Communications in Information Literacy, Vol 1, No 2 (2007)

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Brower, Growing Pains, Communications in Information Literacy 1(2)

Training College Students in Information Literacy [Book Review]

2006-2007 Edition
Primary Resarch Group Inc., NY, 2006
ISBN 1574400819
65 pages $69.50

Karen Bronshteyn
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

The 2006–2007 edition of Training College Students in Information Literacy is a slim volume presented in two parts: Part I includes profiles of information literacy (IL) programs, and Part II includes contributed articles. An introduction and summary highlights trends based on the information in these two parts.

Part I consists of profiles of the information literacy strategies of eight higher education institutions: one Canadian university, four American public universities, two American private universities, and one community college. Each profile begins with a description of the institution’s size and information literacy staffing, and generally include information about tutorial and IL course development; assessment; and lessons learned. Profiles also include numerous quotations and synopses of interviews with IL coordinators (or the equivalent), as well as overviews of the institutions’ evolving information literacy programs.

Some noteworthy innovations are described in the profiles. For example, Syracuse University developed a detailed “menu” for faculty requesting instruction to help them better match and articulate their needs. The University of North Texas received an overwhelming response to Saturday workshops for graduate students, and a full-time librarian was hired to meet the instructional needs of graduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A very extensive IL “train the trainer” program for faculty was successfully implemented at Ulster Community College, and is described along with a hybrid online/residential class, Library 111, taught by departmental faculty. Indiana University Bloomington implemented a classroom response (“clicker”) system for occasional use, to adjust instruction based on immediate feedback.

These and the other profiled institutions are using online tutorials for short, focused instruction, with their current repertoire ranging from two tutorials to over a dozen. Two of them mentioned virtual reference products; specifically, chat reference (such as Docutech) and instant messaging (such as GAIM) were listed as important IL tools.

Most profiles end with a section called “Advice for Peers.” These sections, though brief, reiterate the importance of assessing needs and seeking out partnerships on campus.      

Part II contains four contributed articles. The most detailed of these is about creating a three-credit information literacy course at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Anne Pemberton and Kathryn Batten include questions and answers from their interaction with the Curriculum Committee, and also the learning objectives for their LIB103 course. This article, unlike some of the others, provides a resource list.

Another brief but noteworthy contribution is an article about assessment of the information literacy attainment of students in a first-year experience course at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The impetus for the assessment initiative was a charge from the Higher Learning Commission, and the assessment results successfully serve to advise instruction.

Readers from colleges and universities still considering the direction of their information literacy program, or those just beginning to staff an information literacy program, will appreciate the practicality, conciseness, and diversity of the overviews provided, but should not expect in-depth information. The publisher promotes this edition as being similar in approach to the 2003 edition of the same title. The current edition was the only one examined for this review. For purchase information:  http://www.primaryresearch.com/publications-Information-Science.html