Humor and Information Literacy

Practical Techniques for Library Instruction

by Joshua Vossler and Scott Sheidlower


How could humor be appropriate in the academic library? After all, "being funny" doesn't contribute to education nor professionalism. Actually, using humor while teaching is a method proven to be effective in helping students learn and can also prevent educator burnout.

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Cover image for Humor and Information Literacy

August 2011

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 145
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarian's Instructional Role/Information Literacy and Instruction, College Level and Above

Learn how to successfully employ practical techniques that infuse information literacy instruction with humor.

How can humor be applied by academic librarians to better teach information literacy? And why is humor such an effective teaching tool? This book provides a cross-disciplinary review of the literature regarding use of humor in tertiary education settings, and specifically in library science; explains its effectiveness for capturing and maintaining student attention when covering necessary subjects; and presents the invaluable personal experiences of instruction librarians across North America who regularly use humor in the classroom.

Humor and Information Literacy: Practical Techniques for Library Instruction addresses the subject in both a scholarly and a practical manner. The first section of the book contains original multi-disciplinary essays covering humor in the fields of communication theory, education, library science, psychology, and even stand-up comedy. The second section documents practical techniques that practicing librarians use to teach information literacy with humor, accompanied by commentary by the authors.


  • Dozens of practical examples of teaching information literacy using humor
  • Contributions from more than 30 professional academic librarians who share their methods of teaching information literacy using humor
  • A multidisciplinary bibliography reflecting humor in the fields of communication theory, education, library science, performance theory, and psychology
  • A webliography of funny YouTube clips relevant to libraries and information literacy


  • Provides an unprecedented discussion of humor and information literacy instruction in the field of library science
  • Showcases nearly 50 techniques used by an international group of practicing librarians for incorporating humor into information literacy instruction at a college level
  • Brings together the fields of library science, education, psychology, communication theory, and performance theory within a single multi-disciplinary volume
  • Presents information that can make teaching more effective and more enjoyable
Author Info

Joshua Vossler is information literacy and reference librarian at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC.

Scott Sheidlower is assistant professor in the library at The City University of New York, York College. He is the head of information literacy at York College as well.

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