NELIG Meeting Minutes - 8/13/1999

NEBIC Meeting, August 13, 1999

A Steering Committee meeting was held on August 13th, 1999 at WPI from 10:00 am to 1:00pm. 

Present at the meeting were:




Nancy George 
Rachel Sideman 
Kendall Hobbs 
Chris Cox 
Bob Kudlay 
Toni Weller 
Sara Baron 
Eleanor Reynolds 
Judith Pinnolis 
Mary MacDonald 
Esme DeVault 
Rebecca Albrecht 
Anna Litten 
Holly Nagib 
Dawn Thistle 
Charily Hope 
Jill Ansel U 
Julie Whelan 

Salem State College 
Curry College 
Wesleyan University 
Springfield College 
Daniel Webster College 
U Mass Boston 
Salem State College 
Brandeis University 
Wheelock College 
Pace University 
Emerson College 
Wentworth Institute of Tech. 
Assumption College 
U Mass Amherst 
Mass Amherst 
Mass College of Pharmacy 

Nancy George, Chair, presided over the meeting and welcomed everyone. 

She distributed an agenda, the Annual Report 1998-1999, and a directory of contacts for NEBIC and ACRL New England Board of Directors. After introductions discussion centered on the Immersion 99 program of the Institute for Information Literacy which was run this summer by ACRL. Chris Cox, Rebecca Albrecht, Toni Weller and Sara Baron all attended. Mary  MacDonald attended a second series. Next year the program will be held in Seattle. 

The Immersion program was divided into two tracks with the largest track meant for new librarians who received an overview of information literacy. The second track was much smaller and intended for more experienced librarians who came with specific issues to work on and left with an action plan. There is a website off of the ACRL web page which describes the program as well as other related initiatives in detail: Topics which the participants brought back to NEBIC included: 

  • The debate over the meaning of information literacy. Do words such as competency, fluency, and mastery make more sense? Is it better to use the terminology that is understood on your campus? A careful distinction must be made between computer literacy and information literacy so they are not considered synonymous. 
  • Criticism of the national standards. They focus too much on specifics. Instead, they should expand on the general statement given in the introduction. Expanding the definition will help to bring the information literacy movement "out of the library and to the institution as a whole. What kinds of skills do our students need after matriculation? A suggestion that librarians hold a focus group with faculty to define what you are trying to achieve. 

Many participants expressed the opinion that the key to success is faculty involvement. There was discussion as to the best ways to relate to faculty. 

  • Suggestions included: Meet the faculty on their own level and their own turf 
  • (their offices) 
  • Talk with them about their publications 
  • Provide personal, 1/1 instruction 
  • Socialize 
  • Write letters to new faculty 
  • Attend faculty meetings 
  • Make an effort to introduce yourself personally to faculty 
  • Visit classes 
  • Ask for faculty input in collection development 
  • Email faculty with mention of items of interest (websites, new books, databases, etc.) 

These efforts are complemented by librarian liaison activities and subject specialization. 

  • One university provides an intensive one day workshop where librarians and faculty work together creating assignments which will foster information literacy. 
  • U Mass Amherst is planning a campus-wide conference for students and faculty on "Libraries and Learning". It is hoped that this will create campus wide support. 
  • Springfield College is having a joint library/faculty workshop. Not instructional, but a forum for all day discussion. A topic might be "Do you permit students to use the internet for research?" 

Another suggestion was to incorporate information literacy requirements into accreditation standards. The Middle Atlantic States already have this accreditation requirement. Librarians need to speak to the NEASC library visiting teams about creating institution wide information literacy goals similar to the goals for curriculum. They can then work at their institutions to create a Strategic Plan where the library fits into each goal and objective. 

The National Institute for Teaching, Learning and Thinking worked with Alverno College on this goal and produced a critique of each course offered . The Information Literacy movement is similar to the Writing Across the Curriculum movements: the skills taught need to be reenforced in other classes, this may not entail adding a component but just changing an emphasis; redesign of the curriculum maybe required. 

At Brandeis University certain courses are noted as "library intensive" in the 
catalog. These always have a BI component. The demand for these courses is almost more than the library can accommodate. 4-5 of these courses are offered each semester. The role of the librarian shifts from one time instruction to behind the scene support for the entire course. The library component is standard and integrated. For freshmen Brandeis offered lab groups (15-17) consisting of web instruction, a session of hands-on instruction followed by discussion. This helps to expand the usual 50min window for BI. 

Both WPI and Wesleyan have no requirements for BI instruction. Consequently, instruction is often duplicated in several subject classes. Wesleyan does not have many 50 min BI sessions. Instead they do mostly individual research assistance by  appointment. 

At Springfield College students wanted to talk with the librarians. After initial basic instruction, students were asked "What do you want to know about the library? Student response to this approach is very positive. Students don't just want to sit in front of a computer, they want help with their individual research topics. Librarians need to get away from the PowerPoint demonstration and work with students on their individual topics. Keep it simple. Personal consulting is best. 

Commuting students at U Mass responded well to a computer tutorial. On their evaluations they felt it was a successful instruction tool for them. 

After a short break, the meeting resumed. Mary MacDonald reported for the Program Committee on the June 11 program "Evaluation with a small e" held in Providence. 94 librarians attended. The keynote speaker was Bill Rando from Yale. The morning speakers focused on using the web in evaluation while the afternoon speakers spoke on traditional methods of evaluation. Esme DeVault who created the web page for the program has added the speakers presentations to the web site. ( Feedback on the meeting indicated that the facilities were good and people appreciated the fact that the meeting ran on time. There was some discussion of the Web in BI program which had attempted to foster small, regional discussion groups on this topic. ACRL's Information Technology group is going to be organizing similar groups in the area. The group discussed ideas on how to bring more people, especially from outlying areas to these smaller meetings or to the larger, quarterly NEBIC meetings. Some of the suggestions were to offer a more formal presentation for half of the day on a particular topic followed by the business meeting; to have an informal 1 person persentation before group discussion; to hold the meetings at different locations throughout the region; to have a day long meeting rather than half a day; to assign a topic for each meetings discussion or presentation. The group then discussed topics for the NEBIC annual meeting. It was decided that only one meeting per year is feasible. Among the topics suggested during last year were: 

  • Information literacy 
  • Integrating the library into distance education 
  • Instructional design: best practices 
  • Integrating the library into the curriculum 

New suggestions were:
A follow-up to Information Literacy Immersion perhaps with a speaker such as Christine Bruce Participants might 
leave with their own definition, goals and action plan. How do you define it on your campus? How do you implement it? How do you get from the abstract to the concrete? How do you get faculty to buy in? Have faculty and/or administrators come with librarians to discuss how they implement information literacy. See individual definitions from different schools. Get students to talk. What is the student perspective on BI? 

It was decided to hold the annual program on June 9th. The next NEBIC meeting will be held November 5,1999 either in Worcester or at Brandeis. The librarians from Brandeis will be asked to do a short presentation on their BI program either 
in November or January. A January meeting date will be scheduled via email. 

Submitted by Julie Whelan, Secretary 


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