The changing world of academic libraries: Competencies for online instruction

Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Brief Abstract

Librarians do more than just buy books. They are teachers! The COVID-19 pandemic changed the teaching world permanently requiring libary instruction to move into online spaces. This presentation describes a competency-based needs assessment to develop 24 competencies needed to meet the challenges of teaching online in a changed world.

Extended Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted academic libraries just as it did in most corners of higher education. The instruction method most librarians use is face-to-face instruction. And, it became very clear in the first month of university closures that librarians were not prepared to teach online whether it was synchronous or asynchronous. Most of the instruction that was done fell safely into the category of emergency remote learning without much understanding of the complexities of designing and delivering instruction in this environment. 

This session describes a competency-based needs assessment used to identify competencies academic librarians need to be successful in providing online library instruction. Research presented will describe the semi-structured interviews done with experts as well as the process of coding and codeweaving to distill competencies gathered over 18 interviews. Discover the 24 competencies expert instruction librarians identified as the most important skills for academic librarians to have as they consider a changed world of an increasingly online learning dominated education environment. 

The expert interviewees also identified potential barriers that may make it difficult for academic librarians to become proficient in all competencies presented. Many of these barriers could be shared across the higher education landscape. To that end, participants will be invited to share barriers they have encountered in their changed worlds to build a word cloud. While these barriers will not be overcome in this session, this continued dialogue is crucial to working to overcome knowledge, skill, and attitude gaps in higher education to expand access to quality online learning opportunities for our students.