CILN on the road

It’s no exaggeration to say that in the seven (only seven!) months since the official creation of the Cambridge Information Literacy Network, we as a community have achieved an extraordinary amount. In celebration of this, and to inform the rest of our library colleagues across the community about progress and plans for the future, we were treated to two CILN roadshows, organised by the members of CILN responsible for staff development and training.

The roadshows started with Libby Tilley and Catherine Reid, the Chair and Deputy Chair of CILN, and this timeline of events, from March 2017 to today:

A timeline of CILN so far; its development from the Task and Finish Group, through the CILN launch, to the future.

CILN developed out of a Task & Finish Group to explore library teaching and training, and directly from their recommendation that the library community would benefit from an information literacy framework. The timeline shows the major events that have happened since then: the development of this framework, a successful bid for funding from the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, the inaugural CILN Forum, in 2018 (details here), the launch of CamGuides (details here).

But these are only the headlines. So – fasten your seatbelts – this is what we’ve done!

The Master’s OER strand

Otherwise known as CamGuides! This is a pre-arrival, online resource for Master’s students with a taught element, regardless of discipline, background or mode of study, and ready for launch by the start of term in 2018. Helen Murphy reported on the development of the course, through the research, planning and development stages. Much more information about CamGuides is available elsewhere on this blog.

A slide detailing the purpose, output, team and honorary team of the CamGuides strand of CILN. Purpose: to design an online, pre-arrival resource for Master's students.

The Undergraduate OER strand

The goal of the Undergraduate OER strand, as Jenny Blackhurst and Catherine Reid outlined, is to produce a pre-arrival resource on academic skills and information literacy in time for the 2019 intake. While the content will be designed to be relevant principally for offer holders to Cambridge, it will be accessible to (and hopefully useful for) students interested in applying, or making decisions about where to apply.

Since the launch of the project in January, the team have been researching and reviewing the literature around undergraduate transition to university, exploring similar resources at other universities, gathering info, attending events (including LILAC and the CILN Forum). The next steps involve making use of the research done by other CILN strands, some research with our 2018 incoming freshers, discussion with A-level teachers and the Cambridge admissions office, and looking at integrating the undergraduate resource with the Master’s one.

A slide detailing the purpose, output and team of the undergraduate group. Purpose: to design a pre-arrival information literacy resource for undergrad students of any discipline.

Mapping student learning deadlines

Angela Cutts reported on the incredibly useful information gathering work being conducted by the Mapping Student Learning Deadlines slide. Their role is to gather information on all significant curriculum events for a student in any subject – such as hand-in dates, exams, etc. This is being collated and presented in two curriculum maps in Google Doc – one for undergraduates and one for Master’s students – and so far 510 events have been logged. This work will be so useful as library staff plan and schedule the teaching they offer, and the strand plan to make their work so far available to the library community in Cambridge in the next few weeks.

A slide describing the progress of the Mapping Student Learning Deadlines group - tracking preparation deadlines, submission deadlines, exams, placements.

CILN Online

The role of the CILN online group, led by Clare Trowell, was to explore and make recommendations for a potential suite of generic online resources that the library community might use, or that might form a just-in-time offering of support and teaching. Through exploring the offerings of other institutions, researching pedagogical approaches to digital education, thinking about technology and delivery, and learning from the CamGuides experience, the CILN Online group presented a report with recommendations for the development of online resources, tutorials and other learning objects.

A slide outlining the purpose, output and team of CILN-Online. Purpose: to scope what libraries could provide as a suite of information literacy tutorials

Mapping Competencies

The work of the Mapping Competencies group, led by Suzanne Paul and Lynne Meehan, was to identify existing training in Cambridge, learn about its intended audience, schedule, eligibility, and then map this training to the four competencies in the information literacy framework. The group have been talking to library staff from over 60 libraries in Cambridge (with a final push on the horizon) and are learning huge amounts about the ways in which College, and Faculty and Departmental Libraries, approach teaching and training. Most of the work we do, they say, is focused around Resource Discovery but there is definitely interest from library staff in developing teaching around the other competencies too. They also promised a report to the library community in the next few weeks.

A slide describing the goals and team of the Mapping Competencies group, identifying existing training and mapping it to the four competencies.

Inductions and Orientations group

The inductions and orientations group set out to survey all induction and orientation activity that happens in Cambridge at the beginning of the academic year. Having gathered that information (report to follow), they set about developing materials that Cambridge library staff might use in their inductions and orientations, and especially those staff whose induction is necessarily limited because of the students’ schedule. These materials – a handicam video, flyer, posters, Powerpoint slide – will all be circulated in the next few weeks.

A slide with details of the work of the inductions and orientations group - the purpose is to develop Cambridge libraries induction and orientation procedures


The Comms group, led by Andy Corrigan, was initially developed in response to a need to coordinate the launch of CamGuides but have achieved a huge amount in a very short space of time. Since their inception, they have come up with a Comms strategy to ensure that all of the CILN strands are communicating a consistent message, and to ensure the successful delivery and reception of CILN outputs, to manage risks, and much more. They’ve produced lots of CamGuides materials (posters, flyers, a banner, email signatures, and more), and are generating a key contacts list from across the university.

Slide detailing the outputs and team of the Comms group - a strategy, promotional material, key contacts

Staff development group

Last but not least, there’s the CILN Staff Development group, chaired by Meg Westbury. Their aim is to ensure that library staff across Cambridge have the skills, support and confidence to deliver the teaching and training that they want to!

The principal output of this group is intended to be a Teacher Librarian course, for any member of the library community, for beginners, for those with experience, for anyone in the community with an interest in teaching. It’s a 9-month, blended learning course. A third will be delivered online, and will focus on learning theories, developing a learning philosophy, and information literacy frameworks; the other two-thirds will be practical, around the design and delivery of teaching. The goal is to have this course, once developed, accredited by the HEA.


Thank you!

All of those providing updates agreed on one thing: their work, and any achievements, would not have been possible without their project teams, all of whom were thanked and praised repeatedly throughout. What we’ve managed to do in seven months definitely justifies the buzz around CILN and the enthusiasm within our community for the work that CILN might do. Needless to say, it’s an exciting time to work for the University of Cambridge libraries community.

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