History of WILU

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 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

2014  – Western Universitye-magine the Possibilities

Craig Gibson & Trudi 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 O’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 UniversityDesign, 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 UniversityCharting 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 GuelphA Kaleidoscope of Possibilities

Bill Johnston (University of Strathclyde)
Sheila Webber (University of Sheffield)
2004 – – University of VictoriaTheory 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 WindsorBridging the Gap: Teaching Across Boundaries

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

Dr. Heidi Julien (University of Alberta), “Miles to go before we sleep…”
2001 – Carleton UniversityTeaching 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 OntarioLiteracy 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 UnversityProcess 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 UniversityLibraries at the Heart of Learning

Cerise Oberman (SUNY-NILI Hannelore Rader), “Library liaison program”
1997 – University of MontrealGateways to the Information World

Thérèse Laferrière, “Learning to search and create co-operatively”
1996 – Wilfrid Laurier UniversityAnticipation: 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
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1994 – University of OttawaMaking Connections

Richard Rancourt (University of Ottawa), “Librarians can do it with style”
1993 – University of TorontoLibrary Instruction: Strategies for Success

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

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

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

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

Evan I. Farber (Earlham College), “How I became ‘Bibliographic Instructor of the Year’”
1988 – University of Waterloo & Wilfrid Laurier UniversityTeaching 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 CollegeRe-Creating the Image

Panel with Tom Eadie, Tanis Fink & Jacelyn Foster, “Immodest proposals: Alternative futures for instruction”
1986 – John Abbott CollegeConnections 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 CollegeCoping with Crisis: Strategies for Survival

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

Fraser Taylor, “Videotex and related technologies”
1982 – University of TorontoA Learner-Centred Approach to Teaching

Liz Burge, “How adults learn”
1981 – University of GuelphApproaching Instruction Effectively

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

M. Scott (McGill University)
1979 – University of WaterlooTeaching 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 OttawaApproaches to Library Instruction: Do You Know What Your Colleagues Are Doing?

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

Hugh Munby
1975 – McMaster UniversityPrinted Materials

Monika Jensen (Metro Toronto Library Board)
1974 – University of TorontoAudio-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
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1972 – University of Western OntarioGeneral Overview of Orientation

F. Eugene Gattinger, “Confessions of a Library Orientator”