Today we talk with Joseph Aubele, Librarian at California State University Long Beach in California. Joseph joined the TATIL Advisory Board in 2015 and has been instrumental in making the new test come to life. Learn how his approach to teaching has evolved from feeling like an imposter to handing over control to students. Read his perspective on using assessment results, the library patron as customer, and more!
Q: Please tell us about your job. What do you do? What do you like about your job?
Joseph: At the most basic level I am a reference and instructional librarian -- and almost anyone reading this will have some idea of what that entails. Beyond the obvious, as a tenure track librarian, I engage in research/writing. I also have an administrative assignment as Internship Coordinator for our library which has me meeting with graduate students who are interested in participating in our semester-long experience and then mentoring them once they’re here (and beyond!).
I spent many years in the private sector before coming to librarianship, working too many hours, doing work that -- while rewarding in its way -- lacked the intellectual stimulation that is so much a part of what I do know. So, while I hate it when others say this, I have to say that there is not any single part of my work that is absolutely my favorite. Instead, I enjoy each aspect -- assisting students and faculty, teaching, research, and contributing to the preparation of those who are joining our profession -- and the satisfaction I feel is actually greater than the sum of the parts.
Q: Why did you join the Advisory Board for the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL)?
Joseph: A great deal of library assessment measures everything BUT information literacy, and that is understandable -- measuring a student’s ability to recognize when information is needed, or the ability to evaluate information, especially in the context of a one shot session, is daunting. The work that TATIL is doing enables educators of all stripes to assess where students are at when they arrive on campus and how far they progress during their time in college. Colleges and universities talk a lot about helping students become critical thinkers but the only regular assessments are the grades they earn in their classes. The assessments TATIL has developed focus on something much more fundamental to the individual, and being able to make a very small contribution to that effort is as exciting as it is rewarding.
Q: Please tell us about a project you are currently working on.