increased as well” (p. 75).
Zhang and Roy go on to point out that articles about diversity recruitment appear in a broad range of LIS publications, which indicates it is a profession-wide concern. Some articles are calls for action, while others suggest recruitment plans or present case studies on gathering data about effective recruitment strategies. “Overall, the writings advocate for recruitment of a diverse student body in LIS programs, provide some strategies of how to accomplish this, and summarize the results of some diversity initiatives” (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 75).

Effective Recruitment Strategies
A number of national programs designed to increase diversity among librarians have been tried in the United States since the late 1990s. The large and well-funded Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program was established in 2002 with the goal of recruiting new LIS professionals. The United States Congress allocated over $195 million between 2003 and 2010 to the program (Zhang & Roy, 2011). The authors note that “while students of color may be found in any LIS program, these initiatives [through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program] are noteworthy for their efforts to increase their numbers and to advance understanding of cultural issues among LIS faculty and all students” (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 76).

Model Programs
Zhang and Roy list a number of programs in the United States that assist in recruiting students with diverse backgrounds into LIS programs.

The Spectrum Scholarship Program
The Spectrum Scholarship Program was launched by The American Library Association (ALA) in 1997. The program recruits and provides $5,000 scholarships to approximately 25-60 students of color yearly who are seeking to pursue a LIS graduate degree. The Spectrum Scholarship continues to be a key instrument in recruiting students with diverse backgrounds into the programs.

Knowledge River at UA-SIRLS
Reflecting on the population of Arizona, The Knowledge River institute at the School of Information Resources and Library Science (SIRLS) at the University of Arizona is a program, founded in 2001, that focuses on the Latino and Native American community. The institution provides financial support to Latino and Native American students as well as members of other diverse communities throughout Arizona. The curriculum at the Knowledge River Institute offers courses that focus on library and information issues from Native American and Latino perspectives. The courses are often led by leaders in diversity (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 77).

Honoring Generations
Honoring Generations is a scholarship supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Honoring Generations is available to American Indian graduate students who are interested pursuing a career in Tribal Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin. The program focuses on service learning, recruitment, professional education, and mentoring (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 77).

Ace Scholars Program
In July of 2008, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) along with partners from ten North Carolina academic libraries received a grant from the IMLS program in order to create the Academic and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) Scholars Program. The program recruits students of color and provides financial support to cover tuition, stipends, and the cost of traveling to conferences. Students are offered internship opportunities and paired with experienced librarians as mentors (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 78).

Circle of Learning
Circle of Learning is a scholarship offered to American Indian and Alaska Native students in the MLIS program at San Jose State University. Circle of Learning is funded by a grant received in 2010 from the IMLS. Circle of Learning covers the expenses for the online graduate program. Students also have the opportunity to network with professional Native librarians and are given opportunities to attend conferences and connect with possible mentors.

Zhang and Roy made a list of nine recommendations focusing on librarian diversity.

1. The first recommendation refers to the IMLS funding. This funding can go further by not just providing grants but also commitment. This commitment must be attained not just from faculty and students but from the administration (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 78).
2. Zhang and Roy suggest that to attract students of color, the recruitment material should be easily understood and widely available. It should be disseminated by many tools: word of mouth, use of a website, reaching out to graduating undergraduates who have worked in libraries in the past, and by making the recruitment materials as jargon-free as possible (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).
3. Another suggestion is to use faculty and students of color to assist in recruitment. Recruiting can take place anywhere. Scholarship recipients can also help in this area by assisting prospective students (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 78).
4. Next, the authors ask that the admissions process have a certain amount of flexibility. This does not mean that to attain diversity criteria should be different, but rather that making the process as transparent as possible and looking broadly at qualifications could lead to successfully working with communities of color (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).
5. The next recommendation asks that the extra demands placed on students of color should be considered. Professors and mentors should help their students complete their studies (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).
6. Zhang and Roy point out that mentors can play a big role in a student’s decision to apply to a graduate program. Sometimes, giving some encouraging words is all it takes. Anyone can be a mentor (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).
7. This recommendation suggests that those that are interested in recruitment should also be interested in retention as well. This does not apply only to graduate programs but to future careers as well. It is pointed out that providing personalized support in the form of resume review services and mock interviews could prove extremely beneficial (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).
8. Those who serve in academic, public, and special libraries can introduce students of color into a LIS program. They are more likely to see these students either at the library or other special events outside of classes (Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).
9. There are many professional organizations within the library community that openly support diversity and provide scholarships to students. A last recommendation for them is to continue their ongoing support, for without these scholarships, these students could not finish their studies and maintain the diverse workforce in the LIS profession(Zhang & Roy, 2011, p. 79).

Zhang, S. L. & Roy, L. (April, 2011). Recruiting future librarians from diverse backgrounds: Model projects in the United States. Journal of Library and Information Science 37(1), 73 – 80. Retrieved from