Case Studies, Cuts, and Critical Information Literacy


  • Reece Axl Steinberg Ryerson University Library



Post-secondary institutions are responding to cuts in government funding by prioritizing skills-building directly related to employment. Conservative governments ignore employers’ call for transferable skills in new graduates, and use funding cuts to pressure educational institutions’ focus. Librarians face the challenging task of offering instruction in both specific technical skills and transferable thinking skills in a limited time period. Critical information literacy is increasingly included as part of instruction in post-secondary libraries, in addition to technical use of library resources.

Case studies in library classes or workshops fit within required guidelines for career-focused learning and practical skills-building while providing opportunities for students to engage in analysis of information. Cases lend themselves well to progressive, learner-focused, and flexible modes of instruction. This paper includes practical examples of library instruction using case studies, and reasons to consider them a radical, relevant tool in post-secondary library teaching.