ScholarWorks Spotlight: Celebrating the Human Side of Research 

Posted on
March 9, 2021
By Candice Benjes-Small - Head of Research

In this series, we are spotlighting researchers who have contributed to W&M ScholarWorks, our institutional repository. We asked each researcher to identify a scholarly work and share the “human story” behind it. Who are the people behind the data and theory, and how were they affected by the scholarship?   

We hope you will enjoy learning more about what happens “behind the scenes” of research, and that it encourages you to explore the collections in W&M ScholarWorks. 

If you are interested in being part of the series or contributing to ScholarWorks, please contact your librarian liaison.

A Primer for New Teachers” by Candice Benjes-Small, a book chapter from The Future Academic Librarian’s Toolkit 

Explain your publication in a tweet. 

Learn how being an instruction librarian is more than demo’ing databases 

What inspired this piece? 

In my first professional job as a reference librarian, my supervisor provided extensive training before I taught any library workshops.  I shadowed other librarians as they taught, attended their workshops as participants so I got a sense of the audience, mocked up lesson plans, and team-taught with others before I was all alone at the front of a classroom. At my next position, I set up a similar system. A colleague suggested we present about our training protocol at a state library conference- and to my surprise, we had a standing-room only crowd.  Turns out many academic librarians are thrown into the classroom without any training or support. I’m haunted by stories of new graduates who are expected to teach without being given the tools to succeed.  This book chapter lays out the basics of teaching information literacy and distills the tips, tricks, and strategies I’ve developed over 20+ years as a librarian and educator. 

Share a ‘human story’ related to this chapter. 

The publisher for the book required Harvard Citation Style.  Now, I’ve been teaching citation styles for years and had become so knowledgeable about APA Style in particular that one professor addressed me as the “APA Queen.”  But Harvard was not a style used at my institution, and I dragged my heels as the editor repeatedly asked me through the drafting process to change my citations to the correct style. For some reason, I just didn’t want to do it.  When I think back, I’m a little embarrassed at how recalcitrant I was!  I felt like the editor was making me eat a big bowl of kale.  Of course, once I set up everything in Zotero (a reference manager), it wasn’t as much work as I’d thought.  But the experience gave me renewed sympathy for students who struggle with citing! 

How does your book chapter connect to your research interests? 

I love to teach and to talk about teaching.  I’ve mentored and trained numerous colleagues over the years, and have attended and presented at numerous pedagogy conferences. And the need to build information literacy skills at every age level is essential. We can all see the negative impacts of disinformation and misinformation on our society. I hope my book chapter can help colleagues be more effective as they teach learners to be better consumers and creators of information. 

Articles and book chapters archived in ScholarWorks are findable through Google and can reach a larger audience. Find out how to add your works to the institutional repository by talking to your liaison librarian.