rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 4: p. 376
Sources: Becoming Confident Teachers: A Guide for Academic Librarians
Karen Antell, Meagan Lacy

Assistant Librarian, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana

Recognizing that most academic librarians receive virtually no pre-professional training on how to teach information literacy, McGuinness aims to provide the context, knowledge, and tools necessary to orient new academic librarians, or academic librarians new to teaching, to this ever-evolving and increasingly central role. Each of the book's six chapters familiarizes readers with the teaching librarian's various duties and provides guidance, suggestions, and strategies for how to approach them. The overarching message is that confidence is built by carefully examining one's own teacher identity, and practice improves by internalizing this reflective habit. Examples, scenarios, and exercises woven throughout each chapter stimulate the imagination, helping the reader become more aware of her teacher identity and more intentional in honing it.

McGuinness rightly observes that “there is no model, no prototype, of a typical teaching librarian to guide us” (8) and is aware that most teaching librarians lack not only teaching expertise but also role models. In other words, one reason that instruction is bewildering to so many librarians is that they lack a frame of reference, a point of comparison; they have no way of conceptualizing a lesson plan, writing a learning outcome, or assessing their success or failure in the classroom because they have never, or rarely, seen information literacy instruction in action. Becoming Confident Teachers helps to fill in this gap. By providing a framework for thinking about and approaching instruction, McGuinness offers the committed teaching librarian a means of assessing herself and ways to help her realize and address her own strengths and weaknesses so that she can rely less on external feedback and instead build confidence from within.

The book's discussions will thus be germane to new academic librarians and library school students who are interested in academic librarianship—that is, to anyone unclear about the role of a teaching librarian. Indeed, this book would perfectly complement library and information science courses focused on either library instruction or academic library services. The strength of this book lies not in the newness of the material—a great deal has already been written about theories of teaching and classroom assessment strategies. Rather, McGuinness's essential contribution lies in the fact that this book is so well tailored to its audience of academic librarians. McGuinness is mindful of their unique instruction challenges and personality traits, and she does an admirable job of addressing these problems and concerns.—seca

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