Cybrarian Extraordinaire: Compelling Information Literacy Instruction

Cybrarian Extraordinaire: Compelling Information Literacy Instruction

Cybrarian Extraordinaire: Compelling Information Literacy Instruction

Cybrarian Extraordinaire: Compelling Information Literacy Instruction


The effectiveness of active-learning approaches to instruction is well documented. What is needed now are proven, practical applications. Written for every librarian or teacher looking for such new and creative teaching techniques, Cybrarian Extraordinaire: Compelling Information Literacy Instruction fills the gap. Based on the author's own experiences, the book shares specific active-learning exercises created to make library instruction more engaging for a wide variety of audiences.

Specifically, author Felicia A. Smith illustrates the process of creating "edu-tainment" activities designed to serve serious instructional goals in a manner that is both fun and effective. Her book provides detailed examples of innovative ways to engage students in mandatory library classes. Among other ideas, it explores the use of e-readers as learning tools and describes the planning and possibilities involved in creating classes in online worlds, such as Second Life. Of course, it also explains the evolution of Smith's Pirate Librarian, offering exercises that reinforced the "library material as buried treasure" theme.


Many roads are available for people who choose to help students become information literate. These paths are always a little different, but the outcome is what the person in such a teaching role must become: a cybrarian extraordinaire, as I call it. This chapter will describe various roads to take in preparing to become a cybrarian. It begins with a description of Generation Xers (Gen Xers) and then describes the road to choosing the library and information profession as a career. This chapter also discusses different paths to follow before gaining that MLIS degree.

My professional motto is “Aliis inserviendo consumer,”
meaning “Consumed in the service of others.”

Many people use the terms cybrarian or cyber-librarian interchangeably. PCMag. com defines cyber-librarians (the title is often shortened to cybrarians) as “librarians who do most of their research and information retrieval via the Internet and other online services.” defines cybrarians—the etymology is cyber(“cybernetics”) and (li)brarian—as “librarians who use computers and the Internet for their work; any person who works doing online research and information retrieval, especially one who answers reference questions online.” defines extraordinaire, from the Latin word extraordinarius, as “extraordinary; uncommon; remarkable.”

“Cybrarian extraordinaire” is not the only term I’ve created. “The Pirate Librarian” is my term, and it has begun to be commonplace with the people in my library and university. One of the first questions people inevitably ask is, “Where did ‘the Pirate Librarian’ come from?” The answer is rooted in one of my first jobs as a Generation X librarian.

Gen X employees typically have been forced to attain the professional skills necessary to build career security in today’s skill-oriented yet economically unstable marketplace. Also, Gen Xers often find it necessary to relocate laterally early in . . .

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