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Saturday, June 17

10:30am EDT

Framing Authority in Theological Libraries: Addressing a Potential Challenge for Information Literacy
As libraries work to incorporate the ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy into their instruction, theological institutions in particular face potential hurdles based on the various religious commitments of their communities. Perhaps the greatest difficulty comes with the Framework's first section: "Authority is Constructed and Contextual." Isn't such an assertion relativistic in a way that threatens religious faith? Whenever creedal, magisterial, scriptural, or other authorities are recognized as privileged within religious institutions, the ACRL Framework may be met with considerable student anxiety. In these situations, librarians need to be equipped to help reduce anxiety before their efforts at information literacy training can be successful.

This paper will first discuss how authority in research is similar to and different from authority in a religious context, in order to assuage some anxiety (perhaps even among theological librarians themselves) about the supposedly relativistic commitments of the Framework. Next, it will offer some resources for information literacy training in academic contexts where the authority question remains a sensitive one. Finally, it will propose some ways that the Framework itself could actually be used to stimulate new and creative theological reflection within religious communities.

avatar for Evan Kuehn

Evan Kuehn

Theological Librarian, Trinity International University

Saturday June 17, 2017 10:30am - 11:20am EDT
Oakwood A

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