Monday, November 08, 2004

Blended Librarians?

Suggesting several indicators of the marginalization of the academic library, Steven J. Bell and John Shank suggest it is time for librarians to redefine their role....

Bell, Steven J., and John Shank. "The Blended Librarian: A Blueprint for Redefining the Teaching and Learning Role of Academic Librarians." C&RL News 65, no. 7 (2004): 372-75.

Bell and Shank suggest a "blended librarian" might be an appropriate role. This is one who, as an academic librarian, "combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist's hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer's ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process." (p.374) They argue that librarians often lag in their understanding of pedagogy and instructional design.

Theological librarians frequently struggle to find a role in curriculum development and the instructional process in their institutions. Is it a lack of understanding of pedagogy/instructional design, or is the issue more structural. What should the instructional role of the librarian be? Certainly the librarian is not expected to be the subject specialist that members of the faculty are. (Though often librarians bring subject mastery to their positions.) Should the educational role of librarians be focused on information literacy? Into what models of pedagogy does a librarian fit (not fit)?