LOEX Conference Proceedings 2011

Document Type

Powerful Pedagogy: Teaching Techniques that Work

Publication Date



'Transliteracy' is a topic that is quickly spreading around the library world. However, there is little agreement about what, exactly, transliteracy is. This presentation will situate transliteracy within the context of library instruction as an enhanced approach to information literacy. Students are surprisingly information literate as they make effortless cognitive shifts between Facebook and e-mail, smart-phones and desktops, or text-messaging and speaking. Yet, they often hit a wall with library databases, indexes, or other research tools. Transliteracy addresses this issue pedagogically by emphasizing and harnessing the cognitive processes underlying preexisting media and information use. The presentation will begin with an overview of transliteracy, including its provenance, current debates, and exemplary cases. Next, I will discuss the multiple literacies encountered in the typical library instruction session and the problems most commonly faced. I will then propose the adoption of transliteracy as a methodological principle for designing information literacy classes, focusing on three core areas: making use of existing cognitive skills, separating information from its media, and multimodal media instruction. To this effect, the information literacy program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be presented and analyzed as an example of a library instruction program based in a transliterate approach.