Peabody Library’s Melissa Mallon authors book on the role of librarians in digital learning

Melissa Mallon, director of Peabody Library and director of teaching & learning, has written a new book entitled The Pivotal Role of Academic Librarians in Digital Learning. The book establishes the library’s role in supporting student learning in an increasingly digital environment by exploring theoretical foundations and sharing concrete examples.

“As my career has progressed, I have become increasingly interested in how students engage with information, particularly as they develop and enhance the research and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in their academic careers and beyond,” said Mallon. “Academic librarians have such a crucial role to play in this area.  Our expertise in information management and research puts us in a perfect position to partner with faculty to teach information and digital literacy skills such as the ability to critically identify reliable resources, thoughtfully consume information, and participate in a broader scholarly conversation through the production of new content. These sorts of things have been a standard part of many academic libraries’ teaching missions, but I am particularly interested in how this mission is accomplished in a digital environment, as well as how libraries can connect their teaching to their university’s learning goals and strategic plans.”

The book focuses on strategies and methods for demonstrating the academic library’s value through strategic campus partnerships, creation of learning objects such as video tutorials, research instruction designed to facilitate student collaboration, and participation in assessment of learning on campus.

“Vanderbilt University’s Digital Literacy Committee is working on ways to ensure all Vanderbilt students graduate as digitally literate and informed citizens. I’m very happy that the Vanderbilt libraries are playing a crucial role in this important initiative. Vanderbilt’s libraries already lead in the area of digital learning initiatives, from creating technology-enhanced learning spaces in our libraries to embedding librarians in Brightspace to hosting Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons – some of which ended up in the book!”

Encompassing a broad range of subject matter, each topic falls within the scope of learning in the “digital age,” with particular emphasis on engagement with online learning environments—including social media—to teach students critical thinking and research skills as well as to position the academic library as an integral part of the modern learning environment.

“Melissa Mallon leads our teaching and learning outreach efforts in the libraries. In this new book, she shares her wisdom and best practices, reaching a national audience and enhancing not only her reputation, but also the reputation of Vanderbilt’s research libraries,” said Valerie Hotchkiss, University Librarian.

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