This is the syllabus I drafted for the directed study. I’m providing it here for those who want to understand my motivations and intentions a little bit more, and for those who might want to jump down this rabbit hole as well.

There’s also a whole host of folks who helped me by providing input on the draft at various stages, to whom I am very grateful.

Working Title of the Study

An Investigation of the Role of Online Video in Librarianship and Library Outreach

Description of the Area of Investigation

This directed study will look at the intersection of online video content and librarianship to understand the medium’s role in:

  • Libraries engaging with the communities they serve;
  • Librarianship engaging critically with itself;
  • The performance of knowledge mobilization in librarianship.

It will also look at some of the inherent issues of incorporating a new technology in library service: privacy, access equity, copyright and intellectual property.

iSchool Graduate Competencies Covered

  • 1.1   identify, analyze and assess the information needs of diverse individuals, communities and organizations, and respond to those needs through the design, provision and assessment of information resources, services and systems;
  • 1.3   apply knowledge of current and emerging technologies to real world situations, taking into account the perspectives of institutional and community stakeholders;
  • 1.4   reflect in a critical and informed manner on individual and institutional practices and on the role of the information professions in society.
  • 2.1 articulate ideas and concepts fluently and thoughtfully in a variety of communication modes;
  • 2.2 assess, select and employ communication and instructional tools based on an understanding of diverse communicative goals and audiences.
  • 3.2 apply principles of effective management and decision-making to organizational issues and challenges;
  • 4.1 synthesize and apply existing scholarship from their field of knowledge and from related fields to identify and analyze significant theoretical and practical questions;
  • 5.1 conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the philosophy, principles and ethics of the profession, while maintaining a critical perspective on the role of the professional in society;
  • 5.2 advocate on behalf of the profession and the diverse constituencies that the profession serves;
  • 5.3 contribute to the advancement of the field through participation in professional development, teaching, research or community service.

Rationale for and Objectives of the Study


This directed study stems from the student’s personal involvement with the realm of online video as an educational tool, and a recognition that while there have been some successes in libraries engaging creatively online, the space is largely untapped and limited mainly to institutions with major sources of funding — not the reality for most libraries.

While the student has personally investigated the educational content side of YouTube for over 5 years and been an active participant in creating content on the YouTube platform discussing YouTube’s educational environment (YouTube EDU), a year ago he began creating content discussing different aspects of Library and Information Science. Originally, he began creating LIS content partly as a creative endeavor, and partly to explore more LIS concepts on his own to enrich his education. Over the past year however, he gained a broad, international audience: laypeople to LIS, prospective LIS students, information professionals, and academics within other fields all count themselves among his audience and hail from 80 countries worldwide. The student sees his channel as a form of (Library and Information) Science Communication, which has parallels with efforts in information and media literacy.

His involvement with YouTube EDU earned him an invitation to present at a miniature conference hosted by YouTube in Anaheim, California, in June 2018.  He gave a presentation to both YouTube EDU creators and employees of YouTube’s Family and Learning Office, which surveyed some of the research that exists around online video as an educational tool. In his free time he provides librarianship services (reference & research help) to an online community of YouTube EDU Creators.

Because of his involvement with LIS and online video, in July 2018 he was contacted by the American Library Association’s Manager of Grassroots and Advocacy Outreach to present at the upcoming ALA Midwinter conference on YouTube & Libraries, and to submit a panel proposal for ALA’s  2019 Annual conference on same (or similar).

The student intends to use this Directed Studies opportunity both to understand the topic of online video’s role for librarianship advocacy, and to prepare a presentation and supporting materials for the ALA presentations. He feels that this is in line with the iSchool’s research focus on New Media, and supports the broader mission of libraries to engage in creative, effective ways with their communities.


  • Survey the landscape of libraries who use online video to explore how/why they use it
  • Identify strengths & weaknesses in current library online video usage
  • Identify other cultural institutions that make use of online video usage, and their strengths/weaknesses
  • Identify the barriers to libraries engaging in more meaningful ways online
  • Understand how knowledge mobilization in librarianship is/can be done through online video
  • Prepare a toolkit that librarians can refer to which helps libraries understand and overcome barriers to online video usage
  • Prepare a draft presentation to be delivered at ALA Midwinter 2019.

Method of Investigation

  • Because of the possibility of limited information available on libraries and online video outreach, the student will expand the scope of a literature review to include work by other cultural institutions (e.g. galleries, musea, and archives).
  • The student will explore and document the existing online video landscape of same on YouTube, Vimeo, and other as-yet-unidentified platforms.
  • The student will reach out to professionals engaged in online video advocacy of their respective fields to discuss the topic of online video as an outreach tool.
  • The student will identify and document existing resource materials, if any, that are created to help content creators succeed.

Resources to be Used

Berman, E. (2018). Your technology outreach adventure: tools for human-centered problem solving. ALA. (to be published fall 2018). Selected chapters.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ewbank, A. D. (2015). Library advocacy through twitter: A social media analysis of #savelibraries and #getESEAright. School Libraries Worldwide, 21(2), 26.

Graslie, E. (2018). The Brain Scoop Resources. Retrieved from

Hossaini, A., Blankenberg, N., & ProQuest (Firm). (2017). Manual of digital museum planning. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

de León, C. (31 July 2018). Meet the youtube starts turning viewers into readers. New York Times. Retrieved from

Villa-Nicholas, M. (2015). Latina/o librarian technological engagements: REFORMA in the digital age. Latino Studies, 13(4), 542-560. doi:10.1057/lst.2015.43

YouTube. (n.d.) YouTube Creator Academy. Retrieved online from .

Description of the Product of Study

Recognizing the importance of making academic work accessible to those who can use it, and the value of an online environment as a means toward enabling such accessibility, the student will have prepared the following by the end of the term:

  • Weekly reflections in the form of blog posts highlighting the work done and readings covered in that week, at least 1000 words each (minimum 13,000 words collectively) and properly cited, written informally with information professionals in the field as the imagined audience. At the student’s discretion, he may create and upload a video of equal word length in place of a given post, with the professor’s advance approval.
  • A near-final draft of a presentation suitable for ALA Midwinter that incorporates highlights of the work done throughout the directed study.
  • A consolidated list of tools, recommendations, and resources that have been identified as useful for libraries and librarians who are interested in incorporating YouTube as a resource for their institution.