portal: Libraries and the Academy 3.4 (2003) 696-698
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Information Literacy Programs: Successes and Challenges, ed. Patricia Durisin. New York: Haworth Information Press, 2002. Co-published simultaneously as Journal of Library Administration 36;1/2 (2002) 244p. $29.95 softcover (ISBN 0-7890-1959-0); $42.95 hardcover (ISBN 0-7890-1958-2)
Patricia Durisin (Instruction Coordinator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Humanities Library) has gathered a collection of articles written by authors who have first-hand experience crafting information literacy initiatives. Simultaneously co-published by Haworth as a double issue of Journal of Library Administration, these articles cover common themes in information literacy including collaboration, assessment, learning styles, and the evolving roles of academic librarians.
Most discussions and publications on information literacy emphasize the importance of collaboration within the institution for successful implementation. Durisin continues that focus and provides different models for collaboration with faculty, librarians, administrators, and students in these selections. However, she has taken collaboration a step further by including [End Page 696] a selection on cross-institutional collaboration written by Charity Hope and Christina Peterson. Librarians who have not yet considered a multi-institution project will find this article extremely helpful in outlining the role of professional organizations in linking institutions for collaborative endeavors as well as the crucial role of library and university administrators in supporting institutional relationships.
Many of the articles report local research studies while emphasizing transferability of their findings to other academic environments. One good example is Kate Manuel's "Teaching Information Literacy to Generation Y." While some articles touch on learning styles, Manuel has captured the characteristics of Gen Y and provides helpful tips for altering teaching styles and assignments to reach this audience more effectively. Manuel supports her recommendations with a combination of demographic data and pre- and post-test comparisons from a for-credit course redesign at California State University, Hayward.
Although many of the selections in this book provide both creative and practical teaching tips, more interesting are the discussions of the theoretical foundations of information literacy. Beth Woodard and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe have written a groundbreaking article, "Technology and Innovation in Library Instruction Management," that applies technological incorporation theories to instruction management. This selection provides insight into why some technologies are incorporated into instruction programs while others languish. Understanding this theoretical foundation can help librarians manage the learning environment to more easily adopt innovations.
In order to implement information literacy programs, there must be ways for librarians to learn teaching, management, and leadership skills. Rebecca Albrecht and Sara Baron write that librarians should learn these skills while earning their professional degree and that pedagogical training must be built into library school curricula. "Just as graduate programs have ably incorporated new technologies, they must also incorporate a vision of librarian as teacher" (p.75). Sara Baron and Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay co-authored another article in this collection describing the professional development opportunities available to instruction librarians for learning these skills through the ACRL Institute for Information Literacy Immersion program.
According to the models represented in this volume, information literacy has multiple iterations in higher education, from credit courses taught by librarians to skills integrated into the curriculum. A combination of efforts seems to be popular as universities try to bring information literacy into the disciplines by using pre-existing models. One example highlighted in this collection uses the teaching of evidence-based medicine, a process for locating and evaluating information to make decisions about a patient's medical care, to integrate information literacy skills into a pharmacy curriculum (p. 219). Many of the authors have found the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education crucial for creating and assessing these programs.
Combined, the selections in this book underscore the impact of information literacy on the academic library and its role in higher education. Durisin describes these initiatives as an "information literacy movement," and it is clear that this movement is taking hold in academic libraries of all sizes and scopes around the world. Information Literacy Programs is highly recommended for any librarian interested in [End...