From information experts to expert educators? Academic librarians' experiences with perspective transformation and their teaching identities
As information formats, needs, and access change, post-secondary students need to be prepared to make sense of the morass of content they encounter – for academic, professional, and personal purposes. Academic librarians can serve a key role in meeting these needs, especially if they see themselves as educators. In this research, I sought to examine whether academic librarians reported experiencing the phenomenon of perspective transformation around their senses of themselves as professionals; I particularly examined whether they reported developing an identity as an educator. In this sequential explanatory mixed methods study, participants responded to a modified validated survey instrument; I then conducted follow-up interviews with a small sub-set of these respondents to further understand their experiences. From these data, I assert that academic librarians report having such experiences, and I argue that they can develop teaching identities as part of their professional self-concept. From this basic understanding, I also examined what factors influenced academic librarians’ experiences in this transformation process; they indicated that different kinds of interpersonal relationships and hands-on experiences were key to shaping how they viewed themselves as educators. I used more advanced statistical analysis through one-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) and linear regression to further consider whether relationships existed between demographic variables and the factors that academic librarians reported as influences in their perspective transformation processes. The areas where these statistically significant relationships exist offer jumping-off points for future researchers interested in exploring academic librarians’ transformative experiences around teaching.
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