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Library Teaching Quarterly: Fall 2019

Keeping you up to date with Library teaching and outreach activities.

In this issue, we bring you three articles from across the Dartmouth libraries. First, Julia Logan shares her reflection on the 2019 Librarians Active Learning Institutes (LALI). Next, for those who could not attend the Summer Celebration on July 27, Joshua Dacey describes how library faculty created active learning experiences throughout the day long event. Finally, we end this volume of the Library Teaching Quarterly with an article about the upcoming "Adventuresome Spirit" exhibit, which is the fourth and final installation in the Library's 250th exhibition series. Please enjoy!

Librarians Active Learning Institute Expands to Meet Demand

by Julia Logan

Summer 2019 marked the 8th year of the Librarians Active Learning Institute (LALI) and the 4th year of the Archives and Special Collections track. LALI, which is a re-envisioning of Dartmouth’s Active Learning Institute (ALI) for faculty, offers librarians and archivists of all teaching levels the opportunity to reflect upon their teaching, collaborate with peers, and develop and refine learner-centered teaching skills. Participants take part in multi-day sessions focused on LALI’s core principles of Meet, Engage and Reflect. By the end of the programs, they employ these principles by designing and facilitating active learning experiences.

Historically, LALI and LALI-ASC are offered once per summer, consisting of 16 and 12 person cohorts, respectively.  However, due to such a high number of applicants over the past few years and the increasing demand for instructors to facilitate active learning programming separate from the summer institutes, LALI and LALI-ASC were expanded to offer an additional session of both.

Instructors from Teaching and Learning, Archives and Special Collections and the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning worked with a total of 56 participants representing community colleges, state universities, small liberal-arts colleges and even the oldest, military college in the United States. As in past years we also welcomed new Library staff members with teaching responsibilities.

Double the number of sessions hopefully means double the number of librarians and archivists who are better equipped to meet their community of learners where they are, actively engage them in the process of teaching and learning and encourage reflection and articulation of learning.

Beyond the Library: Active Learning in the Wild

by Joshua Dacey

Have you ever found yourself staring longingly through the glass of an exhibit case at a mesmerizing artifact just out of reach?  Inextricably, your hands rise up to touch the glass. You know you should not and in fact, all the signs posted around the museum tell you not too, but maybe, just maybe, if you can touch the relic for a moment, you can be a part of history. I have seen this moment play out hundreds of times in my career as a museum educator. I learned a long time ago to capitalize on those moments of inquiry to fuel active learning. Recently, I had the opportunity to facilitate a day full of such moments at the Dartmouth 250th Anniversary Summer Celebration on July 27.

Throughout the day, staff highlighted the library’s collections at several active learning “stations.” As the day was warm and Baker Berry Library features not only water fountains but air conditioning (who needs books), a strategically placed final activity station on the Library lawn drew a small crowd. Visitors of all age took turns creating colorful pennants representing their home communities. At first glance, the activity appeared to be a simple offering of arts and crafts. A closer look revealed active learning in practice. As visitors created their unique community banner, they shared memories of home with each other. Patrons shared their hometown experiences while creating an artifact very similar an artifact housed a few yards away in the “Generations of Community” exhibit, a Dartmouth College football pennant.

While viewers cannot touch the artifacts, it was my hope that during the activity, visitors could make a personal connection to the exhibit’s theme of communities and symbols of community at Dartmouth.

"Adventuresome Spirit"

by Joshua Dacey

With two and a half centuries of history, Dartmouth has its fair share of legends and lore. For instance, there is John Ledyard, the great adventurer who in 1773 chopped down a tree, carved a canoe, paddled down the Connecticut River, and eventually sailed around the globe with Captain Cook. Sounds like a great adventure, right? Now, under a closer lens.

Ledyard essentially dropped out of classes, destroyed school property, and captained an illegal sailing vessel down the river. Did I mention he died a pauper in Egypt and was buried in an unmarked grave?  So why is John Ledyard remembered so fondly? Why is there an outdoor organization named after him (Ledyard Canoe Club)? Ledyard’s legend stands tall at Dartmouth because it is a tale of exploration, daring, and bravery.  Some might say Ledyard was an adventuresome spirit. Yet, as we all know, adventure can take many forms. The multiple interpretations of “what is an adventuresome spirit” was given careful consideration by the curators for the final Dartmouth 250th Anniversary exhibition.

Co-curated by Amy Witzel and Joshua Dacey, “Adventuresome Spirit” illuminates the “individuals and groups who have helped to shape the adventuresome spirit at Dartmouth– through innovation, service, teaching, athleticism, exploration, and leadership.” Taking a nuanced approach to curation, the exhibit is both visually compelling and driven by a narrative. Four panels were designed as kaleidoscopic representations of adventure through images with only a single central quote for text. The other two panels take a more traditional approach of a narrative driven artifact based exhibit. The juxtaposition of design style allows for visitors of differing learning style to engage with the exhibit content through multiple lenses.

“Adventuresome Spirit” was curated by Amy Witzel and Joshua Dacey. Exhibit design provided by Dennis Grady. Editing by Laura Barrett, Joshua Dacey, and Jay Satterfield. The exhibit will be installed from October 2nd until Decemberr 18th, 2019 in Reiss Hall located in Baker Library. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

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