Thursday, July 15, 2004

Redefining roles: librarians as partners in information literacy education This is by Williams, Helene & Zald, Anne. It was published in Information Research, Volume 3 No. 1 July 1997.

From the site:

As research and teaching increasingly rely on global networks for the creation, storage and dissemination of knowledge, the need to educate information-literate students has become more widely recognized. Students often lack the skills necessary to succeed in this rapidly changing environment, and faculty need training and support to make use of new technologies for effective teaching and learning. The current environment provides an opportunity for librarians to play a key role in the evolution of an integrated information literacy curriculum, in contrast to past efforts which were sporadic and rarely programmatically based.

In a 1989 report, the American Library Association states that "Information literacy is a survival skill in the Information Age" (1), and calls for a restructuring of the learning process itself, rather than the curriculum. Revamping the process would ensure that students:

- know when they need information
- identify what information will address a particular problem
- find the needed information
- evaluate the information
- organize the information
- use the information effectively in addressing the problem

There are many challenges inherent in changing the learning process, and often the results are mixed. However, since our patrons, collections, and campus connections span all disciplines, librarians are uniquely situated to create and foster new ways of teaching and learning information technology. According to Fowell and Levy, "Information professionals have the opportunity to take a leading role in developing and delivering the learning support strategies which will be appropriate to this new environment, acting as significant culture change agents in their institutions" (2). Perhaps our greatest challenge is to act on this opportunity, and create the necessary changes.

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