Baylor Libraries to Be Presented with ALA Library Instruction Round Table 2022 Innovation in Instruction Award

Baylor Libraries LIRT Award
(L to R) - Amy James, director of instruction and information literacy; Beth Farwell, director of arts and special collections research; and Joshua Been, director of data and digital scholarship in the Baylor Libraries. (Photo courtesy of Baylor University Libraries)
March 22, 2022

Award recognizes Baylor Libraries’ information literacy syllabi, a large-scale automated curriculum mapping project

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations,
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LIRT Contact: Rebecca Davis, Chair, Librarian Recognition Award, Library Instruction Round Table

WACO, Texas (March 22, 2022) – Baylor University Libraries will be presented with the 2022 Innovation in Instruction Award from the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) of the American Library Association for the Libraries’ information literacy syllabi miner project, a large-scale automated curriculum mapping project.

Created to recognize a library that demonstrates innovation in support of information literacy and instruction, the Innovation in Instruction award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in June.

The Baylor Libraries’ syllabi miner project – developed by Amy James, director of instruction and information literacy; Joshua Been, director of data and digital scholarship; and Beth Farwell, director of arts and special collections research – used text-data mining to find information literacy related terms and phrases within syllabi. This innovation helped locate new opportunities to provide support to faculty and instructors through information literacy instruction while also increasing instructional outreach and awareness across campus.

“Winning the LIRT Innovation in Instruction Award is a massive accomplishment and honor,” James said. “My colleagues, Joshua Been and Beth Farwell, have been integral in helping make our information literacy syllabi miner tool useful, effective and impactful. This tool started off as a dream of mine about two years ago, and with the expertise and skills of my colleagues, we were able to turn this dream into a reality.”

While the growth of the instruction program at Baylor has been “phenomenal,” James said, the project being used by other campus libraries across the country has been especially rewarding. LIRT acknowledged Baylor Libraries’ commitment to making the project open-source and their willingness to support other libraries using the tool, which set Baylor Libraries team apart among a number of outstanding nominations for the 2022 Innovation in Instruction Award. The development of the information literacy syllabi miner allows other libraries to upload their syllabi (or other assignments) into the open-source Jupyter notebook and analyze the content to assess their own instructional programs.

“We are excited to share this open-source tool with everyone so that campus libraries across the world can use it to find opportunities for information literacy instruction at their institutions and reach more students, sharing with them the important skills that they need to navigate the information environment that exists in today’s world,” James said.

The Library Instruction Round Table was started in 1977 with the intent to bring together librarians who provide library instruction across all types of libraries – academic, public, school and special. 2022 marks the ninth year the Innovation in Instruction Award has been awarded.

At Baylor – counted among the nation's elite research universities as a Research 1 institution – the Baylor Libraries lead as an innovative research library that supports the mission of the University by undergirding scholarship, fostering teaching and learning and building communities. Comprised of Moody and Jones Libraries along with world-renowned special collections that include Armstrong Browning Library and Museum, The Texas Collection and University Archives, The Institute for Oral History, the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society and the W. R. Poage Legislative Library, the Libraries drive research at Baylor University and beyond.

“I appreciate this recognition by the Library Instruction Round Table of the American Library Association of the groundbreaking work of Amy James, Josh Been and Beth Farwell,” said Jeffry Archer, dean of University Libraries. “Their initiative reflects the creativity that our libraries bring to classroom instruction and our support for top-flight research at Baylor.”

The LIRT Innovation in Instruction Awards Subcommittee included Wayne Finley of Northern Illinois University (co-chair), Bridget Farrell of the University of Denver and Maria Sclafani of Wichita State University.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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