Our approach has several features:
Conversation. Starting from the view that “information literacy” is a theoretical construct in use in libraries, but typically alien to the disciplines, we advocate that librarians work with the disciplines to convene focus groups comprised of faculty in the disciplines. Through such focus groups, librarians and disciplinary instructors can seek to uncover both the information behaviors characteristic of disciplinary practices and the shared expectations for where graduating Bachelor’s degree students in the disciplines should be in their development of those behaviors. Using our three-matrix model for painting a picture of the information literate student in the disciplines, faculty in the disciplines can theoretically isolate those aspects of disciplinary socialization that relate to information use in order to clarify the ways in which their curriculum leads to the development of what librarians typically call “information literacy.”
Collaboration. Traditional approaches to integrating information literacy in the disciplinary curricula has typically started with librarians approaching the disciplines with one or another set of generic information literacy standards. In the United States, there are the ACRL IL Competency Standards. In the UK, there are the SCONUL Standards. In Australia and New Zealand, there are the ANZIIL Standards. Although there are also standards tailored to the disciplines — standards which translate generic competencies into discipline specific language — the general result of generic competency standards has been to perpetuate the view that information literacy is a kind of adjunct or “add on” to the disciplinary curriculum — a set of generic skills more akin to general than to disciplinary education. This process reverses this orientation and suggests that librarians collaboratively engage disciplinary faculty to authentically describe their expectations of disciplinary information behaviors of their graduates and thereby re-position information literacy within the context of situated, disciplinary activities.
Consultation. We see CUNY librarians working as curricular consultants when it comes to integrating information literacy in the disciplines. Ideally, faculty in the disciplines will approach us, rather than we them, when it comes to designing new learning opportunities to allow our students to meet their expectations when it comes to information use and behaviors. This can only take place when faculty in the disciplines see the development of disciplinary information behaviors as part and parcel of their larger teaching mission.