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Among the 2013 top twenty articles recommended by ALA Library Instruction Round Table, <http://www.ala.org/lirt/sites/ala.org.lirt/files/content/archive/2014jun.pdf> Hoffmann and Wallace’s “Intentional Informationists” is of particular interest. [See citation below] The case study depicts IL practice at California State University-Channel Islands, a young institution of ten years history (as of the time the article was written). Their goal is to shift “the emphasis from literate to informed, from passive receptors of information to intentional users and consumers of information.” The authors define an “intentional informationist” as a person with “the contextual, reflective and informational skills to identify information opportunities, tackle complex information problems and pitfalls, and provide solutions or considerations that do not just meet her individual needs.” (Full text can be retrieved in ScienceDirect)
Hoffmann, Debra, and Amy Wallace. “Intentional informationists: Re-envisioning information literacy and re-designing instructional programs around faculty librarians’ strengths as campus connectors, information professionals, and course designers.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 39.6 (2013): 546-551.
Released today, Ithaka S+R US Library Survey 2013 reports that library directors (chief librarians in CUNY’s term) were nearly unanimous in saying that teaching research skills and information literacy to undergraduates was a very important part of their mission.
One of the issues is practical: staffing, as we all face it and deal with it. Some libraries with more human resources cope better. We at York have to re-schedule or even cancel some IL sessions due to the shortage of staff. An encouraging trend revealed by the survey indicates ” Forty-two percent of respondents at baccalaureate colleges said they planned to expand staffing in instruction, instructional design, and information-literacy services over the next five years, as did 44 percent at doctoral universities and 53 percent at master’s-level institutions.” (quote from The Chronicle report on the survey).
Jennifer Howard of The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizes the survey results in Chronicle’s Wired Campus page:
What Matters to Academic-Library Directors? Information Literacy: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/what-matters-to-academic-library-directors-information-literacy/51005?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Transliteracy for Next Generation Students: Academic and Everyday
My colleagues Anamika Megwalu and Christina Miller are accepted to present one of the four breakout sessions at the Information Literacy Summit, sponsored by DePaul University Library and Moraine Valley Community College Library, on April 25, 2014 at Moraine Valley Community College (near Chicago). Here is the description of their presentation.
Title of Workshop: Next Generation Literacy: Connecting the Everyday to the Academic
Description: New technologies and ideologies, and the deconstruction of traditional boundaries in learning, have led to the confluence of ‘everyday’ and academic learning and the need for a re-conceptualization of what it means to be information literate. The presenters design their information literacy sessions, for college and high school students, with an eye toward helping students acquire transliteracy – that is, the ability to derive value and create transferable knowledge through the use of a multitude of digital platforms and information sources.
Attendees of this interactive workshop will participate in two exercises designed to foster transliteracy and change learning dispositions. Prof. Megwalu will present an activity based on Analogical Reasoning that encourages college students to begin their research work with familiar web sources such as Wikipedia, blogs, and social networking and file sharing sites, before they use academic databases. Prof. Miller will demonstrate a standards (AASL/CCSS)-based exercise used in a high school science research class; students learn about scientific research by reading about studies in the popular media before they use the library’s databases. Such activities encourage next generation students to exploit everyday information sources for their academic work.
James M. Lang, an associate professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College, questions the use of the popular term “lifelong learning” in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Advice section.
The author believes all human beings with working brains are lifelong learners, and takes on [the over-use of] “lifelong learning”, which, in his words, “accomplishes little and means less”.
Posting this does not mean I am totally for the author’s opinion, after all, motivating and educating lifelong learner is our ultimate goal. We ought to be open-minded. Reading different viewpoints helps us think and rethink and act upon our own mission.
One of the comments, presumably coming from a librarian, views our current practice in library instruction is “anti-lifelong-learning” due to its passive, course-driven nature, e.g. teaching the database that the faculty insists on. S/He went on to suggest that we should teach some true information literacy contents such as how to search Google and Google Scholar. (I would add open access databases for the same reason.) For this, I am totally for.
Here is the article link:
Enough with the ‘Lifelong Learning’ Already
by James M. Lang
It is wonderful for libraries to have UNESCO digital publications free-of-charge. It is particularly useful for those who are interested in issues in an international scope, whether in teaching or researching.
UNESCO Publications to Be Free Under Open License
The invention of the concept of Information Literacy leads to an evolution in library instruction. The changes are gradual (as what “evolution” is) but inevitable. Compare with pre-IL era, we can see the impact of IL on library instruction from many angles. The following two are examples.
The way of teaching
We teach. Academic librarians play duo roles, educator and provider. Although it is an on-going debatable issue, CUNY librarians carry faculty status.1 We teach library courses (credit-bearing or non-credit, required or elective), one-shot-workshops, or library orientations in the library’s classroom or lab. What’s new today? Embedded Librarianship and Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOC, Web 2.0 technology enabled method for distance learning), just to name two.2 IL extends our teaching activities from library-centric to outside classrooms and on the Web. While EL and MOOC are not in common practice yet on all CUNY campuses,3 it is important for us to keep up with the trending issues in academic librarianship.
The content to teach
We are used to offering bibliographic instruction, teaching library research skills, or conducting theme-based workshops. What’s new today? Computer applications 4 and bibliographic tools, just to name two. For example, when teaching a class on how to navigate in electronic book databases, we encounter various e-reader platforms and interfaces (say, an ebrary reader is different from an EBSCOhost eBook reader, or an add-on program vs. an xhtml page). Before standardization is in place, which I doubt, we will have to teach the class each way for each database.5 Looking at the trends in publishing business, we can expect electronic books to become an increasingly important component in our lesson plan in addition to electronic journals. As to bibliographic tools, it is interesting to see a fundamental shift, for better or worse, in teaching citation styles from manual contents to how to use bibliographic tools, e.g. RefWorks.6 In other words, we teach students how to utilize modern “tools” made by computer to automatically formulate citation styles. It surely saves a lot of time. What students of today skip is the direct process of the task on their own. Instead, they learn how to tell the computer to find answers for them, and we teach that. This reminds me of so-called “Google effects”, a phenomenon in information seeking behavior in the Information Age. “The Internet”, a research report concludes, “has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves.”7
We don’t necessarily do all the new things, nor do we have to agree to every new thing. However, one thing we should do is to keep up with the trends, because knowing and understanding contemporary academic librarianship issues helps us work better.
1 For those who are interested, you may attend LACUNY Dialogues: The History and Future of Library Faculty Status on Friday, May 10th, 10:00 am-12:00 pm at Graduate Center.
2 For those who are interested in EL, you may join ACRL (NY)/QBCC Webcast: Embedded Librarians on Tuesday April 30th, 2-3:30 pm. As to MOOC, LCC will have a lecture A Conversation about MOOCs on Friday, May 3rd, 2-4 pm.
3 York implemented EL for one academic year, but discontinued due to the shortage of librarians.
4 It is not really a “new” matter, I admit, but with much more involvement today.
5 At the time of this writing, Simon & Schuster announced that it would join HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House, Hachette, and Palgrave to sell ebooks to libraries. [See news release at <http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/Simon–Schuster-Joins-Big–in-Moving-Ebooks-Into-Libraries-89200.asp>]
6 FYI, another piece of news today is “Thomson Reuters Offers New EndNote Basic —Aimed at Mendeley Users” <http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/Digest/Thomson-Reuters-Offers-New-EndNote-BasicAimed-at-Mendeley-Users-89198.asp>.
7 Betsy Sparrow, et al. “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips.” Science 333 (5 August 2011): 776-778.
[Written on Friday, 4/26/2013]
Let’s see what others in the world are doing.
A report, released in January 2013, to ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force describes the following four British information literacy models currently in use in the United Kingdom:
– ANCIL (A New Curriculum for Information Literacy)
– SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries)
– National Information Literacy Framework Scotland (The Scottish framework)
– Information Literacy Framework for Wales (The Welsh framework)
The author, Justine L. Martin of Minnesota State University at Mankato, uses “ground theory” qualitative method to analyze documents and interview data. Also provided is “Mapping British Models to ACRL Information Literacy Standards” (Appendix 2), which I found informative.
According to the author, creating guidelines is one step in revising information literacy standards because IL is an evolving concept and, “as such, professionals will continue to adapt frameworks to meet the needs of today’s information users.”
Full report (51 pages) can be viewed at http://mavdisk.mnsu.edu/martij2/acrl.pdf