Document Type


Publication Date


Presented at:

Joint Meeting of the Music Library Association & Theatre Library Association, March 1-5, Online.


This session features a librarian and faculty member sharing their collaboration on the “Visual Research Task,” which is an assignment designed to provide information literacy instruction with an emphasis on visual resources to theatre majors in a course on collaborative theatre production. Students are given a scenario in which they act as the assistant to a theatrical designer, working with limited information, must assemble a curated portfolio of ten images to support the design or conceptualization for a theatrical design, with descriptions and citations. Each student is given a different topic from a wide range, including for example, “royal pageantry,” “bureaucratic government office interiors,” or “abbatoirs.” Students engage with the information literacy concepts of creating and modifying research plans and designing and modifying search strategies, which address aspects of the frames of “Research as Inquiry” and “Searching as Strategic Exploration” within the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. For the instruction, students come to the main library, several weeks into the semester, to meet with the fine arts librarian for an introduction to the image resources available in the library and using electronic resources. Students then have “workshop” time for the remainder of the 2-hour class period to discover, locate and assess images in order to compile a portfolio of the images the student believes are the most “theatrically compelling” depictions of their selected topics. The session will feature the librarian’s point of view on how the course fits into the University Libraries’ overall plan for information literacy instruction for theatre majors, as well as the faculty member’s perspective on the efficacy of combining research skills with artistic evaluation in a 2-course script analysis sequence. Both presenters share pedagogical insights from several semesters of work with students within the context of this course.