A Collaborative Approach to Information Literacy in the Freshman Seminar This article on information literacy is by Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay. She is the Head of Library Instruction at Washington State University. She also is an adjunct professor for the University of Maryland University College. In addition to her MLS, she holds an MA in comparative literature.
This article discusses the collaboration between the Libraries and the Freshman Seminar Program at Washington State University. Many goals related to information literacy competencies as defined by the library and higher education associations are met through this partnership. The librarians have an active role with the seminars and also take part in the peer facilitator training process.
Anyone who has taught or participated in a library instruction session knows that teaching students research skills without a specific context is usually a waste of time. Without a particular assignment or project, students are not motivated to learn and often do not come away with a clear understanding of what resources the library can offer. Working with a freshman seminar over the course of a semester has been rewarding for the students, who have learned both concrete research skills and higher order critical thinking and information literacy skills, and also for the librarians. Playing a part in the training process for the undergraduate students who actually deliver the freshman seminar has been another successful venture. Through another course, GenEd 300, librarians spend eight weeks teaching information literacy and research skills to a group of students who need that information not only for their coursework, but also for their upcoming jobs as freshman seminar peer facilitators. This collaboration between the librarians and the Freshman Seminar Program has provided the librarians with the opportunity to teach motivated learners, and the material can be seen having an immediate, real impact.