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Information Literacy Toolkit

posted Jun 17, 2012, 6:46 PM by jj pionke
This week, I am back in the Central Library.  A good chunk of my week is going to be spent on what I have dubbed the Information Literacy Toolkit.  The main reason I came to the National University of Singapore was to help in the redevelopment of the Information Literacy Program.  A key issue in ILPs everywhere is that they tend to be the same: a Librarian gets up in front of a classroom, brings up the databases, and shows the students how to access them, there also usually searching tips involved as well and then the students are on their way.  What's the problem with this?  Mostly, students don't retain the presentation very well.  There are a whole host of factors of why they don't retain the information but some of it is just how the information is presented to them.  The Toolkit is designed to give Librarians ideas and examples as to what they could do in a classroom.  In short, that they don't just have to get up in front of the classroom and lecture at the students for an hour on the databases.  There will always be ILP lectures, but part of the toolkit is providing various tools for students to revisit material in a way that helps them learn the best.

IL can be a touchy subject.  Librarians are not typically trained in teaching and they tend to be more introverted whereas teaching is very much an extrovert type of profession.  IL can also be thought of in terms of stepping on the toes of the English teachers because many of the things that IL talks about, like doing research, should, in theory, be covered by English courses.  The problem at hand is that why it might be covered in English courses, it's not being covered in a way that is most conducive to student learning or even research.  This is no one's fault but it does have to change.  At any rate, the Toolkit is supposed to help the Librarians here make productive changes to their ILP so that students are being reached in better ways that help them retain and use the IL that they are taught.