Norgaard, Rolf. “Writing Information Literacy in the Classroom: Pedagogical Enactments and Implications.” Reference Services Review 43.3 (2003): 220–226.
In this, Norgaard’s companion article to “Contributions to a Concept,” he expanded his discussion, examining how situational, process-oriented and relevant literacies would look in practice–stressing “more pointed pragmatic questions” (220). Norgaard described composition and libraries shared documents – the “Information Literacy Competency Standards” from Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in 2000 and the “Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition” from the Writing Programs Administrators (WPA) also in 2000. While the WPA document is not mentioned in ACRL’s document and information literacy is not specifically mentioned in the WPA document, Norgaard stressed that the WPA’s outcomes offered a “very hospitable context for information-literacy initiatives,”albeit that they were written in “intellectual isolation” from one another (221).
Norgaard looked to a writing/IL curriculum more focused on rhetorical concerns, replacing that of just “correctness” in grammar. By looking to critical thinking, then processes and finally “conventions,” Norgaard saw the WPA Outcomes Statement as a framework where librarians could expand the conversation surrounding IL with writing programs. Norgaard pointed to John Bean’s Engaging Ideas as essential reading for librarians who sought to work closer with a writing classroom.
As he expressed concerns with IL in his first article and voiced the need to move beyond “skills” and “literacy battles” in putting IL into “practice,” Norgaard raised two additional issues in his second article. Before being able to move the conversation forward, “old ghosts”–the background and history of the research paper and “new specters”–the current obsession with plagiarism have to be exposed. The research paper has a tradition of being“product” based, sources and citations instead of intellectual process; a“non-form of writing” when it is separated from inquiry (222). Plagiarism needs to produce a “broader and more nuanced discussion of information literacy”instead of just “warnings” with the librarians and writing instructors as the‘bad cops” (223).
Norgaard saw these as opportunities, noting that plagiarism has also been a call to reform for pedagogy, challenging the outdated practices, isolated skills and environment that produced the recent hyper-concerns surrounding plagiarism. Finally Norgaard called on Aristotle’s tripartite conception of knowledge: theoria, praxis and techne to emphasize how techne could provide guiding principles to draw from. Norgaard offered a future where an “arts of information literacy” resided next to Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric.
It doesn’t come as any surprise to me that Norgaard found so little written in the IL literature about rhetoric or pedagogy. As IL came to prominence, library articles related to it focused on practice…and more practice. The debate over what to call “it” overtook relating it to the writing curriculum or even posing questions related to rhetoric and pedagogy. It hasn’t been part of the library school curriculum, nor of librarians in practice. As I read Norgaard’s article, I thought – it’s about time. Collaboration efforts are often stalled because of lack of time, a sense of “need,” or “buy in” throughout the curriculum. Furthering Norgaard’s conversation and looking for ways to draw rhetoric and pedagogy into IL practice offers the hope of an improved relationship of cooperation, shared pedagogy and purpose. Bring it on! (515 words)
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