CONUL Information Literacy Seminar June 10th 2014 (Long Room Hub Trinity College Dublin.)
It’s been a while since I heard anyone mention Ranganathan’s five laws of library science. The first speaker at the CONUL Information Literacy Seminar, Chris Pressler from DCU brought us back to basics with his presentation What do librarians really think about-radical tradition in a time of change. In doing so Chris showed that in today’s ever expanding information world, Ranganathan’s fifth law, ‘The library is a growing organism’ has never seemed more relevant. Librarians think about (among other things) organizational change, student support, data, research, expertise & academic status. It was good to hear Chris say that the library would continue to be important as a physical space in spite of ever increasing access to e-resources. According to Chris, we as librarians need to be creative and take risks and think about different approaches to what we do. Be unexpected!
Ronan Maddden (UCC) and Liz Dore (UL) spoke about the key themes of LILAC 2014 which they attended in Sheffield this year. The message to future attendees at LILAC was to plan in advance and book sessions if possible.
The Pecha Kucha presentations are an integral part of the CONUL IL seminar and provide a useful overview of what is happening with IL in other libraries. This year’s sessions were lively and engaging, as ever.
The morning Pecha Kuchas began with a presentation from Evelyn Bohan on integrating the Library & IT helpdesks at NUI Galway. A need to cut costs and demand from students to have IT & library queries dealt with in one place were the main drivers for this change. Effective change management was seen as an important factor in the success of the implementation of the service.
The next two Pecha Kuchas dealt with gathering statistics. Laura Connaughton of NUIM spoke about Gathering meaningful statistics using KnowAll Enquire, an enquiry management software package. This was purchased by NUIM in 2012 and set up for several library departments as well as subject librarians. It retains information about individual queries thus building a bank of knowledge which can be used to answer future queries. A custom reports function allows you to sort queries by contact method or subject and identify busy times. An infograph can be generated which allows information gathered to be shared with users.
Lorna Dodd’s Lego themed presentation described how UCD library uses Unishare, a unique UCD product, to collect statistics. This links to student records as it works within the student hub system. Past queries from individual students can be retained by the system thus giving a holistic view of student activity. A major advantage of this system is that there is no direct cost to the library and no maintenance and IT issues.
The final Pecha Kucha of the morning came from Dr. Irina Ruppa-Malone the Academic Writing Centre (AWC) manager from NUIG. The AWC offers one-to-one tutorials on essay writing. Students bring their written work to the centre and an AWC tutor works with them to improve their writing. Group workshops and online courses are also available.
Ruth O’Hara, a PhD student from NUIM, provided a useful insight into libraries from the user perspective. Unsurprisingly, opening hours, finding material, access, study spaces and access to pcs were all areas of concern for the student. Ruth mentioned that students found a staff presence on the floors more student friendly than having to approach an information desk. She urged librarians to let people know what services we offer as students don’t always know.
The last session before lunch was by Mary Antonessa from NUIM. Mary presented some preliminary findings from her Doctoral thesis which she hopes to submit to the School of Education, University of Sheffield shortly. She discussed her work which takes information literacy out of Library and Information Science and positions it into Education. By doing this she explored how information literacy is more than a library skill and how it is a knowledge concept necessary for teaching, learning and research in Higher Education. She spoke about the value of critiquing information and how this is increasingly a challenge considering the vast online information landscape that staff and students continue to struggle to negotiate. She also spoke about libraries have a critical role to play as partners in the teaching and learning and research goals of our institutions.
The first presentation of the afternoon was from Irene Glendenning from Coventry University. Irene spoke about the IPPHEAE project. This is an EU funded project which investigated policies and procedures in place in Higher Education Institutions across Europe for detecting and preventing student plagiarism. Findings for Ireland indicated that poor quality systems or inconsistent use of systems in some institutions may have led to cases of plagiarism. The number of Irish students (77%) who selected both inability to cite and reference and difficulties in paraphrasing as reasons for student plagiarism, along with the finding that there was uncertainty as to what actually constituted plagiarism, suggest that there is plenty of work for librarians to do here.
Virginia Conrick presented the first Pecha Kucha of the afternoon. Entitled UCC first year student experience: where is the library? the presentation highlighted the evolution of the library undergraduate programme which is run for first year students in UCC library. The programme takes place over four weeks at the start of the academic year with four workshops on different aspects of IL.
Jessica Eustace-Cooke from TCD spoke about Professional use of social media, a tutorial which she developed for Nursing & Midwifery students. While social media has many uses professionally, inappropriate use can impact negatively on our professional lives. She advised separating your private and professional information on social media as well as respecting privacy, confidentiality and professional boundaries.
Jenny Collery’s presentation dealt with her experience of adapting a plagiarism tutorial from IT Tallaght and translating it into Irish for use in UCD. Jenny worked with Bord na Gaeilge and the School of Irish in UCD on this project. She used social media, professional lists and conferences to showcase the product. Bord na Gaeilge promoted it to the Irish language community. Two other colleges now link to the tutorial and it has had 216 pages views to date.
Catherine Cooke from DIT spoke about The move to Grangegorman campus and the challenges involved in adapting an old building for library use. The additional space in Grangegorman means that there will be more facilities available for the delivery of IL sessions.
The final Pecha Kucha of the day was an interesting presentation from Jack Hyland of DCU who adapted an interactive business information literacy tutorial for female only students in PNU Saudi Arabia.
Many thanks to the CONUL Teaching & Learning Committee for organizing this useful and informative seminar.