The Library Instruction Cookbook (Book Review)


The Library Instruction Cookbook
Edited by Ryan Sittler and Douglas Cook

This uniquely written book covers the basics for pedagogy of library instruction in cookbook format.  As the editors of this book admit, not everyone will enjoy this book.  Although the format of this book is cute and fun to read, this reviewer found it difficult to interpret at times.  Overall, this is a wonderful resource to have for those who provide any type of library instruction.

The book is laid out in seven main chapters/topics: Library Orientation, Basic Library Skills [for students], Citations and Plagiarism, Evaluating various Types of Resources, Specialized Research Skills, Discipline Related Research, and Technology.  Each chapter gives specific examples of how library instruction is used at an institution, and has cook-related titles, such as “Garnishing Literacy Instruction with Google” or “Caramelizing Classroom Community with Clickers.”

A good example of a “recipe” is the “Boolean a la Chinese Menu” included in the Basic Library Skills chapter (chapter two).  It includes the title and author information with one sentence about the goal of the library instruction session.  The information about the instruction session fits typically on one page like a recipe, and the body of the recipe includes essential instruction elements:

  • Nutrition Information = short paragraph with more information about the instruction session.
  • Cooking Time = time needed for the instruction session
  • ACRL Information Dietary Standards Addressed =  Lists which ACRL standard this particular instruction session deals with. This by itself is very handy!
  • Main Cooking Technique = The style of instruction (e.g. demonstration, lecture, hands-on)
  • Main Ingredients = Anything needed for the instruction session (e.g. one computer per person, projector, handouts)
  • Preparation = Tasks that need to be done prior to the session (e.g. creating handouts, reference materials needed, etc.)
  • The Instruction Session = How to pull everything together into a cohesive library instruction session.  The recipes vary from one another, but many have step-by-step instructions on how to successfully carry out the session.
  • Allergy Warnings = Pitfalls to avoid
  • Chef’s Notes = Any additional information that should be considered with this instruction session.

About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on June 14, 2010, in Book Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great review, John! I’m glad you enjoy the book. Doug and I were trying to do something a little different with this one… it’s gratifying to know that someone finds it useful. 🙂

    Take care,

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