LIRT's Top Twenty

By the Continuing Education Committee, Mari Ellen Leverence, Chair,

During 1999, members of the LIRT’s Continuing Education Committee, Jonathan Helmke, James Millhorn, Janet Sheets, Susan Bissett and Mari Ellen Leverence, read and evaluated many articles on library instruction and information literacy. At the ALA Midwinter meeting in January 2000, we chose these as the best of 1999. We tried to include all types of libraries in our literature search throughout the year. Although many of these articles are written from a higher education perspective, we made an effort to choose articles from school libraries, public libraries, and foreign libraries as well. We broadened our search to include library instruction articles regarding the Internet, students with disabilities and Distance Education—three very up-and-coming topics in libraries for the future. This is the first year that an online journal was included in the list, a trend that will undoubtedly continue into the new millennium. The Continuing Education Committee recommends the following articles as the best of 1999 on library instruction and information literacy.

Applin, M. B. “Instructional Services for Students with Disabilities.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 25.2 (1999): 139-141.

Brief but informative commentary on the challenges posed to offering bibliographic instruction for students with disabilities. The principal point is that few librarians are adequately equipped and trained to cope with disabled students. The author emphasizes that although adaptive technologies can be expensive, there are ways to receive grants and subsidized support for such devices. The author argues that training need not be elaborate but should sensitize staff to the special needs of people with disabilities. In the classroom she further advocates what is dubbed multisensory teaching, which does not single out the disabled. All parties can benefit from teaching that involves all five senses.

Brazell, Beckie. “The Library Laboratory: An Experiment in Library Instruction with Students at the Denver Public Library.” Colorado Libraries 25.1 (1999): 22-27.

This article chronicles three years of inception of an idea; from funding to the construction of the library lab. The lab is heavily utilized and has been a great investment in furthering information literacy. It is a complement to what school media centers were offering.

Bruce, C. “Workplace Experiences of Information Literacy.” International Journal of Information Management 19.1 (1999): 33-47.

The seven faces of information literacy in the workplace are discussed here. Gives definitions with examples and is most interesting for the quotes from “real” people.

Callison, D. “Key Words in Instruction Analysis.” School Library Media Activities Monthly 15.8 (1999): 37-40.

Another key article by Daniel Callison on various information literacy skills. Has an excellent description of the analysis process. This important skill is most often missed when teaching information literacy skills. Beneficial for all librarians.

Cheuk, B. “A Marketing Approach to the Design of Education Programs for Undergraduates.” RSR: Reference Services Review 27.1 (1999): 62-68.

Are present instruction programs effective for undergraduates? The author says no and presents models for understanding those needs. This offers an interesting use of marketing theory and literature as applied to library instruction. Learning theories and ideas for designing better programs are also discussed.

Denton, L. “Library Instruction in K-12 Schools.” Virginia Libraries 45 (1999): 13-14.

This is a succinct but pertinent article about library instruction and the mission of the library media program, i.e. to “ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information.” Collaboration shapes library instruction and addresses skills needed for proficiency in three areas --information literacy, independent learning, and social responsibility.

Dewald, N. “Web-Based Library Instruction: What is Good Pedagogy.” Information Technology & Libraries 18.1 (1999): 26-31.

Sound pedagogical principles have informed traditional face-to-face library instruction and the same traditional pedagogy have been used in web-based library instruction. The unique capabilities of the web can be used in combination with good pedagogy to create active and creative online learning experiences for students. Exemplary web-based library instruction sites are selected.

Farber, E. “College Libraries and the Teaching/Learning Process: a 25-Year Reflection.” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 25.3 (1999): 171-177.

This discusses the instructional role of the college library and how it has changed over the last 25 years. Now library instruction has a key role in the institution’s educational programs. The convergence of bibliographic instruction and the electronic sources of information has resulted in widespread success. It is a fitting historical accounting, crucial to our field.

Fourie, Ina. “The Use of CAI for Distance Teaching in the Formulation of Search Strategies.” Mousaion 17.1 (1999): 48-75.

Computer–assisted instruction has proved to be an effective method of teaching in Library and Information Science practices such as online searching and end-user instruction. The emphasis on the Internet and lifelong learning skills stresses the need for training. This describes how the University of South Africa designed CAI tutorials for distance teaching in searching strategies.

Gresham, K. “Experiential Learning Theory, Library Instruction, and the Electronic Classroom.” Colorado Libraries 25.1 (1999): 28-31.

Academic librarians’ methods of designing and providing library instruction have changed a great deal in the last 10 years due to “wired classrooms” and networked student workstations. Article focuses on Kolb’s theory of experiential learning and its implications in the electronic classroom.

Johnson, D. “ A Curriculum Built Not to Last (Creating a New Information Skills Curriculum At Mankato Area Public Schools.” School Library Journal 45.4 (1999): 26-29.

Media specialists in a elementary school district created an information-literacy curriculum. They determined that students learn best when skills are taught as part of the classroom’s content areas (rather than isolated in the school library). Minnesota passed standards requiring students to be information and computer literate in order to graduate. A nine-step process is delineated and specific learning outcomes are outlined for grades K-6.

Kamhi-Stein, L. and Stein, A. “Teaching Information Competency as a Third Language.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 38.2 (1999): 173-179. Many librarians teach students for whom English is a second language. A model for teaching these students is presented together with the principles underlying the model, its implementation, and its application to broader contexts. They find that the challenges posed by teaching library concepts and practices to ESL students shed light throughout the whole continuum of library instruction. Close collaboration between librarian and teacher is emphasized.

Leckie, G. and Fullerton, A. “Information Literacy in Science and Engineering Undergraduate Education: Faculty Attitudes and Pedagogical Practices (at the University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario).” College & Research Libraries 60.1 (1999): 9-29.

In-depth research article about information literacy in science and engineering undergraduates at a Canadian University. The research tool used was a survey investigating faculty perceptions of their students’ information literacy skill vs. their own pedagogical practices related to such skills. The article concludes with suggestions for the design of library instruction for science and engineering students.

Meyen, E. and Tange, P. and Lian, C. “Developing Online Instruction: Partnership Between Instructors and Technical Developers.” Journal of Special Education Technology 14.1 (1999): 18-31.

Instruction via the Internet is becoming the educational delivery mode of choice. It is accessible to many working adults, and to others who need to “hook up” during nontraditional times. These authors address the challenge of distance education provision of services. They investigate the question whether educators who possess the curriculum knowledge, will also have the technical skills and capabilities to place instruction online. This team process included journals of their observations. Recommends a team approach between instructional and technical developers. Minkel, W. “Five Librarians, One 50-Foot Phone Cord and a Whole lot of Chutzpah.” School Library Journal: SLJ 45.3 (1999): 108-110.

This excellent article is about how one public library formed a partnership with a public school to teach students some of the important services that the public library offers. The article talks about the successes and what they have learned during the process. This article is a good example of how partnerships can be effective.

Nahl, D. “Creating User-Centered Instructions for Novice End-Users.” RSR: Reference Services Review 27.1 (1999): 280-286.

Users of databases need answers as they are using the systems. This article addresses how librarians can increase the effectiveness of the written instruction material provided. It is most likely that reliance on written material will increase, making the subject of this article of continuing importance.

Roth, Lorie. “Educating the Cut-and-Paste Generation.” Library Journal November 1 (1999): 42-44.

Excellent article exploring the technologically experienced students we are dealing with more and more. Showing them how to conduct research and not getting by with “quick and dirty” is one concern. Tapping into their abilities and love for computers is the key.

Small, R. “An Exploration of Motivational Strategies Used by Library Media Specialists During Library and Information Skills Instruction [computer file].” School Library Media Quarterly (1999): 1-16.

Most research on library and information skills instruction has focused more on content and student outcomes than on the presentation methods that motivate students to learn. This article describes a study designed to identify motivational strategies being used. Results indicate that library media specialists use attention-focusing strategies, middle school media specialists use more strategies than on the elementary level, and extrinsic motivators are more common than intrinsic.

Entire Special Issue

Shirato, Linda: guest editor. "Special Issue: A LOEX 25-year Retrospective.” RSR: Reference Services Review 27. 3 (1999): 210-312.

The entire issue of this pathbreaking journal dedicated to bibliographic instruction and latter-day information literacy is worthy of note. A select list of authors including Evan Farber, Hannelore Rader, Carol Tenopir, Linda Shirato herself, and others who have played a leading role in bibliographic instruction, reflect and reprise on what has been accomplished and the many changes that have taken place in the field over the last quarter century. The issue features fifteen articles devoted to divergent areas of bibliographic instruction activity. The articles furnish not only a road map of the past, but also offer state-of-the-art reviews of current practice. Author L. Hardesty wrote “Reflections on 25 Years of Library Instruction: Have We Made Progress?” which offers a thought-provoking look at the status of library instruction on campuses yesterday and today. J. Nims contributed, “Marketing Library Instruction Services: Changes and Trends” which focuses on responding to user needs. H. Rader wrote “The Learning Environment—Then and Now” which is a great overview of instruction during the last 30 years. T. Kirk contributed an excellent article, “Course-related Bibliographic Instruction in the 1990’s,” a history of the library instruction back 25 years. L. Shirato wrote “A LOEX 25-year Retrospective” which is invaluable for an historical perspective.

Entire Online Issue

SLMR Online. 2 (1999) 24 November.

Authors contributing to this online journal were chosen as an aggregate because so many were pertinent and of high quality. M. A. Fitzgerald contributes “Evaluating Information: An Information Literacy Challenge.” C. Gordon writes “Students as Authentic Researchers: A New Prescription for the High School Research Assignment.”

LIRT News, June 2000. Volume 22, number 4.
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