Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

Call for Chapters: Teaching Students How to Think About Information by TTW Contributor Troy Swanson

Call for Chapters: Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think About Information


  • Heather Jagman, Coordinator of Library Instruction, DePaul University,
  • Troy Swanson, Department Chair of Library Services, Moraine Valley Community College,

Publisher: Association of College and Research Libraries

The editors are seeking chapters written by librarians or faculty members focusing on theoretical approaches, projects, assessments, instructional sessions, or curricula that teach students how to think about information. This book will focus on pedagogies that challenge students to dive deeper into authority, connect to prior knowledge, and construct knowledge in a world of information abundance. This book will also include chapters that bridge the gap between the epistemological stances and threshold concepts held by librarians and that of students.

How do librarians and faculty members move college students beyond the simple mechanics of online catalogs, search engines, and subscription databases? How do we encourage students to recognize the difference in information sources themselves? How do we motivate students to explore their own beliefs and work with sources that conflict with their beliefs?

We are seeking chapters that may include:

Part 1 Bridging the Gap Between Librarians, Students and Faculty: Conceptualizing Information

  • 1.1 Librarian Epistemologies and Beliefs: How do librarians think about information and the nature of knowledge? How does this approach to knowledge impact how librarians approach the classroom and learning?
  • 1.2 Student Epistemologies and Beliefs: What assumptions do students bring to the classroom about how information and knowledge are constructed? How do these assumptions impact information literacy and their interactions with libraries and librarians?
  • 1.3 Faculty Epistemologies and Beliefs: How do faculty assumptions about knowledge impact their interactions with librarians and students? How do discipline-specific epistemologies shape faculty approaches to learning, students, and information literacy?

Part 2 Making it Work: Teaching Students About Information

  • 2.1 The Nature of Expertise, Authority and Credibility: How do we teach students to understand and value authority and expertise? What assumptions and power structures are hidden in this understanding? In what ways do we teach students to utilize authority and build their own authority as scholars?
  • 2.2 Point of View and Source Bias: In what ways do we teach students to deal with explicit and hidden biases in sources? How do we encourage students to deal with and recognize their own biases?
  • 2.3 Cognitive Biases and Belief: How do we work with students to address confirmation bias, selection bias, and hindsight bias? How do we connect information literacy to personal belief?
  • 2.4 Data, Measurement and Interpreting the world: How do we teach students to deal with data, facts and measurements? How do we teach students to interpret empirical research? How do we encourage students to compare their beliefs about how the world works with actual measurements?
  • 2.5 Journalism & Witnessing the World: How do we teach students about the role of journalism? How do encourage students to interpret and value the journalistic enterprise?

Original research that directly reports student views and/or results from studies with students will be given preference.

Proposal Details:

  • Draft Title
  • Author Info
  • 300-500 Word Abstract and Brief Outline
  • Please also include a writing sample of some form

Please submit chapter proposals and writing samples to both Editors at by June 15, 2013.

#TTW10 : The Feel-Good Librarian ~ You Can Do Magic

From Michael: Thanks FGL for contributing this guest post! I can’t believe how many years it’s been since I interviewed you for LJ:


Hi, friends – Feel-good Librarian here, with biggest, shiniest congratulations to Michael and the whole Tame the Web community! Ten super years of information sharing and general quality assurance in the library world. Awesome!

TTW has covered so many topics, but the ones that appeal most to me have been about keeping the heart in technology. Most of my interactions are still in person, but many occur through technology: email, internet, IM and texting, as well as the telephone. I’ve experienced feel-goodness at both ends of the spectrum recently.

I still teach internet skills for our homeless shelter. A patron that I taught in the seminar a few sessions ago stopped me in the lobby recently. She said, “You teach the computer seminars!”

I agreed, and she told me the following: “I learned how to do stuff on the computer here so I could fill out applications. I’d never heard of that. I went over to Taco Bell and they said I had to apply on the computer, they didn’t even have paper ones anymore. If it hadn’t been for the library teaching me how to do computers, and the shelter teaching me how to live, I’d still be in the gutter.”


On the other hand, I told a friend at church that the library has online databases she can access from her home computer with her library card number, covering lots of topics. I emailed her the link. She texted me later, after she followed the link and delightedly explored our list.

Friend: There is a whole database for home maintenance! I found gas furnace tune-up instructions for [husband]. And I found the hobbies database!!!!!

FGL: You are the perfect patron! You actually follow directions, use the resources, and then to be so excited about them!

Friend: And YOU are the fairy princess librarian with the magic wand that opens the door to the “Room of All Knowledge.”

Feel-good to fairy princess, folks. Sometimes it may not feel that way to you, since you know the ins and outs of your everyday library processes, but please don’t forget that when it works, YOU can do magic in someone’s life.

Ten great years of technology – and heart. Thanks for the magic, Michael!



#TTW10 “Tamer” Graphic by Theresa Papaurelis, Graphic Artist at Indian Prairie Public Library. (

Announcing PREFAB – Library Website Service

prefabAre you struggling with an unfriendly or dated library Website? Not have the staff or big budget to do a lengthy overhaul? Look no further than PREFAB. Do not miss this incredible offering from Aaron Schmidt and Amanada Etches, aka INFLUX:


Prefab is a ready-to-launch website designed for libraries.

Based on years of library user research, our template gives you everything you need to create a fantastic library website.

With Prefab, you won’t even need to worry about hosting.

We’ve designed an amazing library website so you don’t have to.

THIS IS PREFAB and it is really great
Your Prefab site will look great at any size: mobile, tablet, or desktop.


Six color options
Easily integrate your contact, location, and ILS details
Use your library logo
Upload your own CSS

Take a look at the demo:

Take a look at the links above for the demo and more information. I am very impressed with this service offered by folks who truly understand libraries and user research. AND they get usability and UX design like no others. Other features include: Hosting, Domain setup help, Backend training, Events calendar, Logo & identity development, Custom color palette and IA & content work.

Note from Michael: TTW is not a clearinghouse for vendor ads and will never have ads or any sort of monetization. I wholeheartedly believe in the work of INFLUX and also recognize a service such as this can fill a need of many libraries.

Doctorow Brilliance

“Look, we’ve got more computer junk than we know what to do with and a generation of kids whose “information literacy” extends to learning PowerPoint and being lectured about plagiarizing from Wikipedia and putting too much information on Facebook. The invisible, crucial infrastructure of our century is treated as the province of wizards and industrialists, and hermetically sealed, with no user-serviceable parts inside.

Damn right libraries shouldn’t be book-lined Internet cafes. They should be book-lined, computer-filled information-dojos where communities come together to teach each other black-belt information literacy, where initiates work alongside noviates to show them how to master the tools of the networked age from the bare metal up.”

I have grown tired of so many discussions about information literacy always winding up at “we can show them where the best information can be found…”

How about Joy?

This quote from Seth Godin, shared on the super cool R-Squared Risk takers group on Facebook by Jodi Grifasi Brown is golden:

“Traditional corporations, particularly large-scale service and manufacturing businesses are organized for efficiency. Or consistency. But not joy. Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and transparency and new…If you fear special requests, if you staff with cogs, if you have to put it all in a manual, then the chances of amazing someone are really quite low. These organizations have people who will try to patch problems over after the fact, instead of motivated people eager to delight on the spot.
The alternative, it seems, is to organize for joy. These are the companies that give their people the freedom (and the expectation) that they will create, connect and surprise. These are the organizations that embrace someone who make a difference, as opposed to searching the employee handbook for a rule that was violated.”
~ Seth Godin from Poke the Box

(bolding is mine)

News: Book publisher to drop lawsuit against McMaster librarian (Updated)

The filing claimed that McMaster is liable for allowing Askey “to continue the publications” and for refusing to force him to take the posting down.

The lawsuits inspired scholars from around North America to rally behind Askey. Created by Martha Reineke, a professor of religion at the University of Northern Iowa, a petition demanding EMP to drop its lawsuits had garnered more than 3,100 names as of Monday morning.

EMP told CBC Hamilton on Monday that it “has discontinued the court case against McMaster University and Dale Askey.”

In a statement, the company added: “financial pressure of the social media campaign and press on authors is severe. EMP is a small company. Therefore [it] must choose to focus its resources on its business and serving its authors.”

Hooray! There’s something about that last line that irks me though….

WOAH – Dale just tweeted that only one of the suits is dropped. The other is still active. Stay tuned!

Heading to Tennessee! TTW Congratulates Justin Hoenke on New Position at Chattanooga PL


I have been so impressed with Justin Hoenke’s work over the past few years and his outstanding contributions to Tame the Web. His work has risen above and I am so excited he is making this move!

In Justin’s work as Teen Librarian, he has delivered excellent, user-focused service, innovative programming, and opportunities for learning and growth for his constituents. I am sure will thrive at such an innovative library as Chattanooga and the opportunities for innovation and outreach will only grow exponentially!  Justin has been the driving force behind his library directly engaging with the teen community in Portland. I can’t wait to see what he does in Tennessee. Also: he shares his ideas and learning with the broader LIS community in a positive and encouraging way. He tries to share consciously – and does so effectively. His writing extensively about video games in libraries ( lead to invitations to speak and share at national conferences and at a conference in Germany.

I admire his relentless innovation in service to teens and his generosity of spirit in sharing the process with librarians all over the world through social media.

Here are some of my favorite posts from Justin:

Create, Play & Read – Lending Devices to Teens

Make Music at the Library

Congrats Justin! “All I ever wanted was to know that you were dreaming….”



Justin writes:

Today I am happy to announce that I have accepted a position at the Chattanooga Public Library in Chattanooga, TN.

Words cannot begin to describe how very excited I am for this opportunity.  Chattanooga Public Library Director Corrine Hill is putting together a simply amazing team and I am so honored to be part of it.  Whether it be through their awesome ideas, programs, partnerships, and more , the Chattanooga Public Library is a place where awesome things are happening.

I cannot wait to join the community.

To close, I’ll turn it over to Corrine.  This is what it’s all about:
I want to see the Chattanooga Public Library completely re-define what a public library can do for its community. I want the public library to be the cultural hub of the city, but I also want it to be a place where the community can build content, not just consume content.

Corrine, Nate, and everyone else in Chattanooga….see you soon!
Let’s do awesome stuff!

For more information on the Chattanooga Public Library:

Chattanooga Public Library Homepage

The 4th Floor

Public Library begins new path for technology and digital initiatives

Up Close: Bright Lights, Gig City in Chattanooga

TLN Interview with Corinne Hill

Chattanooga Only Weeks Away From One Gigabit Per Second