Librarians win ACRL Innovation Award

Geneseo librarians Michelle Costello and Kimberly Hoffman have been awarded the 2011 Association of College and Research Libraries Instruction Section Innovation Award.

The annual award goes to individuals who have exhibited a particularly creative and innovative approach to information literacy instruction or programming. Sponsored by ProQuest, the winners receive a prize of $3,000 and a certificate.

Costello and Hoffman received the award for developing the Library Instruction Leadership Academy, a program that instructs librarians on how to teach in a classroom setting.

"We were able to receive a grant of $3,500 to get started and we had a lot of incurrent support," Costello said. "We had a lot of volunteers and the location to host it at no charge."

"There's a regional council that typically holds workshops and they gave us the location for free," Hoffman said.

Eleven librarians from higher, secondary and primary education institutions participated in LILA. Most were from the Rochester area, but a few came from as far as Buffalo. The semester-long course cost each participant $100.

Each participant attended five workshops and observed librarians teaching in a classroom. The course also had an online component that fostered readings and communication.

Costello said that librarians end up teaching in a variety of situations. "It can be anything from a 15-minute introduction to the library to the librarian actually being embedded in the classroom and working one-on-one with faculty," Costello said.

Workshops included a variety of presenters. "We wanted to make sure there was a good mixture of academic school librarians, and we also had a high school teacher and a professor," Costello said.

Throughout the program, Costello and Hoffman received feedback from the participants and made changes in order to meet everyone's needs. "It was very learner-centered," Costello said.

Costello and Hoffman said they are interested in continuing LILA if they are able to secure another grant.