In accordance with the formal adoption of the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education in 2017, the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Literatures in English Section (LES) seeks to provide guidelines for helping librarians collaborate with faculty, students, and researchers in creating new literary scholarship through navigating and engaging with texts and scholarship. The aim of this document is to provide librarians with 1) concepts for improving information literacy for novice and expert learners of writing and literature, 2) tools to help create learning objectives for information literacy instruction in these same areas, and 3) ways to align their teaching practices with the ACRL Framework. These concepts and tools are structured to mirror the ACRL Framework, so librarians will find knowledge practices and dispositions for learners of writing and literature underneath corresponding threshold concepts.
From the Competencies document:
As with many disciplines, literary research involves a conversation between one person (i.e. an author, scholar, student, etc.) and a host of other people (i.e. publications, scholars, peers, etc.) across time and space about a “text” or ideas relating to that text. Traditionally, “text” has been defined as a work or body of written literature, but it has come to mean anything that can be analyzed and interpreted in a similar fashion, e.g., visual and/or digital media, historical documents, formal or informal publications, etc. By engaging in conversation with others about the text’s meaning, literary research seeks to create new meanings from these texts. In subsequent references to “text” or “texts” in this document, we are referring to both the object of analyzation (e.g. novel, poem, image, media, etc.) and the product of that analysis (e.g. literary scholarship, class assignments, etc.).
In order for these conversations to take place, scholars need to have an understanding of the breadth and depth of research necessary before, during, and after this conversation. Part of this research is thinking through the approach to the text that a scholar will be taking because different approaches to theory and interpretation will require different tools and methods, and/or modes of reading and writing. Additionally, literary scholarship often takes place in a hybrid ecosystem, in which students and scholars are expected to work within print and online media. They are also expected to gather sources from a variety of authors, dates, and publications, and they are increasingly expected to interact with scholarship and research methods from other disciplines. And with the increasing prevalence of the digital humanities, many literary scholars are required to manage large amounts of data.
Those embarking on this research, whether as a novice or an expert, have the potential to create new knowledge through their own original ideas, but also through engaging with tools and resources available in a growing number of hosts, platforms, formats, and even disciplines. There are an increasingly immense number of ways to access pieces of these conversations; thus, it is important for librarians and instructors to assist undergraduate and graduate students, and for librarians to help other faculty and scholars at large, in understanding, locating, and engaging with the various ways in which the discipline of English literature continues to ordain and encourage this research.