Vicky Grant, Head of Library Learning Services at the University of Sheffield.
Last week I had the privilege to speak at the CONUL Teaching and Learning Seminar 2018, an excellent event which brought librarians from all over Ireland together to learn about new initiatives in information literacy teaching. I’d decided to end my talk, not with the traditional question and answer approach, but with an invitation to enter into dialogue over a provocation I’d been musing over for some time: “Teaching and Learning Librarians in the future will discard teaching knowledge discovery in favour of enabling knowledge creation”. The room was soon a hub of lively debate as we discussed the pressures of student assessment and the need for our offer to be contextualised within the student programme, notions of inquiry based learning and students as researchers and the call to discard binaries, information and digital literacy encompasses the whole landscape, not an either, or approach of discovery / creation. Later in the day Alan Carbery took a stance on the provocation, indicating his support for students as creators, in his excellent talk on leveraging collaboration in the teaching and learning landscape . How do librarians respect knowledge creation as a valuable and transformative learning experience independent of what is communicated and disseminated whilst also ensuring that our work as knowledge curators challenges knowledge hierarchies and the historical tendency to privilege particular types of knowledge in academic libraries? Like all good transformative learning experiences, I came away provoked and full of further questions. If “unlikely voices can be authoritative” (ACRL) how can we influence our work in knowledge discovery so that it is inclusive of such unlikely voices? How are unlikely voices curated? Can librarians act as positive disruptors and create more inclusivity in this space and more importantly, do we want to? Why might we resist?