Friday Quote

To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.

-Patti Smith


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Filed under On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, Quotes

Education Training for Instruction Librarians

A short article by Dani and myself on “Education Training for Instruction Librarians: A Shared Perspective” was published in the latest issue of Communications in Information Literacy. Here’s the abstract:

This article provides an overview of recent literature illustrating a troubling disconnect between (a) the importance of teaching and information literacy instruction for the future of libraries and (b) the apparent lack of education training many librarians receive during library school. We argue that it is essential for the future success of academic libraries that library schools pay greater attention to instructional pedagogy for training library leaders of the future. We then outline several practical strategies drawn from our own experience that library school students and currently practicing professionals can adopt to expand their understanding of instructional pedagogy as a way to improve their practice as teaching librarians.
The piece touches on many issues we think are important for the profession (and also one of the reasons we started this blog). We hope you read the full piece here: (CIL is open access so no log-in required)!

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Filed under Bibliographic Instruction is Dead, Education, Library Instruction, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, The Library Game

Friday Quote

Dissatisfaction with the current conventions of a field may be a key path to revolutionary change.

-Scott Barry Kaufman

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Filed under Bibliographic Instruction is Dead, Education, Library Instruction, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, Quotes

DIY Reference Desk: Should We Have Patrons Navigate the Searching Themselves?

I had a really enjoyable conversation the other day with someone from our Technology and Learning program while I was getting some help creating a survey. We were talking a bit about how the TLP’s approach to instruction with faculty (their primary demographic) was to try to teach to fish, rather than do it for them. One thing this might mean, we discussed, was having the faculty member actually work the computer herself. For example, if one were creating some learning module in Blackboard, the tech expert would walk the faculty member through it, not by demonstrating it themselves and having the faculty member watch and listen, but by having the mouse and computer operated by the faculty member, with the tech expert giving verbal instructions about what to do.

We were having this discussion within the context of autonomy supportive pedagogy – with facilitating learning rather than dictating it – and it occurred to me that this method was obviously correct. I always tell students, for example, to follow along with some of the pointing and clicking if I’m doing an instruction session, because it will help them remember. But here’s what was really interesting to me: based on my observations of reference desks at several different universities, I’ve literally never seen a librarian, when asked by a student, e.g., how to find an article, say “Okay, well first go to the library homepage,” and then sit there and wait till the student navigates to the library homepage his or her self. But it sort of struck me that this, at least in most cases, is obviously what we should be doing.  Sure, most librarians turn the screen toward the patron so they can see what’s happening. And our reference desk even has a second keyboard and mouse. But instead of having a patron watch us point and click while we explain the process, it should be vice versa: we should be having the patron point and click while verbally walking them through the process.

Interestingly, I said to TLP guy I was talking to that I”m pretty sure other librarians might think I was nuts if I started to do this. But maybe that’s not fair, and maybe it’s a much more common practice than I know.

What do other librarians think of this? Have you ever just said, “Here’s the keyboard” and told a patron how to navigate? Super curious to hear people’s thoughts!


Filed under Bibliographic Instruction is Dead, Education, Library Instruction, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel

On Resiliance, Grit, and the Importance of Passion in Learning

Indeed, what enables children to be labeled gifted may turn out to be the limiting factor in their lives. Joshua Waitzkin, once a child chess whiz, is captivated by the learning process. In his 20s, he began the study of Tai Chi and, despite his late athletic start, has become an international champion. Waitzkin sees huge disadvantages to being labeled a child prodigy. “If you buy into the label,” he says, “the greatest danger, in the language of psychologist Carol Dweck, is that we internalize an entity theory of intelligence. The moment we believe success is determined by an ingrained level of ability, as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity. If you tell a kid that she’s a winner, which a lot of parents do, then she believes that her winning is because of something ingrained in her. If she wins because she is a winner, then losing makes her a loser.”


Passion burns so brightly, it’s clear when one has it. As Chris Gardner puts it, “Passion is the thing that won’t let you sleep at night because you want to get up in the morning and go do your thing.” By itself it can fuel greatness. “If you’re passionate about something, you can develop the abilities,” says Gardner. “It can’t be taught, it can’t be bought. You can’t go to Yale and say you want to major in passion. You have to bring it with you.”

According to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth, passion is a component, along with perseverance, of what she calls grit. It particularly enables people to reach for goals that may be a long time in coming, she discovered in interviews with achievers in fields from investment banking to painting. Her studies show that grit and self-discipline predict educational attainment just as well as, if not better than, IQ.


At any given time, it’s impossible to predict the extent to which a person will eventually blossom—and disastrously naive for “experts” (or parents or teachers) to decree limits on what that person can achieve. This is reason enough to treat everyone as if they have the potential to reach full bloom.

from Scott Barry Kaufman, “Confessions of a Late Bloomer

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Librarians … the Innately Curious

Just saw this great quote via Becky Hodson:

In order to be really good as a librarian, everything counts towards your work, every play you go see, every concert you hear, every trip you take, everything you read, everything you know. I don’t know of another occupation like that. The more you know, the better you’re going to be.

-Allen Smith

Interesting, there was no mention of resources.

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Filed under Bibliographic Instruction is Dead, Education, Library Instruction, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, Quotes

Readers are the Best People (and Lovers), Science Says

There’s been a lot of studies recently talking about how “deep reading” of good literature has many benefits in terms of emotional intelligence. An recent article, “Why Readers, Scientifically, Are the Best People to Fall in Love With” outlines some of this work:

According to both 2006 and 2009 studies published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and “theory of mind,” which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own.

They can entertain other ideas, without rejecting them and still retain their own. While this is supposed to be an innate trait in all humans, it requires varying levels of social experiences to bring into fruition and probably the reason your last partner was such a narcissist.

Did you ever see your ex with a book? Did you ever talk about books? If you didn’t, maybe you should think about changing your type.

It’s no surprise that readers are better people. Having experienced someone else’s life through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what it’s like to leave their bodies and see the world through other frames of reference.

Since relationships require understanding another’s perspective and recognizing their existence independent from your own, people who read good books – the one’s that get us to feel what it’s like to be another person – have, through reading, learned, in effect, to be better partners.

According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd, at the New School for Social Research, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.”

This is proved over and over again, the more people take to reading. Their ability to connect with characters they haven’t met makes their understanding of the people around them much easier.

They have the capacity for empathy. They may not always agree with you, but they will try to see things from your point of view.

Do y0ur partner a favor and read a good book!

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Filed under Education, On Being Human, Posts by Kevin Michael Klipfel, Reading & Literacy