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On August 29th, the Libraries Seminar Committee hosted a presentation by Dr. Andrew Whitworth, Director of Teaching Strategy for the Manchester Institute of Education and the University of Manchester. Dr. Whitworth’s presentation “Xenophilia: The Love of Difference is Essential for Information Literacy” argued that a diversification and openness to different perspectives can positively influence learning through engagement with information. Drawing from theories of learning, networking, technology, and more, Dr. Whitworth described how xenophilia—a love and openness to difference—can help people broker between different information landscapes to learn and take action. He proposed that educators develop their teaching around the principle of xenophilia, where students encounter and navigate different perspectives of information landscapes, in order to help them learn through dialog.

Following the presentation, Dr. Whitworth facilitated two workshops introducing participants to a concept mapping process to uncover different perspectives on an institutional issue. In the first workshop, participants engaged with different types of maps to uncover how we rely on and interpret maps, as well as how they can be powerful tools for helping us make sense of our own information landscapes. In the second workshop, participants put these ideas into practice using Ketso, a specific mapping tool. In small groups, participants collectively discussed and mapped out the goals, assets, challenges, and strategies related to how the new Wilmeth Active Learning Center will change our activities as librarians.

Librarians worked in groups to map ideas related to how they can use the Wilmeth Active Learning Center to advance their practice as librarians.

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