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Information Literacy in Public Libraries – the lifelong learning agenda Gareth Evans Senior Manager – Libraries Caerphilly County Borough Council.

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Presentation on theme: "Information Literacy in Public Libraries – the lifelong learning agenda Gareth Evans Senior Manager – Libraries Caerphilly County Borough Council."— Presentation transcript:

1 Information Literacy in Public Libraries – the lifelong learning agenda Gareth Evans Senior Manager – Libraries Caerphilly County Borough Council

2 Caerphilly CBC Context Public Libraries located within the Communities and Leisure Division of the Education Directorate Merged in September 2007 with Community Education Section (this also includes Early Years provision, Youth Service, and Community Centres) Caerphilly Library Service includes 19 static sites, 1 community mobile, 2 specialist housebound vehicles, and a School Library Service that also delivers to Schools in Blaenau Gwent

3 Experience to date in Information Literacy work ‘Gateways to Learning’ Lead authority (Objective 1) 2005-2007 Information Skills work with: –Blackwood Comprehensive School (linked to Welsh Baccalaureate and OCN accreditation) –Information Skills for Later Life (CyMAL and 50+ partnership supported) –Caerphilly Time Trek –Digital Literacy initiative - Let’s get Digital (50+ Partnership)

4 Gateways to Learning “The ethos of Gateways to Learning is to help individuals to provide their core information and ICT skills. Information Literacy refers to the set of skills required to locate, evaluate and use information effectively. To be information literate a person needs to recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information ” [Katherine Hughes Associates – Gateways to Learning formal Evaluation Report 2008]

5 Gateways to Learning 56 Libraries (Public, FE, HE and Prison participated) 7000 Gateways customers registered Over 600 people gained additional qualifications in ‘Information skills’Over 600 people gained additional qualifications in ‘Information skills’ 2000 people took part in taster sessions Information Literacy course provision delivered largely on one to one basis with a focus on areas of interest that the learner selected

6 Divergent provision post Gateways to Learning Information Skills with Blackwood Comprehensive School –Focused on adapting the Gateways OCN materials - developing a guide to library resources, both paper and electronic that would suit a younger audienceOCN materials –35 students completed the OCN certificate Level 1 ‘Using Sources of Information’ Information and Computer Skills for Later Life –Focused on developing joint student achievement record that met the needs of Adult Education partners and the Inspiring Learning for all Frameworkstudent achievement record Inspiring Learning for all Framework –Tailored course provision for 50+ age group ‘how to find’ style –54 learners completed the information literacy OCN

7 The challenge…as previously defined? “Low achieving learners are far more easily satisfied by the library’s services and appear to be far less aware of whether material is relevant or out of date.” (p.12) “The public library is in a key position to find ways of engaging their [learner’s] interest in ICT and teaching them to use it. However, to maximise its potential as a resource for all learners the public library needs to help its users to interpret their needs in terms of services offered, particularly the ‘invisible’ services offered through ICT. Only if this can be achieved will more of those without qualifications be admitted to the information society.” (p.14) Bartle, P.R and Low, C. (2002) “Achievers Lifelong Learners” “the UK has made little progress in developing Information Literacy as a key discipline of the information society” Webber, S. and Johnston, B. (2003) “Information Literacy in the United Kingdom: a critical review”

8 The Challenge in 2009…reaffirmed? House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee.Digital Inclusion in Wales:Thirteenth Report of Session 2008- 09. 2009. Barriers to Digital Inclusion – “lack of skills and understanding to gain access to the Internet or to use electronic communications and may not understand what would be opened up by having that access”

9 Role within Welsh Public Library Standards and Libraries for Life Strategy 2008-11 “Develop people’s skills in accessing information and using resources to assist them make informed decisions (p14). Libraries for Life : Delivering a Modern Library Service for Wales 2008-11 “Information literacy sessions for users (defined as formal or informal assistance to users in developing or enhancing their use of library services and facilities) – part of WPLS 4 part (ii) seen as part of the expected ICT services and facilities on offer” Lack of sufficient clarity or expectation in terms of actual outcome – how does CyMAL actually measure compliance on this part of the standards?

10 The Lifelong Learning Agenda Delivering skills that work for Wales: A new approach to Adult Community Learning “The policy also recognises that there are other routes into community based learning, such as those supported in local art galleries and libraries” (p1) Learning through Life: Enquiry into the future of Lifelong Learning (NIACE 2009) Notion of Public Libraries playing a key role within ‘Local Learning Exchanges’ The Learning Revolution. Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. 2009 Importance of informal learning as stepping stone to further participation, better qualifications and employment opportunities – with libraries seen as key venues and as important partners to opening up access to learning

11 The Good… A key lesson learned from the Gateways project was to frame the course offer around subjects that were of genuine interest – ‘learner centred and chosen’ or populist and highly accessible topics Use of the Open College Network framework for course design allowed for considerable flexibility and interpretation by tutors and library trainers and importantly tied into areas that adult education colleagues could work within including their funding and accreditation routes Linking course delivery and outcomes to broader reading and resources in the library offered added value and longevity for the learner Collaborating with Adult Education partners and those from FE and HE provided the opportunity to signpost learners on to other lifelong learning opportunities

12 The Bad and challenging! Staff perceptions and reluctance to embrace a training role in delivering information literacy to end users remains a major hurdle to be overcome Embedding information literacy into everyday library work and the core offer more effectively – we must support customers to develop the key skills to interpret and better access the resources we provide, in a holistic as well as targeted sense Community tutor versus library trainer? Or does it matter if the end product is properly focused and delivers real awareness and skills in handling information and library resources Caerphilly Library Service projects at present are small to medium in scale, scope, and impact with funding dependent on external grant aid

13 The Future? Information Literacy provides a ready made route into more accredited recognition of the public library role supporting lifelong learning Single Plan for children and young people – offers considerable opportunities under core aims 2,4, and 5 Link to Health, Older Persons strategy, Employability, Citizenship, Digital Inclusion, and Basic Skills Agenda’s Collaboration remains the key – we cannot achieve this on our own or in isolation, we are part of the wider learning process both formally and informally Staff development and embedding the core nature of information skill training as part of what we do, and who we are, remains a key battle that will enable or disable our ability to sustain a realistic offer

14 The Future? As a sector we need to be very clear about what information literacy is not – as much as what it is Regional and central government need to be more clear in their vision, goals, and expectations of how Information Literacy should be delivered through and with Libraries As has been put forward in Scotland via their Framework for Information Literacy there needs to be strong curricular and qualification based spine upon which Information Literacy delivery can grow – this requires a clear vision and purposeful collaboration between Welsh Assembly Government Departments and across the learning sectors Funding for accredited learning and progression is also key – without this formal recognition among adult learning will be very difficult to achieve

15 The Caerphilly Future… Local ‘Caerphilly’ Vision for the Future [from 2009-14 Development Plan]: –Implement a Borough wide ‘Information Literacy Strategy’. The overriding aim will be to improve the information handling skills of all County Borough residents regardless of their age or abilities. Key Action: Develop a four-pronged approach encompassing, information skills that support:- Children, parents and carers with Homework Teachers and pupils in the class room (via the School Library Service) Young people (supported by the Council’s Youth Service team) Improved employability among adults

16 And finally a diagram! Information Literacy Digital/Media Literacy Health Literacy Citizenship/ Employability Skills Key/Core Skills A need for information The resources available How to find information The need to evaluate results How to work with or exploit results Ethics and responsibility of use How to communicate or share your findings How to manage your findings CILIP Definition for Information Literacy Job seeking Applying online Being a responsible citizen Democratic process – how to participate Community participation Work place relevance Understanding my condition Wider treatment option Well being / wider health Where to go for help Prevention rather than cure Utilising new technology Understanding new media online forms and information Where to look online Digital TV, Mobile Helping with my homework Widening learning Intelligent reader Skills to take part ‘be included’

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