Susan Barnes Whyte, associate professor and director of Linfield’s Jereld R. Nicholson Library, and Brenda DeVore Marshall, associate professor and chair of theatre and communication arts, presented a session at the Transformation of the College Library conference in San Francisco, Calif., Feb. 26. The conference was organized by the Council of Independent Colleges in cooperation with the Council on Library and Information Resources.
Whyte and Marshall presented the first session during the three-day event. Drawing on the success of collaborative work they have done in connection with Marshall’s freshmen inquiry seminar, the two talked about how and why they collaborate in the classroom.
Twenty-five teams made up of librarians, faculty and provosts from liberal arts colleges attended the conference signifying the importance of collaboration among librarians, faculty members and information technology staff. Marv Henberg, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, and David Sumner, assistant professor of English and director of writing, also represented Linfield at the conference.
The conference focused on the changing roles of librarians and faculty in an information-rich but knowledge-poor culture. Librarians and faculty can work together to teach students how to think their way through the mass of information on the Internet. According to Whyte, it’s easy to find information in this day and age, but much harder to know if it’s the best information.
"It takes a whole college to graduate a liberally educated and information-literate student, so librarians and faculty need to collaborate in their teaching," Whyte said. "There’s this ocean of information out there and it’s hard for students to select the most credible information for their research. They need to hone critical thinking abilities in order to select the most appropriate resources."
Much of Whyte and Marshall’s collaborative teaching has taken place in Linfield’s new Nicholson Library, which opened last fall, providing study space for students, a classroom for library instruction, a wireless public environment and increased media services. At 56,000 square feet, the library combines traditional collections of books and journals with the new and changing digital and electronic technology to provide access to the web and web-based databases.