Teacher-librarian collaboration (TLC) in a highly diverse branch: supporting information literacy of geography students


  • Anne Kakkonen
  • Antti Virrankoski




The purpose of this paper is to present an example of teacher-librarian collaboration (TLC) in a highly diverse branch of geography as a part of bachelor's seminar teaching. One can say that everything is geography if the phenomenon in question is delimited in a certain region, place or space. Thus every other discipline provides its methods, paradigms and information sources into the use of geography. This obviously presents a challenge to the librarian as he tries to support the geography students' information seeking. The topics can vary between cellular biology applications to sociological perception which also means a large variety in information needs. In our paper we aim to describe different approaches of collaboration this kind of variety requires based on the experiences and feedback gathered in a project, the aim of which was to integrate information literacy (IL) into the academic curriculum.

Collaborating with teachers with different backgrounds and from different scientific traditions can be challenging for the librarian. Not only the information sources, databases and methods are different but it is the whole approach to the science that is different. Thus it is fairly obvious that the competence of a single librarian or a teacher is not sufficient for an effective IL instruction. The key here is the collaboration when librarian's information literacy and teacher's academic subject competence complete each other.

A successful TLC gives opportunity for both marketing the idea of information literacy and the competence of a library professional. It may also increase the efficiency of teaching and studies and even shorten the time for a student to graduate. Especially in the case of seminar teaching TLC seems to give a valuable opportunity to instruct the students' seminar thesis along the way.

In 2008, Kumpula Campus Library launched a project to integrate the IL teaching into the academic curriculum and to enhance the collaboration between the campus library and academic staff. The aim of our case project was to support the bachelor level students in their work of their bachelor's thesis. The librarian participated in the bachelor's seminar by giving a lecture about information literacy and a personal guidance in the students' information seeking process. The main idea was to make a timely intervention in order to give the best possible support to the academic writing across the curriculum. The importance of a timely intervention is well described in the classical text of Carol C. Kuhlthau (1993). The students came from the department of geography in the faculty of science of the University of Helsinki. The personal guidance session was conducted together with the seminar teacher to support both academic writing and information seeking process. After the seminar, the effect of the IL teaching was evaluated by a feedback questionnaire.



How to Cite

Kakkonen, A., & Virrankoski, A. (2010). Teacher-librarian collaboration (TLC) in a highly diverse branch: supporting information literacy of geography students. Nordic Journal of Information Literacy in Higher Education, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.15845/noril.v3i1.132