Divide and Conquer: A Not-So-Common Approach to Develop Information Literacy Programs


  • Andrea Wilcox Brooks Northern Kentucky University
  • Mary Todd Chesnut Northern Kentucky University


Information literacy, instruction, organizational structure, academic libraries


In 2012, the Research and Instruction (RIS) Department at Northern Kentucky University’s W. Frank Steely Library divided responsibilities into two areas: research assistance and instruction.   The department’s reorganization enabled instruction librarians to focus solely on growing the information literacy program.  In light of their success and the evolving role of information literacy in higher education, the authors sought to find out how many “RIS” departments in academic libraries were organized as two separate departments.  Results from a survey suggest the majority of libraries continue to organize under a traditional model, grouping reference and instructional work together.  This article highlights findings from the study and shares the experiences of splitting an RIS department, including what was gained and lost as a result of the new organizational structure. 

Author Biographies

Andrea Wilcox Brooks, Northern Kentucky University

W. Frank Steely Library

Assistant Professor

Coordinator of Information Literacy


Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky University

W. Frank Steely Library

Associate Professor

Library Informatics Lead Faculty