In Sometimes a
Shining Moment: The Foxfire Experience
(Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985)
, Eliot Wigginton recalls the point in his first
year of teaching when nothing was going right. He began asking his students to
write about their memorable experiences—positive or negative—they had in
school; Wigginton then did the same. What he found in analyzing the responses
is positive events connected the classroom with the world outside, allowed
students to have an audience beyond the teacher, and gave them independence to
engage in complex intellectual or creative pursuits.
As a teacher, I strive
to provide the library and information science students with whom I work
similar positive learning experiences. For that reason, I try not to confine
learning experiences to the classroom. I see value in students exploring their
communities. I want them to examine institutions and services in new ways. I am
not a fan of textbooks. Instead, I want students to read the “real stuff”—such
as blogs, journal articles, grey literature, trade books—as mush as possible,
so that they are immediately engaged in the conversations taking place in the
professional community. I deplore being the only audience for student work, so
as much as possible I have students create products that are addressed
primarily to outside audiences.Courses at Illinois
LIS506 Youth Services Librarianship
This course provides students with the
theoretical knowledge and practical methods needed by school library
media specialists and public librarians serving young people. The
professional competencies as established by the American Association of
School Librarians, the Association of Library Service to Children, and
the Young Adult Library Services Association are the starting points for
this course. Topics for this class include collection development,
reference, programming, and bibliographic instruction as they apply to
youth services librarians, as well as elements of youth services
librarianship that are particular to this field. In addition to this
survey, LIS 506 offers students opportunities to explore historical and
cultural understandings of children and childhood in order to see how
youth services librarians fit into (and have the potential to change)
This course is designed around the following central questions:
- In what ways do the historical conceptions of youth services
librarianship and childhood/adolescence affect the profession's work
- How can librarians best meet the educational, informational, developmental, and/or recreational needs of young people?
- What important and relevant issues and trends affect the intersection of libraries, librarians, young people, and media?
Students in this course are expected to read widely and
critically, write thoughtfully, and participate regularly in online
sessions in order to demonstrate
- an understanding of the historical and theoretical foundations of youth services librarianship;
- specific knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for effective school and public youth services librarianship;
- familiarity with quality professional materials relevant to youth services librarians.
You can view a collaborative wiki developed by students in this class here.
LIS590ML Media Literacy and Youth (Now LIS515 Media Literacy and Youth)
This course provides students with both
theoretical knowledge and practical methods which can be used by youth
services librarians and other professionals working with young people
and media. Media literacy builds on traditional definition of literacy
that emphasize reading and writing, that is the consumption and
production of printed texts. Instead of focusing exclusively on printed
texts, however, media literacy explores the consumption and production
of diverse methods of communication such as images, games, and music.
For much of its history, media literacy has emphasized people's
consumption of mass media including newspapers, television, and film. In
recent years, media literacy researchers and teachers have increasingly
emphasized the production of media as well as newer forms of social and
participative media such as wikis and vodcasts. This course builds on
the premise that young people are competent, capable, and creative
individuals. As such, the emphasis for the course is on how adults can
support young people's participation in media culture, rather than on
how we might protect them from it.
Topics for this course may
include the role of gender, culture, ethnicity, and race in media
consumption and production, media literacy as a catalyst for social
change, and ethics and fair use issues related to media education. In
addition, this course will address practical strategies for teaching
media literacy concepts in K-12, library, and community contexts,
particularly in the United States. Finally, it will provide
opportunities for critical inquiry and reflection into all forms of
This course is designed around the following central questions:
- How do young people in the United States engage with mainstream and new media?
- How can librarians best support young people's engagement with media as well as help them become more critical participants?
- What important and relevant issues and trends affect the intersection of libraries, young people, and media?
LIS590CR Comics: Advising Child and Adult Readers
Comics—in forms including comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, web comics, and manga—represent an increasingly important cultural medium, which appeals to persons of all ages and is collected by many school, public, and academic libraries. This course introduces students to the comics medium, its history and cultural influences. More important this course offers students the opportunity to read a variety of comics and introduces them to materials and techniques key to providing reader’s advisory in this medium. Although this course focuses on American comics, some readings and discussions will touch on this medium’s international dimensions.
Students in this course are expected to read widely and critically, write thoughtfully, and participate regularly in online sessions in order to demonstrate
- an understanding of the historical foundations, key genres, prominent creators, and important titles of the comics medium;
- specific knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for effective reader's advisory with comics; and
- familiarity with quality professional materials relevant to reader's advisory and collection development with comics.
LIS590CL Comics in Libraries
A pragmatically-focused class, LIS590CL Comics in Libraries examines the particular challenges comics pose as library resources across a variety of library settings and audiences. Topics include collection management, discovery and access, description and representation, preservation, readers' services, and intellectual freedom as they pertain to comics in forms including comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, and manga.
The central questions guiding this course are
- In what ways has the relationship among libraries, librarians, and comics changed over time?
- How do different types of libraries (e.g. school, public, academic) and archives approach the collection, description, and promotion of comics in various forms?
- What are important resources, concepts, and skills for librarians working with comics in various forms?
Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) Level
- Minjie Chen, thesis work on portrayals of Sino-Japanese War in literature for young people (committee member, PhD awarded 2011)
- Yeo-Joo Lim, thesis work on educational graphic novels in South Korea (committee member, PhD awarded 2012)
- Loretta Gaffney, thesis work on intellectual freedom, young people, and the Religious Right (committee member, PhD awarded 2012)
- April Spisak, thesis work on celebrity-written picture books for children (committee member, proposal defended)
- Julie Frye, thesis work at Indiana University on school librarians and professional enculturation (committee member, proposal defended)
- Yang Luo, research interest is the development of youth services librarianship in China (advisor, field exam completed)
- Karla Lucht, research interest is Hapa literature for young people (advisor, field exam completed)
- Brittany Smith, research interest is informal learning in online computing communities (committee member, field exam completed)
- Committee member and research director on several CAS projects related to school librarianship, information literacy, reading promotion, international children's literature, and bibliotherapy. Recent projects include
- Kamilla Kovacs, thesis work on media literacy education (Department of Speech Communication)(committee member, completed)
- Instructor of record for independent study courses on topics including information inquiry, podcasting, urban teen librarianship, gender / race in young people's screen media, comics in curriculum materials collections, and boys, reading, & video games.