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  • Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians ed. by Patricia Bravender et al.
  • Benjamin R. Harris
Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians, ed. Patricia Bravender, Hazel McClure, and Gayle Schaub. Chicago: ACRL, 2015. 264 pages. $48.00 (ISBN 978-0-8389-8771-1)

Editors Patricia Bravender, Hazel McClure, and Gayle Schaub are careful to begin Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts: Lesson Plans for Librarians by describing the process involved in developing the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. They acknowledge concerns raised about the Framework and the difficulty involved in accepting and implementing any new set of educational standards. But they offer a practical approach to the Framework in Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts, believing that many professionals will more easily understand the benefits after putting some of its concepts to use.

The lesson plans, created by professionals in academic libraries across the country, are organized into the six threshold concepts identified in the Framework, though some lessons draw on more than one concept. Each lesson begins with a brief description, followed by a section called “Concept in Context,” which explores how each lesson addresses the Framework. There are also sections on materials and learning goals. Readers will find the [End Page 209] introductory matter important for understanding the elements of each lesson plan, because the terminology used is not always clear. The appendix includes worksheets associated with many of the lesson plans.

Though many lessons in Teaching Information Literacy Threshold Concepts will be familiar to information literacy instructors, the editors explain them in the context of the new Framework. (In truth, the lesson plans in Chapter 5, “Searching as Strategic Exploration,” suggest few new strategies or approaches and so would be more appropriate in works focused on best practices in information literacy instruction.) But many lessons stand out as offering new perspectives that take advantage of threshold concepts. The lessons in Chapter 1,“Scholarship as Conversation,” are particularly distinctive. The lesson plans written by Sarah Neumann and Sami Lange (“The Connection Between Personal and Academic Research”), Robert Farrell (“Evaluating Information Sources”), and Patricia Bravender (“Plagiarism v. Copyright Infringement”) are highlights, due to the ways the authors make connections between information literacy and students’ lived experiences.

The authors and editors have given careful consideration to making the lessons as adaptable as possible, in either one-shot or multi-session instruction and in a variety of teaching situations. The lessons vary in length and depth and will appeal to instructors across a wide range of educational settings. This is the first of many book-length applications of the threshold concepts in the Framework, and it provides readers with a useful starting point. The structure of each lesson makes implementation efficient and easy. Taken as a whole, the lesson plans provide valuable perspectives and insights on teaching and learning through the ACRL Framework. [End Page 210]

Benjamin R. Harris
Associate Professor and Head of Instruction Services
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX


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pp. 209-210
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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