Engaging Diverse Learners
Teaching Strategies for Academic Librarians
by Mark Aaron Polger and Scott Sheidlower
February 2017, 164pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-3850-7
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3851-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Have you ever felt that your library instruction sessions just go in one ear and out the other, or that you’re connecting to only a fraction of the students in your instructional programs?

This book connects teaching practical strategies and ideas with educational theories to give you techniques to use in the classroom to capture students' attention and engage them with instruction.

Drawing on the literatures of adult education and of teaching skills, Engaging Diverse Learners: Teaching Strategies for Academic Librarians presents a wide range of methods to improve how you teach. Coauthors Mark Aaron Polger and Scott Sheidlower argue that in order to grab–and hold onto—students’ attention, instructors must get their interest right from the beginning. The techniques they suggest explain how to take into consideration the range of different learning styles students may have, how to accommodate students with different English language skills or abilities, and how to successfully work with individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds or from different technologically adapted generations. The sections for each group address the key questions of identification (who are they?); how members of that group tend to react to libraries, librarians, and education; and how educational theories of that time affected students’ learning in that generation.


  • Describes engagement techniques that work even for shy librarians or instructors who aren't naturally comfortable with performance aspects of teaching
  • Covers working with adult learners at different age groups and students with different English language abilities, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, or with various levels of technological competence, not just the "traditional" undergraduate
  • Presents methods to overcome and win over those learners who initially react with "Why do I need another library lesson?"
Mark Aaron Polger is assistant professor and First Year Experience librarian at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. He has published and presented in the areas of library marketing, user experience, and instructional practices. He is most interested in how users experience the library through various promotional strategies.

Scott Sheidlower is associate professor and head of circulation, reserves, and archivist at York College, City University of New York. He has published several biographical articles relating to various topics from terrorism to American cinema. He is the coauthor (with Joshua Vossler) of Humor and Information Literacy: Practical Techniques for Library Instruction. Sheidlower has presented at several conferences as both an invited keynote speaker and a panelist on topics ranging from humor and teaching in the library to working with the disabled in library settings.


"Targeted at academic libraries, this book focuses on the problem of student distraction … The book’s grounded, common-sense advice makes it a good introductory text for academic librarians venturing into instruction or attempting to improve their pedagogy."—American Libraries, January 4, 2021
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