Carving Out a Space: Ambiguity and Librarian Teacher Identity in the Academy




Mattson, Janna
Kirker, Maoria J.
Oberlies, Mary K.
Byrd, Jason

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Based on a desire to examine librarian teaching identity within the context of our institution, we sat down as colleagues to participate in a structured dialogue to explore the meaning of being a teacher-librarian. Our group is Janna Mattson, Social Sciences Librarian; Maoria Kirker, Instructional Services and Assessment Librarian; Mary Oberlies, Conflict and Peace Studies Librarian; and Jason Byrd, Head of Information Services. We are all professional faculty at George Mason University, a large, multi-campus, state, four-year institution located in Northern Virginia. Maoria, the University Libraries’ first assessment librarian, began the peer evaluation initiative in which we observe our colleagues during an instruction session and provide constructive feedback. Janna, Mary, and Jason together make up one of these peer evaluation groups, known as Teaching Squares. Maoria receives self-reflections from the librarians in each group as well as conducts her own observation of teaching librarians. This chapter is formatted to represent three separate narratives: - conversational, represented by the italicized, indented text; - analytical, represented in the traditional text body and supported by scholarly literature; - and, self-reflective, represented by the text box insets. On March 10, 2016 we sat down to record a conversation guided by co-constructed questions. This dialogue was then transcribed and edited for clarity. Additionally, all aspects of the conversation are not reflected in this chapter. Based on the themes identified within the selected dialogue, we researched scholarly literature surrounding our conversation. Three months later, in revising this text, we added self-reflective comments to the conversational dialogue, again noted in the text box insets.


Chapter 8 in "The Self as Subject: Autoethnographic Research into Identity, Culture, and Academic Librarianship" edited by Anne-Marie Deitering, Robert Schroeder amd Richard Stoddart