CFP: Special Issue of WLN – Writing Center & Library Collaborations

We invite you to submit a proposal to a special issue of the WLN! For this issue, we are calling for papers that offer creative or innovative ideas for collaboration between writing centers and libraries. We are particularly interested in collaboratively-authored articles that involve both writing center and library staff.

Research and writing are both iterative, exploratory, and messy processes; they are intellectually rigorous yet often deeply personal and emotional. They provide students opportunities for self-discovery while learning about a particular topic or text, and they offer challenging experiences that can be eased by support and guidance from patient, generous mentors. With these shared challenges, joys, and values, librarians and writing center directors may find in one another kindred spirits as they work at the margins of academic divisions and student support. In addition, collaborations between writing centers and libraries capitalize on the fact that researching and writing are, for our students, deeply intertwined processes.

Scholarship on collaborations between writing centers and libraries testifies to a long history of working together. In 2005, James Elmborg and Sheril Hook edited Centers for Learning: Writing Centers and Libraries in Collaboration, which offers a series of case studies on these partnerships. Librarian Elise Ferer surveyed the literature in 2012 to map the forms that such collaborations take; she notes, “One of the most common suggestions from the literature was the training of tutors and/or writing center staff in library resources, research skills, and/or information literacy.” More recently, as described in a 2018 case study of Eastern Kentucky University, composition faculty, librarians, and writing center administrators collaborated to support information literacy development in first-year writing classes. While the value of collaboration between writing centers and libraries can seem self-evident, these partnerships can result in unexpected transformations, especially in an era of higher education marked by multimodal communication, open concept learning centers, and inclusive pedagogies.

For this special issue of the WLN, we invite papers that offer creative or innovative ideas for collaboration between writing centers and libraries. We are particularly interested in collaboratively-authored articles that involve both writing center and library staff. We encourage a wide variety of submissions, especially those that go beyond mere program description to investigate one or more of the following questions:

  • What is the value of co-sponsored events, workshops, or other activities between libraries and writing centers: for students, the institution, the libraries/writing centers?
  • How can shared spaces facilitate deeper collaborations and team-based student support between writing centers and libraries?
  • How can sharing or cross-training staff and student staff positions build bridges between our efforts and enrich professional development opportunities?
  • How can shared assessment initiatives create efficient, mission-driven, cross-campus approaches to evaluating and improving our work?
  • How can collaboration exemplify or enact the best practices of our programs, and highlight points of overlap between our missions and values?
  • What innovative strategies could be implemented to overcome difficulties that prevent collaboration?
  • What lessons can be learned from failed collaborations or those that occurred in less-than-ideal circumstances?

Schedule

  • Send article proposals (300-500 words) by November 15 to Bridget Draxler at draxler@stolaf.edu. Please provide full contact information with your submission. In your proposal, clearly describe your focus, the theoretical and research base from which you will draw, and your plans for structuring a 3000-word article or a 1500-word essay for a Tutor’s Column (Works Cited and Notes included in the word count).
  • Invitations to submit full articles will be issued December 15.
  • Manuscripts for WLN will be due March 15.

Works Cited

Elmborg, James K., and Sheril Hook. Centers for Learning: Writing Centers and Libraries in Collaboration. Association of College and Research Libraries, 2005.

Ferer, Elise. “Working Together: Library and Writing Center Collaboration.” Reference Services Review, vol. 40, no. 4, 2012, pp. 543–57.

Napier, Trenia, et. al. “A Collaborative, Trilateral Approach to Bridging the Information Literacy Gap in Student Writing.” College & Research Libraries, vol. 79, no. 1, 2018, pp. 120-     45.

Biographies

Bridget Draxler is the Writing Center director at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Maggie Epstein is a Research Librarian at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

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