The Next Phase of my Work

Best photo of me speaking/teaching that I could find. Photo courtesy of UNCG LISAA.

I’ve had this blog for a while. I started it while I was in library school as a Microtext Assistant, when I closed down my political blog knowing that might not be the best online reputation to have as I entered the job market.

That now feels like so long ago. The job I had doesn’t even exist at my library anymore! I kept this blog, but slightly changed focus when I became the Instructional Design Librarian at my place of work. That job was awesome for so many reasons, but particularly for someone just out of library school. It was an awesome blend of technology and instruction, of inward library-facing work and outward faculty-facing work, and it allowed me to fill a gap and explore a new area of service and collaboration that hadn’t been explored at my institution in that way before.

In that position I did a number of things that I’m really proud of, most notably (for me) including the creation and development of the PRIMO recognized Toolkit with the Web Services Librarian, the development of Teaching Teaching with the (then) Information Literacy Librarian, and participation in the University’s SPITI Committee. (It’s a funny name, but an awesome committee, click through to see what we did!)

A large part of my work for the four years I was in that postion included advocating for the importance of Instructional Design as a service for faculty and a discipline in its own right. I worked with faculty to start people thinking about what a real Instructional Designer could do for them and tried to raise awareness of the discipline within the larger university wherever I could. I did this knowing that particularly at my own institution, Instructional Design would find its permanent home outside of libraries and that I am a librarian first and would not continue with that work once it left my field. I was able to do this outward facing work as part of my librarian job (in addition to all my librarian duties) and thought of it as a changing-information-environment type of advocacy that made sense from my librarian position. It also allowed me to build expertise in Instructional Design that I could then offer internally for our own instruction librarians.

Recently, we’ve seen some very good changes at my institution. The Teaching and Learning Center hired an Instructional Developer who is doing the type of work I was doing full-time. The library has had a small re-org (org-shift?). And in that I shifted responsibilities, too.

I am now the Head of Instruction for the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University. This moves me out of our technology team that is becoming more focused on coding and systems (and we do really, really cool work there. We have an opening for the Director of that team and I would love to talk to anyone who would be interested in applying!) I’m now on the reference side again, as I was when I was first in the Instructional Design position. Wonder what that means for my work in LITA? I’m still going to be paying a lot of attention to technology, just with more of an eye for instruction, online learning, effective webinar work, and other related technologies.

In this new position I’m going to be focusing on building and extending our LIB100 and 200 level courses in a variety of ways as well as working programmatically on our library instruction sessions and other teaching endeavors.

I’m now supervising more people than I was, and I’m working more directly with all of our teaching librarians. Following in Meredith Farkas’ footsteps, I’m starting with a survey of anyone who touches on our instruction program. I’ve re-instituted Teaching Teaching and have hosted a few teaching related meetings. We’re working on Learning Outcomes for our credit based research classes now and will be looking into assessment in the near future. I’m also working with our Web Services librarian on the instruction portion of our website. (Big useful changes coming soon, I hope!) It’s all very exciting!

So, this blog is about to shift again, with my work…though the tagline is still pretty accurate. I’m still fundamentally interested in the future of libraries, and I see instruction as one of the pillars of that future. I’ll probably talk a lot more specifically about instruction initiatives in this space. As I do more research on the state of library instruction, I’ll probably put notes here. I plan to do a lot of reading, conference session attending, and web scouting in the coming year, and I’ll need a place to put it all. :)

I’m also interested in learning more about the intersection of the library and the larger teaching mission of the University. Up until now, I had a scope that was defined for me that I taught within. I’m now going to focus on learning more about the larger instruction picture to figure out how best the library can plug into that. Our lib100 program is a big part of that, but I feel I still have a lot to learn.

So that’s what I’m up to. Hope all is going well with you as you kick off the fall season, too.

9 thoughts on “The Next Phase of my Work

  1. Congrats, Lauren! I look forward to following your work in this new position!

    Now I’m off to reference class! The reference librarian’s role certainly has changed over the years, hasn’t it?!

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