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Sexy bibliography (and revealing paratext)

Karen E. McAulay (RCS Library, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, UK)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




This paper aims to explore the advantages of applying best pedagogical practice to library-based teaching, using targeted content in order to contextualise the teaching within a performing arts curriculum. The author, dual-qualified in music and librarianship, is responsible for providing library user education and instructing readers in the use of electronic resources, literature review, related research and bibliographic skills and Scottish songbook history in a performing arts institution. A recent opportunity to take a short course, The Teaching Artist, prompted the author to re-examine her approach to such library-based teaching. Her observations arise from the reflective practice that was a core component of The Teaching Artist course.


The main focus of this concept paper is a consideration of best pedagogical practice, and a discussion of how best to embed it in a curriculum designed for performers and other creative artists. Turning from a role as a bibliographic instructor to that as an academic adjunct, the author addresses similar pedagogical issues in a session on Scottish songbooks, which is delivered each year to second-year undergraduates.


The author wrote a paper on user education for a librarianship journal in 1991. The present paper reflects upon the discernible differences in approach between then and now, and finds that gaining pedagogical expertise has enabled significant improvements.


There is comparatively little published about user education in music libraries, about pedagogical training for librarians working in this field, or about scholar-librarians availing themselves of suitable training to improve their delivery of academic course components.



McAulay, K.E. (2015), "Sexy bibliography (and revealing paratext)", Library Review, Vol. 64 No. 1/2, pp. 154-161.



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