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Information Literacy Instruction on the East Coast Current Practices in Atlantic Canadian Academic Libraries Barry Cull, Information Services Librarian.

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Presentation on theme: "Information Literacy Instruction on the East Coast Current Practices in Atlantic Canadian Academic Libraries Barry Cull, Information Services Librarian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Information Literacy Instruction on the East Coast Current Practices in Atlantic Canadian Academic Libraries Barry Cull, Information Services Librarian University of New Brunswick 33 rd Annual Workshop on Instruction in Library Use (WILU) June 16 th Victoria, BC, Canada

2 1.Study results –Study group & research method –General views and attitudes –Teaching practices –Relationships –Challenges and future predictions 2.Why do research? –Why should IL practitioners conduct research? –3 basic requirements: time, money, advice

3 Study group & research method… In-person in-depth interviews summer librarians, 6 academic libraries, 3 provinces Wide range of universities Different sizes and types of libraries Range of types of IL programs Same list of 29 questions to all Coordinators asked additional 15 questions Common themes pulled out

4 Librarians general views and attitudes… Passionate about teaching Instruction/student focused Were not [teaching] on the side. Its part of our job. Instruction is what our job is all about in an academic library. Ultimately all library services are public services. Were here for the students.

5 Librarians general views and attitudes (cont.) Self-reflective instructors Teaching is an art…something you always work on. Anything can be successful if youre willing to stop and look at it….Its just thinking about it. Im not perfect. I try to be, but Im not there yet. In some situations, Im still scared out of my mind.

6 Librarians teaching practices… Instructional objectives 1.Teach students general research strategies 2.Teach students how to find information in various sources 3.Teach students how to critically evaluate the quality and usefulness of information (Julien, 2000 & 1997) Focus on teaching transferable skills Helping students become independent users

7 Librarians teaching practices (cont.) View of their educational role Instruction most often follows Carol Kuhlthaus instructor role, in which students in a specific course are taught information source(s) in response to a specific assignment. (Kuhlthau, 1996, ) Would like more of a counselor role, involving long-term interaction and guidance. Individual instruction often most effective.

8 Librarians teaching practices (cont.) Active learning often used It is important to try and get students involved….If they work together on something, and report back, you get them talking without singling themselves out. You have to [remain flexible and responsive in class] and see what happens….This creates the opportunity for students to see that you really are there for them.

9 Librarians teaching practices (cont.) Student assessment 1 library conducts widespread assessment Others do selected classes Several use only brief end-of-class student evaluation forms In rushing in to come up with these measures of success, we forget the role of [IL] in the overall intellectual activity at the university.

10 Librarians teaching practices (cont.) Pedagogical competence A pedagogically competent teacher communicates the objectives of the course to students, is aware of alternative instructional methods or strategies, and selects methods of instruction that, according to research evidence (including personal or self-reflective research), are effective in helping students to achieve the course objectives. - Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Murray, 1996)

11 Librarians teaching practices (cont.) Informal teaching training Only 4 librarians received training during MLIS Only 3 received other formal teaching training Conferences and workshops Colleagues, reading, trial and error

12 Librarians relationships… Head University Librarians Question support and motives: I question if the support is as passionate as mine. [IL] is supported and promoted by administration, as long as it does not require additional resources. [The director] sees the value of being involved in the curriculum centrally [but if this were] because of collections [s/he] would be equally happy.

13 Librarians relationships (cont.) Other teaching faculty Positive working relationships with some, complaints of negative attitudes of others: Hot and cold. A lot of support from a few. Verbal support [but not] a lot of action.

14 Librarians relationships (cont.) University administration Viewed as key stakeholders: To make [IL] pervasive through a department or faculty, you need to have administrative support. At this point, our only connection is through the faculty. If [they become more supportive of IL] then hopefully we can sell it to higher administration.

15 Main challenges: time and workload Time within the curriculum for IL IL prep/delivery workload Ive given up on my previous answer of incorporating more web-based instruction. We need more librarians.

16 Future predictions Increased need for IL skills in Google generation More personal instruction will be required Need to continue to promote ourselves We spend a lot of time with students and faculty, saying, Youre good, but were great. You may be able to find something in half an hour, but well show you how to find something in a few minutes and how to do it for the rest of your life.

17 Need for further research & action Student assessment Head librarians: what do they really think? More communication with teaching faculty and university administration We need more librarians.

18 Why should IL practitioners conduct research? Adding to sparse Canadian literature Benefits for individual: Change of focus Better understanding of research of other faculty Aid perception of librarians as scholars and full academic partners

19 3 requirements: time, money & advice Sabbaticals, annual study leaves, regular workload? A librarian shall have the right to devote up to 40% of normal workload to the pursuit of research, study, educational and other scholarly activities. - Canadian Association of University Teachers Model Clause on the Scholarly Activities of Academic Librarians (CAUT Librarians Committee, 2003) Internal grants, library and other associations, PDA? Local research office, local faculty members, librarians

20 Sources Canadian Association of University Teachers Librarians Committee Model Clause on the Scholarly Activities of Academic Librarians. Available: [May 27, 2004]. Julien, Heidi. Information Literacy Instruction in Canadian Academic Libraries: Longitudinal Trends and International Comparisons, College and Research Libraries 61, no. 6 (November 2000): Julien, Heidi, and Gloria J. Leckie, Bibliographic Instruction Trends in Canadian Academic Libraries, Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 22, no. 2 (July 1997): Kuhlthau, Carol Collier Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Murray, Harry et al STLHE Ethical Principles in University Teaching. Available: [April 22, 2004].

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