Library Instruction West 2016

This is a guest post from Kelly Durkin, a member of Cohort 2 of the Design for Learning program, reporting back from the conference she attended as one of our scholarship recipients.

the exterior of the J Willard Marriott Library

The J. Willard Marriott Library, where most of the conference sessions were held.

From June 8-10 I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Library Instruction West (formerly LOEX of the West) conference in lovely (and hot!) Salt Lake City. This year’s conference was themed “Learning Elevated” and I had the chance to meet with and learn from innovative librarians from around the country who are thinking about online and in-person instruction. The University of Utah has most of the presentations in its repository here:

Donna Lanclos from UNC Charlotte gave a thoughtful keynote on Teaching, Learning, and Vulnerability in Digital Places. She raised the idea of building trust with students by being professionally vulnerable in our instruction practice – showing students the seams of academia and scholarly communication as a window into the process of scholarship. This can also be applied to our collaborative process with colleagues, as being open with our works in progress and rough drafts allow us to continue learning from each other. We are certainly doing that in our modules – our draft instructional plans have been a great example of learning from each other through the drafting process.

Amanda Roth and Dominique Turnbow of UC San Diego hosted two excellent sessions related to online learning. They presented first on creating an instructional design team and shared how they built their workflows, documentation, and processes. The biggest takeaways from this session were that a combination of pedagogy and technical skills are critical for success, communication with stakeholders is important, and documenting processes and time spent on projects is helpful for showing outcomes to stakeholders and administration. Building an instruction team can mean having two people with instructional design as their full-time jobs or piecing together skills from a larger group who have instruction duties as a smaller part of their duties. In the second session, Roth and Turnbow presented a case study on building an online plagiarism tutorial and walked through how they combined pedagogy (Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction and the ARCS Model) with best practices for interactive tutorial design and evaluation tools.

Lindsay O’Neill from Cal State Fullerton presented on using WordPress as a learning object repository to share resources with other librarians, making it easier for colleagues to find learning objects and scale up the instruction offerings at her institution. You can find the site here: She took us through her design and implementation of the WordPress site, how she organized content, and how she promoted the site with her colleagues.

Erica DeFrain, Julia Glassman, Nicole Pagowsky and Doug Worsham led an active learning session on learning theories and approaches to instruction with a focus on social constructivism and critical pedagogy. We shared instances of memorable, meaningful and transformative learning and evaluated short case studies to incorporate those types of learning opportunities within them.

One of my big takeaways from this conference was that Articulate Storyline seems to be the tool of choice for academic librarians building interactive online tutorials! This conference reminded me to be thoughtful in my practice and in my interactions with colleagues and the library community as we have many opportunities to teach and learn from each other. One of the last sessions was on failure and resilience in the library, and it was a good reminder that failure and mistakes go hand in hand with learning and improving.

Library Instruction West is held every other year and alternating with ACRL years. The next conference will be held in 2018 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado from July 18-20. Hope to see you there!

About Arden Kirkland

Arden Kirkland is an independent digital librarian, providing consulting services for digital collections and online learning. Her years of work in higher education have included a focus on students’ active participation in the construction of multimedia digital collections. Other recent projects include,, and work on the Capability Maturity Model for Research Data Management. Find out more about her work at
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