Librarian chosen to attend prestigious immersion program

Alessia Zanin-Yost, reference librarian and visual/performing arts liaison at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library, has been selected to attend the prestigious Immersion Program of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Institute for Information Literacy.

Alessia Zanin-Yost

Alessia Zanin-Yost

The selective gathering, the only one of its kind in the nation, provides academic librarians with intellectual tools and practical techniques to help institutions build or enhance their instruction programs. Zanin-Yost will attend the conference this summer at Simmons College in Boston.

The ACRL divides the program into two tracks: The teacher track, focusing on individual instruction skills; and the program track, focusing on the integration of information literacy into academic programs. Zanin-Yost completed the teacher track program while serving as reference librarian at Montana State University and will participate in the program track this summer.

Since coming to WCU in January 2005, Zanin-Yost has forged connections between the library and the Honors College, and regularly includes library instruction in classes she co-teaches with art faculty.

“The point of information literacy is to teach students to think critically about information,” she said. “Once they graduate, they will have a wealth of tools to help them through life. It is important that the students not see me only as ‘the librarian,’ but as a partner in their endeavors — for me to go to classes and establish a relationship.”

This is not the first time the ACRL has recognized a member of Hunter Library’s faculty. Heidi Buchanan, reference librarian and coordinator of information literacy, was selected for the program track during summer 2005. Engaging in areas such as leadership, program development, educational philosophy and problem-based learning, Buchanan said she found it edifying to work alongside nationally known experts in the library field.

“One of the great things about spending time with other librarians is that you get some really good ideas. The program was very practical in showing us how to integrate library services into the curriculum.”

While attending the program, Buchanan worked on methods of facilitating collaboration among librarians at Hunter Library, program assessment, and consolidation of information about the library’s instructional services on its Web page.

Bil Stahl, WCU’s associate provost for information services and university librarian, said, “The fact that both Heidi and Alessia were selected to participate in the highly-selective Information Immersion Program underscores two things. The first is the high quality of our library faculty as evidenced by Heidi and Alessia. The second is the library’s intense commitment to do all we can to prepare our students for the complex information environment they will live in.”