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Situating information literacy in the disciplines: A practical and systematic approach for academic librarians

Robert Farrell (Lehman College, City University of New York, New York, USA)
William Badke (Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this article is to consider the current barriers to situating in the disciplines and to offer a possible strategy for so doing.


The paper reviews current challenges facing librarians who seek to situate information literacy in the disciplines and offers and practical model for those wishing to do so. Phenomenographic evidence from disciplinary faculty focus groups is presented in the context of the model put forward.


Disciplinary faculty do not have generic conceptions of information literacy but rather understand information-related behaviors as part of embodied disciplinary practice.

Practical implications

Librarians dissatisfied with traditional forms of generic information literacy instruction marketing will find a method by which to place ownership on information literacy in the hands of disciplinary faculty.


The article offers a unique analysis of the challenges facing current information literacy specialists and a new approach for integrating information literacy in the disciplines.



Robert Farrell would like to acknowledge the contributions of CUNY LILAC members to this project, particularly the efforts of the most recent members and associate members of LILAC’s Articulation Subcommittee (Jonathan Cope, Julia Furay, Jesus Sanabria, Shawnta Smith-Cruz, and Amy Stempler). He would also like to acknowledge Curtis Kendrick, University Dean for Libraries and Information Resources, for his long-standing support of LILAC and its work.


Farrell, R. and Badke, W. (2015), "Situating information literacy in the disciplines: A practical and systematic approach for academic librarians", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 2, pp. 319-340.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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