I’m quite pleased that my article on “Authenticity and Learning: Implications for Reference Librarianship and Information Literacy Instruction” was published today in College & Research Libraries.
Here’s the abstract:
This article articulates and defends a student-centered approach to reference and instructional librarianship defined by authentic engagement with students’ interests. A review of the history of the construct of authenticity in philosophy, humanistic and existential psychology, and contemporary educational psychology is traced. Connections are drawn between the philosophy of authentic engagement and the tradition in librarianship of “Counselor Librarianship.” Recommendations for applications to the library context are then outlined.
Understanding a client’s inner world to facilitate the patient’s autonomy and authentic mode of life defines the task of the humanistic and existential psychotherapist. Similarly, for student-centered academic librarians, facilitating significant learning through authentic engagement with students will be central to reference and instruction. The counselor librarian aims to authentically engage with one’s students, in the sense that an ideal informational transaction will be one in which the librarian and student meet as human beings. This requires the librarian to not only have knowledge of educational resources but to be a certain type of person, one who has a genuine desire to understand the inner world of another person. In doing so, the librarian assists students in the process of developing research questions that matter to them, using their informational skills to help students find information they care about. Thus, while the counselor librarian is fundamentally an information professional, he or she is also, in a very real sense, an existential counselor as well.