WILU History


The Workshop for Instruction in Library Use, commonly known as WILU, is an annual Canadian conference where delegates meet to discuss timely topics related to information literacy.

In May 1972, five Canadian participants at a conference on library instruction in Ypsilanti, Michigan met and discussed ways to share their experiences with other Canadian librarians.

Within a few months, the following members formed a steering committee:

  • Boris Chumakov (York University)
  • Richard Dewey (Sir George Williams University, now Concordia University)
  • Lucie Greene (University of Western Ontario)
  • Patricia Grieg (University of Western Ontario)
  • Sheila Laidlaw (University of Toronto)

Based on enthusiastic comments received from participants at a workshop that occurred in August 1972, a basic set of guidelines was established:

  • The conference initially targeted staff and librarians from universities and colleges in Ontario and Quebec (today WILU attracts librarians from across Canada and the US, and beyond)
  • A committee was to be formed with representation from several different institutions (today, oversight passes from one hosting institution to the next)
  • The workshop would (and still does) exist independently from library organizations, in order to facilitate “grass roots” participation at the lowest possible cost
  • The workshop would emphasize experiences and learning (today, WILU blends practical experience and learning with meaningful theory and research)
  • “Outside” speakers were meant to be kept at a minimum and input sought from faculty members and students for whom library instruction was designed
  • The registration fees were (and still are) set as low as possible, with campus accommodation when possible (major contributions from hosting institutions as well as corporate sponsors have traditionally helped to keep registration fees low)
  • The conference would operate on a cost-recovery basis, with seed money passed from one host to the next (these standards continue today)

WILU continues to evolve and redefine itself as Canada’s premier information literacy conference and now attracts attendees and speakers from Canada and the world over.


Past Hosts

2016 University of British ColumbiaIntersections

Emily Drabinski: Intersections with Power: Critical Teaching the Library Catalogue
E. Paul Zehr: Closing Keynote
2015 Memorial Universitysea change

Char Booth: Information Privilege: Narratives of Challenge and Change
TA Loeffler: Cultivating a View Towards Change
2014 Western Universitye-magine the possibilities

Craig Gibson; Judy Jacobson: Opening Keynote
Megan Oakleaf: Closing Keynote
2013 University of New BrunswickSynchronicity – The Time is Now

Bonnie Stewart; Dave Cormier: MOOCs, Rhizomes, and Networks: Information Literacies in a Time of Complexity and Abundance.
Terry Reilly: Changing the Conversation
2012 Grant MacEwan UniversityVigour, Thrift and Resourcefulness

Michael Eisenberg: What College Students Say About Conducting Research in the Digital Age: Implications for Libraries, Librarians, and Higher Education from Project Information Literacy
Adria Vasil: Decoding Greenwash
2011 University of ReginaLearning Under Living Skies

Brian Thwaits: The Big Learn: Smart Ways to Use Your Brain
David Bouchard: Aboriginal Success: A Crack in the Door
2010 McMaster University – Design, Play, Learn

Dr. James Paul Gee (Arizona State University): A New Paradigm for Learning in the 21st Century (And Where Libraries Fit In)
Dr. Steven J. Bell (Temple University): Exploring the Instruction Mystery: Designing our way past a wicked problem
2009 Concordia UniversityReflections

Dr. John M. Budd (University of Missouri): Where do we go now? Some research directions in information literacy
Heidi LM Jacobs (University of Windsor); Selinda Berg (University of Windsor): Looking outward, looking within: Reflections on information literacy praxis
2008 UBC OkanaganInformation Literacy Uncorked

John Willinsky (Stanford University): La Culture de l’information
Alane Wilson: Their perceptions, our reality: The information-seeking habits and preferences of college and university
students
Judith Peacock (Queensland University of Technology); Nancy Goebel (University of Alberta, Augustana): Alice and the Carpenter present: The Time Has Come to Talk of Many Things: Act 1 – Your Future Through the Looking Glass
2007 York UniversityTeach Every Angle

Rick Salutin: Thinking versus knowing: Where does information come in?
Patricia Iannuzzi (University of Nevada): Changing learning, changing roles: Collaboration at every angle
Fay Durrant (University of the West-Indies): Culture, context and content: Vital issues in ensuring information literacy and effective e-citizenship
2006 Acadia University – Charting a Course for Instruction

Dr. Patricia Senn-Breivik (Nehemiah Communications): Information literacy and lifelong learning: The time is now!
Dr. Jeremy Shapiro; Ms. Shelley Hughes (Fielding Graduate University): If everything is information, is information literacy possible?
Dr. Toni Samek (University of Alberta): Information ethics on our global library streets
2005 University of Guelph – A Kaleidoscope of Possibilities

Bill Johnston (University of Strathclyde)
Sheila Webber (University of Sheffield)
2004 University of Victoria – Theory Meets Reality

Dane Ward (Illinois State University): The collaborative quest for compelling information literacy instruction
Trudi Bellardo Hahn (University of Maryland): Connecting information literacy to the research process
2003 University of Windsor – Bridging the Gap: Teaching Across Boundaries

Dr. Clara Chu (University of California, Berkeley): Information literacy within a multicultural critical framework
2002 University of New Brunswick – River Runs: Trends in Library Instruction

Dr. Heidi Julien (University of Alberta): Miles to go before we sleep
2001 Carleton Unversity – Teaching Using Learning in a Pluralist Setting

Dr. Tim Pychyl (Carleton University): What’s our vision for teaching & learning?: Addressing systemic barriers to information literacy instruction
2000 University of Western Ontario – Literacy for the Infollennium

Hannelore Rader (University of Louisville): If we teach them will they learn?
Dr. Michael Atkinson (University of Western Ontario): Teaching and learning in the 21st century
1999 McGill University – Process of Integrating Library Instruction into the Curriculum in Partnership with Our Teaching Colleagues

Carol Kuhlthau (Rutgers University): Collaboration in the learning process
Gloria Leckie (University of Western Ontario): Fostering a pedagogy for information literacy
1998 Queen’s University – Libraries at the Heart of Learning

Cerise Oberman (SUNY-NILI Hannelore Rader): Library liaison program
1997 University of Montreal – Gateways to the Information World

Thérèse Laferrière: Learning to search and create co-operatively
1996 Wilfrid Laurier University – Anticipation: Library Instruction for Changing Times

Roma Harris (University of Western Ontario): Development of library instruction and its place in a changing learning environment
1995 Université Laval
1994 University of Ottawa – Making Connections

Richard Rancourt (University of Ottawa): Librarians can do it with style
1993 University of Toronto – Library Instruction: Strategies for Success

Lorna Marsden (Wilfrid Laurier University)
1992 University of Windsor – Skills for Change

Patricia Breivik (Towson State University)
1991 Concordia University – From Yesterday to Tomorrow

Maureen Pastine (Southern Methodist University): Library user education: Where have we been? Where are we going?
1990 Brock University – The Challenge of the 90’s

Constance Mellon (East Carolina): Library anxiety: Instruction librarian as therapist
1989 Bishop’s University & Champlain Regional College – The Art of Library Instruction

Evan I. Farber (Earlham College): How I became ‘Bibliographic Instructor of the Year’
1988 University of Waterloo & Wilfrid Laurier University – Teaching and Learning in the Present Tense

Stanley Benson (University Centre, Tulsa) & Sheila Laidlaw
(University of New Brunswick): The library’s status in undergraduate instruction: Far from the heart of things
1987 McMaster University & Mohawk College – Re-Creating the Image

Panel with Tom Eadie, Tanis Fink; Jacelyn Foster – Immodest proposals: Alternative futures for instruction
1986 John Abbott College – Connections Linking the Library Instruction Network

R. Smith (Concordia University) & L. Melamed (consultant): Learning style theory: Implications for helping others learn
1985 University of Western Ontario & Fanshawe CollegeReaching Out: New Directions in Library Instruction

Moderator, George Robinson (University of Western Ontario): Panel on faculty communication and the role of library instruction
1984 Queen’s University & St. Lawrence College – Coping with Crisis: Strategies for Survival

Margot McBurney (Queen’s University)
1983 Carleton University & Algonquin College – Exploring the New Technology for Library Instruction

Fraser Taylor: Videotex and related technologies
1982 University of Toronto – A Learner-Centred Approach to Teaching

Liz Burge: How adults learn
1981 University of Guelph – Approaching Instruction Effectively

Librarians in the 1980’s: Skills and Technologies
1980 McGill University – Staff Development, Computerized Services, Part-time and Non-traditional User, Marketing

M. Scott (McGill University)
1979 University of Waterloo – Teaching the Use of the Library: Instructional Strategies That You Always Wanted to Know But Were Never Taught

Panel of 3 librarians from the University of Michigan: Instructional strategy for teaching the use of the library
1978 University of Ottawa – Approaches to Library Instruction: Do You Know What Your Colleagues Are Doing?

Anne McQuade (Carleton University): Teaching Skills
1977 York University – Marketing the Library, Selling the Library as Part of the Teaching Learning Process
1976 Queen’s University – The Librarian as Teacher: Planning, Teaching, and Evaluating Library Programs

Hugh Munby
1975 McMaster University – Printed Materials

Monika Jensen (Metro Toronto Library Board)
1974 University of Toronto – Audio-Visual Techniques

Panel with B. Squires, L. Wise, D. Todgham, I. Melanchuk: Matching Media & Message
1973 McGill University & Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) – Communication and Learning Theory
1972 University of Western Ontario – General Overview of Orientation

F. Eugene Gattinger: Confessions of a Library Orientator