In some ways, it’s probably overkill to have subject librarians teaching loyally for the first year seminars in their subjects. I know there were several courses I taught for last term, first year seminars in my departments, that any of my colleagues could have taught for as well or better than I did. And yet, if that happened regularly, when would I ever get to teach classes after saying flat out, “You don’t need to have them do research in order to fulfill the information literacy requirement for the class” to faculty who couldn’t work a research component into their courses?
And so a few times last term I found myself coming up with ways to integrate information literacy into courses that had no real research component. And it was fun.
I wonder if I’d have the guts to suggest such a session in a physics course, where I know much less about how knowledge is created and how scholars ask questions and what counts as evidence. I wonder if I’d be able to build up the kind of knowledge that would allow me to suggest this to a physics course if I were more of a generalist in my teaching. Maybe I could if I were a lot better at that kind of thinking than I am, but for me being a subject librarian paid off big time with these non-research-based first year seminars. Talk about unforeseen outcomes.
Of course, I’m still wondering if that was the responsible course of action. But it was fun, and it didn’t seem to do actual harm, and it got people thinking about information literacy in more nuanced ways. So maybe I don’t have to hand in my librarian credentials just yet?