Monday, May 14, 2012

New Year, New Library: Information Literacy Takeover

I began working here in 2007, four years after my place of work (MPOW) switched from a college to a university. In the time I've been here, the library has not controlled the information literacy program. I repeat: for whatever reason, the library was not in charge of information literacy. The previous director taught it on occasion, but command and control lay elsewhere. I have often said that this place is unique, both for better and for worse. I have now been director of library services for just over 14 months, during which I've attempted to project and restore some sense of normalcy to the library, and I'm pleased to announce that information literacy is back where it belongs, in the library.

One school here has an information literacy requirement, the other schools allow for one-shot classroom instruction, in which a librarian has between 45 and 75 minutes to educate students, and sometimes faculty, on library resources, using Google effectively, and the role(s) of Wikipedia, among other topics. This program has been expanded to our first-year experience, and overall we librarians are doing many more one-shots, but our School of Professional Studies has the big prize: a semester-long, 3-credit course. In short, a normal college course that all must take, and starting in the fall of 2012, half the sections will be taught by librarians, as it should be. The other half will be taught by faculty who will have gone through an information literacy boot camp, taught by me. No longer, one hopes, will I have to bang my head against a desk when a student tells me they can cite an abstract as if they've read the article, or have to correct faculty in front of students, which is always awkward and painful.

How'd I do it? I used a basic template of talking points from the ARCL. To me, information literacy means, in part, teaching people to think like librarians. Who better to do that than a librarian? It also helps that I'm here, on campus, full-time, unlike adjuncts. I know the lay of the land, which gives me a leg up on the particulars of MPOW. Beyond my presence on campus, I've been trying to leave the library more often, building good working relationships with the Dean and Associate Dean of this particular school. They trust me with these car keys because of that. 

Having an entire semester to play with means I can get into transliteracy, social media, and a host of other goodies as well. I haven't taught a class since 2006. If you do something that works in a classroom setting, or in a content/learning management system, like Moodle or Blackboard, with regards to information literacy, I want to hear it. This is going to be fun.

* For the record, Nas over Jay Z. Way over. This song works here, but Jay's twelve best songs aren't as good as Illmatic. 

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