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Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Natalie Lopez

Photo of Natalie Lopez
Natalie Lopez, Outreach Librarian for Palomar College

Natalie Lopez joined the Advisory Board for the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. Here she reveals how her teaching has evolved and shares her approach to incorporating the frames into her instruction. She also explains the meaning of this photo!

Question #1: Please tell us about your job.                        

I am the Outreach Librarian for Palomar College! I extend the promotional reach of library services to our student population, our faculty and our community of prospective students. I love that we have so many wonderful services to help our students succeed. My job involves increasing the visibility of these services and making sure students know to ask questions. I also let faculty know we build our collections based on the curriculum and we can help instruct their students how to successfully navigate the library as they work on research papers. 

Q. Please tell us about a project you are currently working on.

I am currently working on two instruction sessions. One is an information literacy instruction session for our Nursing program that has requested instruction. I am creating a course guide (a.k.a. Libguide) for the class tailored to culturally competent nursing practice based on an ethnicity that each nursing student is assigned. The other is more like a workshop I will be presenting for the STEM conference held on campus for middle to high schoolers. I am calling it “Libraries are AWESOME! Make your own movies using Legos and Libraries.” As a member of the STEM Steering Committee, I volunteered to host a STEM workshop following the theme of STEM in the Movies and connect it to the use of library resources to creatively write a short film. 

Q: How has your approach to teaching changed since you started your career?

I started teaching while employed at Cal Poly Pomona University. I volunteered to gain more instructional experience and was assigned to team-teach, design, and assess first-year experience orientation sessions. From there, my teaching moved into designing library instruction for multiple disciplines. I had an excellent faculty mentor at Cal Poly Pomona who guided me in the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs to create measurable learning outcomes and to implement the ACRL information literacy standards into my instruction (this was before the Framework). My teaching continues to evolve at my current position at Palomar College. Working with my colleagues and the Information Literacy Librarian has been a wonderful experience to see how course design is approached and measured based on how students learn to embark on the research process. 

Q: How is your library using the Framework?

We have helpful instructional videos and tutorials from Credo Reference that fully address the frames of the Information Literacy framework. The instruction librarians (myself included) weave these videos/tutorials into our sessions and into our online course guides (Libguides). In my instruction, I always use the framework to develop an outline that is later transferred as tabs on my course guide, only, I change the order of the frames out of their original alphabetical order:

  • Research as Inquiry 
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration
  • Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value

This is my interpretation of the research process and how the framework helps me develop a class outline.

Q: Would you be willing to share one or two of these Libguides?

Sure. Here is the Athletics guide which was not tied to an assignment. Note that not all the frames are represented, but it gives you an idea. 

Explanation of tabs and frames: 

  • Home plate (introduction: no frames, just contact information, library website link and other helpful campus services)
  • Your Library as a college student (no frame, helpful survey of services)
  • Create a research plan (searching as strategic exploration)
  • Avoid plagiarism (information has value)
  • Evaluate websites (authority is constructed and contextual)

I added the frames to the tabs here for the sake of identifying which tab and content relate to each frame but I usually don’t put those frames on the tabs for the students to see. It all happens backstage when I am designing the class. 

Here is an example of a guide that was actually tied to an assignment.

  • Research plan:  (searching as strategic exploration)
    • Same tab (Research as inquiry- see the keywords activity word document where students raise questions about what they don’t know about their topics)
  • Find Articles:  (authority is constructed and contextual- this frame shines in the box I adapted from Colorado State University Libraries and the Culinary Institute of America. I added some boxes of criteria to try and address everything students might find in each of these source types. I don’t discount the use of magazines as they are helpful when you are in “Apparel Merchandising” or “Fashion” as a discipline. You can spot the trends and forecast of fashion trends in these helpful magazines. I also tell students it is ok to dispute ideas you find in scholarly articles. That is the best part of keeping the “scholarly conversation” going!  I have seen articles disputing monographs and then having the author of a monograph dispute the other author by either writing an entire article or even a whole book!)
    • In the same tab also “Information creation as a process”  (see quotes at the bottom of that chart to see how information in these different source types is articulated)
  • Cite your sources in MLA (Information has value)
  • Scholarship as a conversation (in the PowerPoint presentation download, the YES, MAYBE, NO folders talk about this frame. Students download article possibilities and I explain how these are the conversations the scholars are having about their topics. I mention that when I do research this way by organizing in 3 folders, I highlight quotes that support my paper’s direction and as I spread these articles on a large table with my ideas journaled on one paper and these quotes spread out everywhere, the paper seems to magically write itself and I am piecing together all this information and adding to it based on what I have learned after reviewing the literature I just downloaded across three folders!)

Q: What types of information literacy assessment have you done?

In my former position, the team relied heavily on pre/post tests. While I worked in Archives, assessments were conducted based on the “6 C’s of primary source analysis,” Project CORA inspired Google sheets template, minute papers, Likert-scale surveys and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Tweaks) analyses.

Q: Why did you join the TATIL Advisory Board?

I was invited to join after my job interview (I got the job!) at Palomar College. The interview, of course, is a blur now! I do remember being curious about instruction and asking a question about instruction and selling every opportunity I could in each answer to let the hiring committee know how much I loved instruction and incorporating the information literacy framework to it!  After I was hired I received the invitation to join the Advisory Board and I said an immediate “YES!”

Q: Please tell us about a recent professional development activity that you participated in, that you found to be valuable. What was it and how was it valuable to you?

I participated in the three-day "On Course" workshop hosted by our Palomar College Professional Development Department. I found this a valuable experience that led to many ideas in designing active learning strategies while using the framework. 

For example, there was an activity called "Baseball" where participants were paired by either being called an "Eagle" or a "Hawk." I changed the pair naming to "Books" and "Articles." In the baseball game, the instructor would say "Eagles fly!" The Eagles would stand up and look for a person sitting down (Hawk) and then the conversation based on a writing prompt would ensue. I used this activity with the "Research as Inquiry" frame where students would discuss their interpretation of a sample reading/chapter of the book/article's argument. This activity helped students determine if what they found during their initial search would end up being the information used in their final paper.

Q. What is the story behind your photo? It’s so cool and makes me smile — then I’m curious about what you’re doing. 

The photo was taken from a Variety Show at my former Library job at Cal Poly Pomona. I twirled short flags since high school and I did a performance twirling the flags again. It was taken a few years back, but I like to show this to students that I was a cheerleader and once a cheerleader, ALWAYS a cheerleader. I ask them to consider me their cheerleader who is cheering them on so they don’t feel lost or stuck during the research process. I let them know that I am there for them and all the other librarians are as well.