LIRT's Top Twenty for
By the Continuing Education
Committee, Janet Sheets, Chair
of LIRT's Continuing Education committee worked all year reading and evaluating
journal articles on instruction. Then we met in January of 1998 to
discuss 37 articles recommended for consideration by committee members.
From that number, we selected the 20 that we considered the best written
and the most likely to interest all librarians. Among the 20 described
below, you will find that 10 are concerned with electronic resources, 3
with evaluation of instruction, 2 with information about tours and general
orientation, 2 with information literacy, and 1 each with information-seeking
behavior, design of instruction, and cooperation between school and public
libraries. Also among the chosen 20, you will find that 9 focus on
instruction at institutions of higher education; 2 focus on public libraries;
and 3, on school libraries. In addition, 3 articles deal with instruction
across types of libraries, and 3 articles are applicable to all libraries.
A comparison of this year's
LIRT's Top 20 list with lists from the recent past reveals some interesting
trends. For the past two years there were no articles written from
a public library perspective and only 3 each year concerned school libraries.
The number of articles on electronic resources has continued to grow from
6 in 1995, to 8 in 1996, to this year's 10.
The Continuing Education
Committee would like to recommend the following articles to you as useful
for stimulating your thoughts on the instruction that you are doing and
for sharing the instruction experiences of your colleagues.
Anderson, Mary Alice.
"Getting Off to a Solid Start." Library Talk 10 (March/April 97):
technology into the curriculum from the beginning of the school year is
the practice and instructional philosophy of Winona Middle School Media
Center. The goal is the learning of transferable skills and concepts
and the method used is total immersion. The students use technology
primarily for productivity and information gathering. This is a solid
article on what is possible and effective for schools.
Balas, Janet. "Training
the Internet Trainers." Computers in Libraries 17 (March 1997):
The advent of the Internet
has catapulted public librarians into the library instruction arena.
This article correctly characterizes the current situation: with
minimal expertise and no supporting resources, public librarians are struggling
to develop training modules. The author identifies several excellent
sites containing Internet training materials, some of which will be useful
even for experienced instruction librarians.
Burford, Vanessa. "Public
Library Instruction: a Novice's Experience." Research Strategies
15 (Spring 97): 106-111.
A successful user education
program was developed in a large public library by a college graduate with
no library work experience or training. The program consisted of library
tours and basic instruction in use of the library. A tour information
form and guidelines for those requesting tours are appended.
Daugherty, Timothy K., and Elizabeth
W. Carter. "Assessment of Outcome-focused Library Instruction In
Psychology." Journal of Instructional Psychology 24
(March 97): 29-33.
A pretest and posttest design
was used to evaluate effects of bibliographic instruction in a core psychology
course. Items such as skill development, library usage, and attitude
change were assessed. The research yielded results that indicate
that co-development of BI between the faculty member and librarian may
be an effective approach to library instruction. These authors suggest
that cooperative development of assignments and instruction would lead
to positive measurable outcomes.
Drueke, Jeanetta, and Richard
Streckfuss. "Research Skills for Journalism Students: From Basics
to Computer-assisted Reporting." Research Strategies 15 (Spring
The Journalism department
and the Libraries at the University of Nebraska researched, prepared, and
taught a three-part unit to enable journalism students to use basic print
and electronic sources and to be ready to work with computer-assisted reporting.
The authors surveyed business editors at 300 newspapers to learn which
research skills would be useful to journalists. The units involved
an active learning element following the presentations by the instructors.
This was a well planned and integrated program.
Dupuis, Elizabeth A. "The Information
Literacy Challenge: Addressing the Changing Needs of Our Students
Through Our Programs." Internet Reference Services Quarterly
2 (1997): 93-111.
This article discusses how
the information literacy challenge is addressed at the University of Texas
at Austin. An analysis of the variety of student experiences and
needs is followed by a discussion of information literacy skills.
The program offered at UT-Austin includes basic Internet instruction classes,
a wide array of electronic library services, hands-on training rooms, and
numerous Internet-based resources of high quality and diverse content.
An extensive bibliography of works consulted is included. This article
describes a comprehensive program of instruction at a large university.
Evans, Beth. "Building Bridges
between New York City Public High Schools and a College." Research Strategies
15 (Spring 97): 289-99.
A specially funded project
between Brooklyn College Library and two high schools provided instruction,
a college OPAC terminal at the high schools, and college library access
to high school students in selected classes. The organization of
the project, its aims, and the methods used are discussed. The article
concludes with responses of the students and of the college. A program
that crosses type of library makes this article interesting.
Frantz, Paul. "Library
Rats: Overcoming Resistance to Libraries." Research Strategies
15 (Winter 97): 48-51.
This article presents an
alternative to the orientation tour that focuses on how and where to do
research. With the goal of turning some freshmen into "library rats,"
the new tour emphasizes the variety of useful and enjoyable activities
that can be performed in an academic library. The students are shown
where the best study areas are, where to read home town newspapers, where
to surf the net, and the library is presented as the place to hang out
between classes. Although not a research study, this article can
inspire and motivate librarians toward immediate improvement in their orientation
Geffert, Bryn, and Robert Bruce.
"Whither BI? Assessing Perceptions of Research Skills over an Undergraduate
Career." RQ: Reference Quarterly 36 (Spring 1997): 409-417.
The authors present a research
study of college seniors that measures the impact of course-integrated
BI programs. The conclusion that BI contributes to improving student
confidence in library use is gratifying. Even more useful is the
complete questionnaire included at the end of the article, which could
facilitate replication of the study at any library.
Hansen, Carol, and Nancy Lombardo.
"Toward the Virtual University: Collaborative Development of a Web-based
Course." Research Strategies 15 (Spring 97): 68-79.
Statewide curriculum development
for library instruction produced a course that has been offered at ten
colleges and universities throughout Utah. Called the Internet Navigator,
it is a Web-based one-hour credit course focusing more on information literacy
and less on mechanics of the Internet. Purposes of the course, a
description of the course, discussion of how the course is set up and run
Kafai, Yasmin, and Marcia J
Bates. "Internet Web-Searching Instruction in the Elementary Classroom:
Building a Foundation for Information Literacy." School Library Media
Quarterly 25 (Winter 97): 103-111.
This article describes a
project between a graduate library/information science/education seminar
and a variety of classrooms from first through sixth grade in which the
students were taught use of the World Wide Web. Six different class
projects, the teaching
Latrobe, Kathy, and W. Michael
Havener. "The Information-Seeking Behavior of High School Honors
Students: An Exploratory Study." Youth Services in Libraries
10 (Winter 1997): 188-200.
methodology used in each,
as well as the results obtained are succinctly presented. This article
is an excellent introduction and inspiration for anyone teaching elementary
students about the Internet.
In this study of how teenagers
seek information, students were asked about lifestyle, health, and relationship
information needs as well as course-related research. The students
reported that they use not only libraries but peers, parents, television,
and government agencies. Although validity requires replication with a
more diverse population, the conclusions already provide guideposts for
designing library instruction. The enthusiasm demonstrated by students
for information relevant to personal needs is a key to maintaining student
interest. The central role of people as information providers has
implications for both library instruction and library staffing.
Laverty, Corinne Y.C.
"Library Instruction on the Web: Inventing Options and Opportunities."
Internet Reference Services Quarterly 2 (1997): 55-66.
This article describes not
how to teach the Web, but how to use the Web to teach. Information is provided
on utilizing the Web for desktop publishing, library tutorials, subject
pathfinders, and how-to guides. Brief descriptions are given for
instructional homepages, the use of the Web to create overheads and the
creation of backup systems for instruction when connections fail.
Lipman, Cynthia, and Marcia
King-Blandford. "Innovation and Collaboration Brings Forth a New
Approach to Bibliographic Instruction--Teach the Teachers." Journal
of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Information Supply
8 (1997): 21-31.
Shifting their efforts from
teaching the student to teaching the instructor, librarians at the University
of Toledo redesigned their approach to the English Department's composition
classes. Classroom instructors are invited to attended a 90
minute training session, talk with a librarian one-on-one and are provided
with a resource office filled with instructional materials developed for
Moore-Jansen, Cathy. "What
Difference Does It Make? One study of Student Background and the Evaluation
of Library Instruction." Research Strategies 15 (Winter 97):
A six-year study of students'
backgrounds and their evaluation of library instruction showed the greatest
correlation between subject interest (anthropology in this case) and evaluation
of library instruction. There was little correlation between evaluation
of instruction and demographics, previous library instruction, or prior
use of library resources. This study is important for its scope and
methodology and for the length of time the course was studied.
Neuman, Delia. "Learning
and the digital library." Library Trends 45 (Spring 1997):
The author presents ideas
related to using the digital library as an environment for school-based
learning. This scholarly review article presents research on the
digital library as a venue for higher-level learning, information studies
on students' interactions, and research from instructional technology.
Snavely, Loanne, and Natasha
Cooper. "The Information Literacy Debate." Journal of Academic
Librarianship 23 (January 97): 9 -14.
The use and meaning of the
term "information literacy" is covered in this interesting discussion.
The strong and widespread disagreement over the term is presented, and
the possibilities for reaching agreement are discussed.
Turkle, Sherry. "Seeing
Through Computers: Education in a Culture of Simulation." The
American Prospect 31 (March/April 97): 76-82.
Written not for librarians,
but for the general reader, this article takes a look at teaching about
computers and computer literacy today. In doing so, the author explores
fundamental issues of what people need to understand and thus what must
be taught about computers, about the way they work, and about computer
applications. The changing exhibits at Boston's Computer Museum are
used as examples of the change in the prevailing way of approaching teaching
Vishwanatham, Rama, Walter R.
Wilkins, and Thomas Jevec. "The Internet as a Medium for Online Instruction."
College & Research Libraries 58 (September 1997): 433-444.
In order to reach remote
users, an introductory course on the Internet was conducted over the e-mail
network of the University of Illinois at Chicago. This article presents
the methodology of developing the course, design issues in online instruction,
and course content organization, as well as the pre and post-course survey,
and the results received.
Warmkessel, Marjorie M. and
Joseph M. McCade. "Integrating Information Literacy into the Curriculum."
Research Strategies 15 (Spring 97): 80-88.
With cross-library cooperation,
a two-week course in information literacy models a resource-based learning
approach, using active and collaborative learning. Taught to teachers
and librarians in elementary and secondary schools by a librarian and a
professor of industry and technology, the course provides, by means of
an evaluation rubric, detailed criteria by which each project would be