Informed Transition Overload

In late January, I found out about a book that would be coming out in early February called Informed Transitions: Libraries Supporting the High School to College Transition because one of the members of the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Transitions-to-College Committee had co-authored an chapter to be included and we were discussing it on our conference call.  This is the book I’ve been waiting to read for the last two years. You know all of those times we’ve sat around the conference table thinking, “Really? Is there nobody else talking about this stuff or thinking about how to partner with high school librarians, other local librarians, or graduate students for a teach-the-teacher model?”  Well. There were. And many of them have written chapters in this book.

This book has also been especially helpful as I try to come up with a curriculum for our Information Literacy Summit happening in just under a month.

I’ve read almost the entire book, but there are a few chapters in particular that align well with what we currently do as well as ideas we’ve had for the future. I also wanted to capture some of the resources that are mentioned in the book that have probably been pushed out via the ILI-listserv as various points in time, but that could be potentially helpful to evaluate again.

I would actually encourage everyone, at some point, to read the first chapter authored by the book’s editor, Ken Burhanna. Entitled, “The Transition Movement: From Blueprint to Construction Zone” it details the history of outreach and/or collaboration of high school and academic librarians in supporting their students.  In 2000, ACRL and AASL (the American Association of School Librarians) co-authored a Blueprint for Collaboration that was essentially a call-to-action for academic and school librarians to work together to better facilitate the integration of information literacy into the curriculum. Their recommendations lay the blueprint for a grant vision of information literacy world domination. As we know, it didn’t exactly come to fruition in this way.

What is igniting an new national interest in high school – academic library partnerships is the adoption of the Common Core Standards by 41 states (and Puerto Rico!) Of course, Texas is not one of them.  AASL has written cross-walks between Common Core and their Standards for the 21st Century Learner. These standards updated the previous ones by addressing multiple literacies and holistic view of learning – not just in the classroom but personal as well.  One of the major points that Ken Burhanna addresses in this introduction is the need for the ACRL Information Literacy Standards to be updated to address these multiple literacies — something that has been addressed over the past few years by research on transliteracy.  In addition, the ACRL IL Competency Review Task Force recommends that the standards be reviewed and extensively updated in the near future to, among other things, provide continuity is the AASL 21st Century Standards.

Among other things the book also describes other ways the academic and high school librarians are working together to bridge this gap, which include:  collaborative dialogues, professions development, preservice teacher education (in a way, what we do with Rhetoric) instructional experience.

Different chapters also details ways in which some HS students are receiving instructional content from an academic seating: HS students visit the college library; HS are participating in pre-college programs (upwards bound, etc), dual credit programs (enrolled in college level courses during HS)

One of the most interesting chapters, “Information Literacy & 21st Century Skills: Training the Teachers” I read came from a program in Minnesota, where they developed Metronet Information Literacy Initiative  for teachers & library media specialists. The goal of MILI is to provide support for teaching information literacy & 21st Century Skills. Metronet is a multi-county library system and it provides training and support for their participants. The program is very small program with just two  full time employees.

The trainers (the library media specialists) focus on  teaching the research process, rather than specific tools. So they teach the 3 R’s → Research, Reliable Resources, Responsible Use. As it’s note, “for the program to be the most effective, teacher participants must have a research project in their curriculum.”

Their mission and visions are very well-organized plan with the responsibilities, outcomes, and goals of the program all laid out (pgs 125-126). One of the materials that they developed to help the teachers to become more critical of their assignments was the ART Evaluation of Assignments. It asks teachers to view their assignment in the context of information literacy. The teachers are then asked to use the Research Project Calculator help teachers work backwards and scaffold the assignment over time. A full overview of the program and the materials that are used to to it are available at

So, just a few questions to spark discussion:

  • Should we be focusing on integrating transliteracy since it’s seems like it’s the natural progression from the AASL 21st Century Learner Standards? Are we already doing this?
  • Is the Rhetoric program a natural partner for continuing to teach the teachers about integrating information literacy (or transliteracy) skills?
  • How do we use the opportunities of outreach to high school librarians to address furthering a scaffold of AASL to ACRL standards?
  •  Are the ACRL IL Standards outdated?

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