Cynthia Mari Orozco joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. She is Librarian for Equitable Services, East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park and South Gate, California, USA. Cynthia talked with us about promoting information literacy through faculty collaboration and about the importance of recognizing the efforts of our colleagues.
Question: Please tell us what you are working on these days.
Cynthia: We have a small instruction team that oversees a lot of information literacy instruction (ILI) at a relatively large campus, so we're actively seeking strategies to institutionalize information literacy across the campus but also to provide more targeted, intentional ILI. One project we are working on is creating embeddable information literacy content for classroom faculty in Canvas, our campus LMS, to provide faculty with easy-to-adopt resources. We also want to build professional development for classroom faculty in teaching information literacy in a Train the Trainer model, in which faculty learn about information literacy and work with a librarian to embed information literacy in their courses, ideally scaffolded throughout the semester.
Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started?
Cynthia: I've been an instruction librarian since I graduated library school in various contexts, including private university, state university, and now community college. Since coming to community college, I have also had the opportunity to teach both in-person and online semester-long information literacy classes. My instruction has changed so much since I started teaching. My first one-shots definitely felt like a train wreck: I tried to teach everything and anything about the library in a very small time frame and without consideration of learning outcomes or assessment. Since then, I've developed my lesson plans to include these, which has also helped me reign in my teaching. My motivating factor has stayed true throughout, however: teach students how to navigate the library's resources and services so that they never have to be as clueless as I was as an undergraduate!
Q: How has your library approached the Framework?
Cynthia: Our library is still grappling with how to approach the Framework in our practice. However, this is a main point of discussion in instruction assessment meetings as the semester winds down!
Q: What role do non-library, classroom faculty at your institution have in promoting information literacy of students?
Cynthia: We have information literacy champions all over campus in very different ways! We have the faculty who consistently bring their courses in for ILI each semester, usually as one library orientation or sometimes two. We've also had several faculty members who have used library orientations to learn information literacy from librarians in action, and then gone on to facilitate their own library instruction without our direct help in subsequent semesters.
Q: In 2017 you were named as a Mover and Shaker and profiled in Library Journal. What impact did that experience have on you and on your advocacy?
Cynthia: It was really great being nominated and recognized by my peers! (Shout out to my nominator Annie Pho!) I think that it's helped me sustain my energy in doing the work that I do. Sometimes it can feel as our work isn't as valued or valuable as we want it to be, so it can be really affirming to receive formal recognition. This experience has also encouraged me to actively nominate others for formal recognition and awards, as well as remember to recognize my colleagues for their efforts.
Q: Why did you join the TATIL Advisory Board?
Cynthia: Being a part of the TATIL Advisory Board allows me to think critically about information literacy assessment with an amazing group of colleagues. I'm also very proud to represent community college librarians in this role.
Thank you, Cynthia!