Monday, June 9, 2008

Information Literacy Part 1

Highs in the 90s 

I know there has already been a great deal written about Information Literacy and libraries, and I'll probably be repeating what others have already said, but I wanted to write down my thoughts before they're influenced by others. (As I read more, I'll be returning to this topic during the coming weeks -- summer can be a good time to catch up on these projects.) 

-This thing called Information Literacy should be out of sight of the student/patron. I think it should be 'behind the scenes' in the library. Students, particularly the Millennials, will not be attracted to the library in order to learn about something called information literacy -- they WILL be attracted to the library if it can help them find information they need. That the two may be interchangeable can  be kept quiet. Here's why I think this: to most students, doing research for an assignment is a chore. The less time spent on research and the more time spent directly completing the assignment, the happier the students. The idea that time doing research is part of an assignment is lost on most students. If there's a way to make the average student excited about the research process, I don't know what it is.

-Information literacy is not going to stick with the Millennials unless it's made directly relevant to assignments and needs. If it's portrayed as a theory that students should learn and follow, they won't do it -- they'll forget and take whatever haphazard shortcuts come naturally.  If information literacy is portrayed in the context of a successful process, they will replicate the process. I think learning the process rather than the theory is how information literacy will be deployed most effectively.

-Information literacy seems to end up most frequently in the lap of the instruction librarian, who transmits the process in classes. I'm sure there are other avenues to seamlessly integrate information literacy into the student research process. (Emphasis on seamless). I'll be keeping my eyes out for them and will record particularly stellar examples here. 

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