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In a society named for the ubiquity of information, it is essential that everyone knows how to use information to continually learn in order to be successful in their professional, personal, and civic lives.” — Clarence Maybee, Assistant Professor of Library Science, Information Literacy Specialist, Purdue University LibrariesClarence Maybee, Information Literacy Specialist at Purdue Libraries

Information literacy is Clarence Maybee’s “thing” at Purdue University Libraries. He is, after all, the Purdue Libraries’ information literacy specialist.

So, it was with much excitement that he recently accepted a faculty position with the Association of College and Research Library’s (ACRL) Information Literacy Immersion Program. The week-long teacher development program is designed for academic librarians who want to enhance their teaching or programming skills related to information literacy. Maybee, who applied for the position in the ACRL’s recent national search for Immersion Program faculty, interviewed for the job at the American Library Association‘s annual Midwinter Meeting in January. He readily accepted the offer last month.

“As a faculty member in the Immersion Program, I will help craft the Immersion curriculum, work with the other Immersion faculty to facilitate the program, and mentor participating librarians in their teaching and programming roles on their campuses,” he explained.

In the Immersion Program, Maybee joins nationally recognized faculty, from college and research libraries around the nation, who lead the program, which provides instruction librarians the opportunity to work intensively for several days on all aspects of information literacy.

Below, Clarence shared a bit more information about his new opportunity with the ACRL and how his work in the Immersion Program will help serve the students and faculty at Purdue University.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your background, e.g., your work in libraries, as a librarian, a faculty member, as well as specifically what interested you in information literacy.

Clarence: I became a librarian in 2005 after completing my MLIS at San Jose State University (SJSU). Under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Somerville, then assistant dean of the library at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), I completed a master’s thesis in which I studied undergraduates’ experiences of information literacy. The research made me aware of how essential it is to understand the experiences of the learners for whom we are designing instruction. I began my career in librarianship in the role of Information Literacy Librarian at Mills College, and I served in a similar role at Colgate University before coming to Purdue.

Based on my research, which reveals that learners use information in more sophisticated ways when learning about course content, I focus my work at Purdue on integrating information literacy into Purdue courses. With colleagues from the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) and Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), I manage the Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation program (IMPACT), which aims to make undergraduate courses more student-centered. In 2015, I received a PhD from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). My dissertation thesis, “Informed learning in the undergraduate classroom: The role of information experiences in shaping outcomes,” received QUT’s Outstanding Thesis Award for its contribution to the discipline and excellence demonstrated in doctoral research practice.

Q. How do you think taking part in the Immersion program will help you in your position as an information literacy specialist at Purdue Libraries? How do you think it will help students and faculty at Purdue?

Clarence: Great new ideas come from diverse minds sharing and discussing the possibilities. The Immersion Program Faculty is comprised of nationally known information literacy experts. A cornerstone of the Immersion Program is bringing together academic librarian participants from across the U.S. and beyond. No doubt, the learning experiences generated by this group will give me insights and new perspectives to bring back with me to my work at Purdue.

Q. Tell me something that people may be surprised to learn about you…

Clarence: I used to be a poet in San Francisco.

Q. What do you know about yourself and/or your work now that you wish you would have known when you first started your career?

Clarence: Understanding learning theory better has really advanced my own teaching, as well as helped me in my work with librarians and other instructors.


Read more about information literacy at Purdue University Libraries at www.lib.purdue.edu/infolit, and learn more about the ACRL Immersion Program at www.ala.org/acrl/immersion.