A Steering Committee meeting was held on November 5th, 1999 at Holy Cross from 10:00 am to 1:00pm.
Present at the meeting were:
Salem State College
Nancy George, Chair, presided over the meeting and welcomed everyone.
She distributed an agenda, the minutes of the meeting in August and introduced the meeting's presentation. (It was decided at the August meeting to experiment with having members give a presentation at the meetings as a means of showcasing what members are doing, of focusing discussion, and of providing more rationale and motivation for people to be excused from their duties at work and attend meetings.)
Julie Whelan, Reference Librarian and Coordinator of Instruction
at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in
Boston, presented a library instruction module she teaches to
second year students. The instruction and accompanying
assignment are integrated into the required Introduction to
Pharmacy course. This instruction package is part of a
progressive sequence of required library instruction modules at MCP/HS. After an introductory lecture, students receive most of the content through two multi media computer programs developed using Authorware* software. Julie gave a quick tour of each program. She described the simplified case study format of the assignment, which asks students to answer questions on
their case using basic pharmacy texts and to perform a database search on a related topic. Examples of the case studies as well as the results of a student evaluation of the assignment were passed around. Questions and a discussion followed.
General discussion started with consideration of student
directed instruction. Some librarians ask students "what do you
want to know about the library?" Comments were that this
technique works best with graduate rather than undergraduate
students and that some instruction must take place first so
students have an idea of what it is possible to know.
recommendation is to ask students "Do you know why you are here?" Other comments focused on the culture of the class developed by the primary faculty instructor and how librarians can work within that culture. The value of library assignments was mentioned repeatedly. There were several tales of inappropriate, outdated library assignments given by faculty who do not consult with librarians. Tips on dealing with recalcitrant and difficult faculty members were suggested.
The group returned to a theme of many recent meetings, the importance of marketing the library directly to faculty, especially new faculty. Some members mentioned special packets of information they send to new faculty; another described "databases and bagels" sessions the library hosts. The need to formalize instruction and consultation with faculty was emphasized. In some colleges, library instruction is integrated into the entire semester of course work. UMass Boston is doing this (note: see last meeting's minutes for mention of a similar program at Brandeis). This commitment takes an incredible amount of librarian time. Librarians who participate in these classes have no time for other duties and are excused from reference desk, collection work, etc. The concept of "learning communities" was mentioned. Implementation of this model depends on faculty interest. Indiana State provides an example of an existing program.
The importance of personal interaction between students, faculty, and librarians was emphasized. At Nichols College, three professors and a librarian instruct students who rotate between "teaching stations" within the library. At a community college, two small group sessions provide students with an opportunity to build personal relationships with the librarians. Later in their program they feel more comfortable approaching these librarians with questions.
Many lamented the gap in instruction that often exists between first year writing students and later years when they have research projects. Suggestions offered were to use the arts and humanities faculty as gateways into other courses and to let the faculty member have a day off when the students come to the library.
After a short break, the meeting resumed. The Web Committee
requested that members send them items rather than relying on
them to search out web pages of interest. The contents of the NEBIC
web page were described. (The NEBIC URL is:
http://www.holycross.edu/departments/library/website/NEBIC/Nebic.htm). The committee would like to know about programs, events, and materials relevant to library instruction. Information can be sent to either Jayne Fox (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Susan McMullen (Stm@alpha.rwu.edu). Beth Lindsay, Diane Smith, and Kendall Hobbs all volunteered to join the Web Committee.
The group then discussed topics for the NEBIC annual program.
Holly Nagib (Nagibh@admin.wit.edu) and Esme DeVault (edevault
@wheelock.edu) are co-chairing the Program Committee. They came
up with four variations all
based on the theme of information literacy. The variations are described in their words:
2. Practical tools for teaching information literacy: For this topic, the focus would be on actual curriculum resources, lesson plans, technologies, exercises, etc. that library instructors are using to demonstrate and teach information literacy. Examples might include, in class exercises, Web quests, online tutorials, Web pages, information scavenger hunts, etc. The emphasis is meant to be on actual teaching aids, tools and technologies that can be used as practical tools, not just theoretical information.
3. Evaluating Information Literacy Skills in Students: For this topic, the focus is meant to be on ways in which librarians and other instructors are evaluating their students' information literacy proficiencies and critical thinking skills. The focus is NOT meant to be on evaluating information literacy library instruction. Examples might include evaluation tools such as group exercises, quizzes, self-grading tutorials, surveys, etc. How can we recognize someone as information literate (or deficient)?
4. Information Literacy Instruction for Remote Users: Enhancing Access. How are library instructors dealing with teaching information literacy concepts to those who have limited access to library resources, such as distance students, off campus programs, commuter students, the disabled, etc.? The purpose/focus of this topic is meant to be looking at enhancing access to information literacy instructional resources for all students, with a focus on distance learners (for example through Web pages, online tutorials, etc.)"
Those present liked the first proposal best. Integrating information literacy into the larger curriculum is very important to many NEBIC members. Particular attention was drawn to what forces drive this process. Is it accrediting agencies such as NEASC? The other three variations could be workshops or small discussion groups. The exact format and theme of the program may depend most on who we can get as speakers, particularly keynote speaker. One suggestion was to have a poster session as part of the day. Several members expressed strong interest in variations 2 and 3. These might be integrated into a program based on variation 1.
Finding a location for the program is the next, important step. A location must be reserved before we can hunt for speakers. Jill Ausel said that UMass Amherst may be a possibility and she is going to investigate. All NEBIC members are urged to send suggestions for low cost or free locations to either Holly Nagib (Nagibh@admin.wit.edu) or Esme DeVault (email@example.com). Other possible locations mentioned were the Massachusetts Maritime Academy or Wentworth Institute of Technology. Because institutions in the Middle Atlantic States already have information literacy programs in place this may be a rich source for speakers and a meeting location closer to these states might be preferable. The date of the program is June 9, 2000.
Many librarians said that they would like to see administrators and faculty invited. Perhaps a Dean or Vice President involved in this transformation might discuss how and why it took place. It was also suggested that administrators or faculty who could describe how they were "converted" might be excellent speakers. Other suggested sources for speakers were the Immersion Institute and its sponsoring organizations. One option is to have a panel discussion rather than individual presentations. A panel might be composed of a librarian, a faculty member and an administrator.
Finally, there was some discussion of the Web in BI program, which attempts to foster small, regional discussion groups on this topic. Holly Nagib and Esme Devault are planning to host another session in Boston at Wentworth Institute of Technology on December 1. The session will run from 12 to 2 and attendees should bring a brown bag lunch. Instructions are to email Holly if you would like to attend. (Nagibh@admin.wit.edu).
The next NEBIC meeting is planned for January 7, 2000 at Brandeis. Nancy is working with Judy Pinnolis to try to find a snow date.
Submitted by Julie Whelan, Secretary
November 16, 1999