Information literacy (IL) is a key strategic objective for academic libraries. Many academic librarians are involved in designing, developing and delivering IL programmes, using both classroom teaching and e-learning methods. IL has also become a priority at institutional level and some universities and colleges have formal policies and strategies to integrate and embed IL in the curriculum.
IL interventions also happen informally at enquiry points and reference desks, when queries offer ‘teachable moments’ for library staff to help students develop information skills and understanding while solving their information problems. Research shows that such instruction features strongly in both face-to-face and virtual reference transactions, but few IL policies and strategies cover this frontline personalised IL support. Similarly, most discussion of staff training and development for IL education has centred on the teaching roles and pedagogical knowledge of professional librarians, with limited discussion of the competencies needed for frontline interventions by paraprofessionals or assistants.
This workshop promotes an inclusive holistic model of IL education and library workforce development. It will investigate the skills and knowledge needed by frontline staff to contribute effectively to the IL mission of academic libraries. It will focus on the learning support needed by students from different educational, social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, with particular reference to postgraduate students, as a group typifying this diversity. The facilitator will review IL interventions and library staff competencies discussed in the literature. Participants will discuss typical queries or problems presented by different categories of postgraduate students and then identify the skills, knowledge and understanding required by frontline staff to provide an appropriate service response. The skillsets identified will be compared with those of teaching librarians to determine similarities and differences in the types and levels of abilities needed. Participants will gain insights to inform IL strategies, service planning and workforce development.
Copyright (c) 2011 Sheila Corrall
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