Skip to main content
Pedagogy for critical reflection in librarianship: a suggested methodology and syllabus for teaching autoethnography and self-reflection
Association of Library & Information Science Educators (ALISE) (2014)
  • Richard A Stoddart, Oregon State University
Academic librarianship has an intimate association with narratives and stories in their traditional role in curating, caring for, and making collections accessible. Librarians also experience the intricacies and challenges of narrative inquiry through the qualitative research they undertake, oral histories they gather, reflective teaching practices they facilitate, and oral-traditions they interact with. Despite these intersections with reflection and narrative, academic librarianship, (and library sciences as a whole), have not fully incorporated their own narrative(s) within their professional practice(s). Academic librarianship has the ability but not the spaces to critically reflect in a holistic manner. Shadiow (2013) encourages us all to “recall, retell, and then scrutinize your stories”, through critical reflection. One potential method to accomplish this task of “scrutinizing our stories” is the reflective technique known as currere developed by curriculum theorist William F. Pinar (1976). Grumet (1976) suggests that currere allows us to put our “essences back into existence”. As such, the currere reflective methodology provides a pathway to putting ourselves back into librarianship much as it has done with other educators. This poster reports on a dissertation’s research-in-progress to develop a curriculum of structured critical reflection for practicing academic librarians. Professional and pre-professional reflection connects everyday librarianship to the philosophy, values, and ethics that shape our discipline. As such, ongoing reflection is an essential librarian competency to bridge thought and action; uncover personal values of librarianship; and ground librarian practice with library theory. This research is inspired by the autobiographical and self-narrative methodologies developed by curriculum theorists William F. Pinar and Madeleine R. Grumet (1976), well as the autoethnography work of sociologist Carolyn Ellis (2004). The curriculum will be deployed in Spring 2014 with a cohort of academic librarians. Participants will be led through a series of reflection exercises culminating in an overall reflection synthesis. For the dissertation, librarian reflections will be analysed for themes, connections, and discontinuity with LIS core values, theory and philosophy. The poster will detail the narrative research methodology, reflection curriculum, and include a syllabus draft. The intended outcome from this research is to suggest a process for librarian self-examination that illuminates connections to library philosophy and motivations for librarian practice. The closer we are able to examine the constellation of stories that comprise the librarian experience, the better able the LIS profession is positioned to understand its place within the overarching community and culture at-large. Critical reflection is essential for academic librarians to sustain their passion for the profession, build praxis, and engage library stakeholders in as authentic practitioners. References: Ellis, C. (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Grumet, M.R. (1976). Existential and phenomenological foundations. In Pinar, W., & Grumet, M. R. (Eds.). Toward a poor curriculum, (pp.31-50) Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co. Pinar, W., and Grumet, M. R. (1976). Toward a poor curriculum. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co. Shadiow, L. (2013). What our stories teach us: A guide to critical reflection for college faculty. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.
  • currere
Publication Date
January, 2014
Philadelphia, PA
The 2014 ALISE Conference WIP Committee. We received an unusually large number of submissions this year, resulting in an acceptance rate of approximately 50% for the 2014 Conference program.
Citation Information
Richard A Stoddart. "Pedagogy for critical reflection in librarianship: a suggested methodology and syllabus for teaching autoethnography and self-reflection" Association of Library & Information Science Educators (ALISE) (2014)
Available at: