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Learning information literacy through drawing

David James Brier (Library Services, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)
Vickery Kaye Lebbin (Library Services, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore drawing as an instructional method to teach information literacy.


The authors describe their work using Collaborative Speed Drawing with students in a collection of information literacy workshops for students enrolled in English 100 (first-year composition). Examples of student drawings from the workshops are examined to demonstrate the benefits and problems of this teaching method.


Drawing is an excellent low-tech teaching method that helps students demonstrate their competence (or ignorance) of information literacy concepts. This method enables librarians to clarify, reinforce, challenge or change the pictures in student’s heads that underpin their understandings of library instruction and information literacy.

Practical implications

This article provides ideas on how to use drawing in information literacy sessions or credit courses. Many of the ideas shared can be copied, enhanced or tailored to meet the needs of diverse lessons and students taking face-to-face instruction sessions.


This is the first paper in library literature that focuses on and promotes drawing as a teaching method. In doing so, it challenges the high-tech instruction imperative and invites librarians to explicitly consider the images behind the words and concepts used in information literacy and library instruction sessions.



Brier, D.J. and Lebbin, V.K. (2015), "Learning information literacy through drawing", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 45-67.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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