Faculty-librarian relationships in the information literacy context: A content analysis of librarians' expressed attitudes and opinions.

Heidi Julien, Lisa M. Given

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Cyberspace offers a glimpse of librarians' unscripted ideas on how best to work with faculty in designing and implementing information literacy opportunities. Information literacy listservs, in particular, provide librarians opportunities to discuss teaching styles, technology, classroom management, and other topics, in the context of their relationships with teaching faculty. Common points of discussion include positive working interactions, complaints about faculty attitudes, or frustrations with faculty members' course assignments-and all have implications for the success of information literacy programs. By examining librarians' expressed attitudes and experiences, librarians, library students and LIS faculty may gain an understanding of those issues that facilitate (or hinder) positive working relationships, and offer potential solutions to individuals engaged in information literacy education. This paper investigates the discourse of librarians discussing their relationships with teaching faculty in postings to the Bibliographic Instruction / Information Literacy Instruction Listserv (BI-LIILI-L) over the past seven years. The authors' unique standpoint as both trained librarians and full-time library school faculty, informs the analysis by balancing an empathetic perspective of librarians' expressed views, with an "insider" look at the lived-experience of teaching faculty. By isolating postings that reflect librarian-faculty relationships, the paper explores: a) the ways that librarians frame their relationships with faculty; and b) librarians' perceptions of faculty members' attitudes towards librarians, information literacy and pedagogy. These themes are examined in light of Social Positioning Theory,in order to explore the impact of librarians' social constructions of themselves and teaching faculty on information literacy instruction. The paper concludes with suggestions that may ameliorate the felt gap between librarians and faculty, in order to benefit those individuals both groups must reach-students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-87
Number of pages23
JournalCanadian Journal of Information and Library Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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