28 Sep 2012

Information literacy #irelibchat summary - Weds 26th Sept

A big thank you to all those who took part in Wednesday's #irelibchat on Information Literacy. There was a great turn out and discussion on the night, with #irelibchat trending in the top 10 topics in Ireland. Below is a quick summary of some of the main topics and issues discussed:

A number of people raised the idea that information literacy instruction needs to begin much earlier than third level ("The damage is already done"). Many agreed however that embedding instruction and classes can help to make up some of this lost ground. There was also discussion of the role that IL plays in the transition between 2nd and 3rd level for students and one of the participants has just completed an MSc dissertation on this topic using the revised SCONUL model.

In terms of the practicalities of instructional design and delivery, several participants said they use the ANCIL model to inform their approach to IL instruction and/or use problem based enquiry and group work to facilitate learning: ("I try to identify my users info skills in class through engagement, discussion & challenges. Try to tailor instruction around that"; "Meeting the user in the middle is key for me"; "Have developed tailored programme for our students as it's a very specialist area"). The problem of IAKT syndrome (I already know that) and students' apathy towards IL instruction was also familiar to many ("There's a large number of students who are unaware that they lack infolit skills"; "Need to show students that infolit does make a difference: marketing the library and services").

The value of one-to-one sessions was also highlighted, though flagged as being an obvious problem from a resource-management / cost-benefit point of view. In some settings there are simply too many users to allow this service to be offered on a wider scale (academic libraries in particular), but in other sectors (public libraries, corporate libraries) it can be a very successful model to help guide users through the learning process.

One of the most interesting topics was the question of whether librarians should also have professional teaching qualifications. Some agreed that previous teaching experience and qualifications have significantly helped them to understand their users better, but others raised the point that many lecturers do not have teaching qualifications so librarians should not feel they need them to justify their teaching role. Most agreed that all those involved in teaching (including lecturers) should probably have teaching qualifications / training (but that is a separate issue!).

A great idea was suggested by @acarbery of a mentorship programme for librarians to help them to develop a teaching identity, and the importance of building communities of practice for teaching librarians was also raised.

For those who have not had enough of tweets about teaching, you can join in with the very active #edchatie discussions on Mondays.

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