LIRT's Top Twenty for 1997 

By the Continuing Education Committee, Janet Sheets, Chair 

Members 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):  1,5,40.  

Continually integrating 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): 43-45. 
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 97): 60-67.  
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 tours.  
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 are covered.  
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 
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.  
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.  
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 their classes. 
Moore-Jansen, Cathy.  "What Difference Does It Make? One study of Student Background and the Evaluation of Library Instruction." Research Strategies  15 (Winter 97): 26-38. 
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): 687-707. 
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 about computers.  
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 evaluated. 

LIRT News, June 1998. Volume 20, number 4.
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