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Do librarians like to learn online?

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posted on 2008-08-05, 13:28 authored by Debbi Boden, Ruth Stubbings
Information skills, academic literacy, information fluency and information literacy – the terminology have caused considerable debate in the UK, but in what ever guise information literacy appears it is having a huge impact on the role of librarians. It is now seen as one of the major keys to problem solving and life long learning. A considerable amount of resources in the UK higher education (HE) library sector is put towards enhancing student’s information literacy skills. Teaching has therefore become a core part of a librarian’s role. Courses are being designed and delivered by library staff to students in various formats including face-to-face, online, blended learning, in formal classroom time and informally on the enquiry desk. Library staff, both professional and non professional, are expected to have an understanding on the concepts of information literacy and online learning so that they can become effective teachers either in the classroom or at the enquiry desk. The question is, how do library staff acquire these skills and how do they view their roles in relation to information literacy? Having recognised that information literacy is no longer just the province of HE, but as an essential part of life long learning and digital citizenship, library 2 schools are beginning to recognise a need for information literacy within the curriculum. They are not however, actively developing librarians teaching skills, library staff tend to obtain these skills through trial and error, short courses and professional teaching qualifications. In addition, few library oriented continuing professional development programmes in the UK provide elements of online learning, so it is difficult to experience online learning as a student. To overcome this, the CILIP Community Services Information Literacy sub-group have created two online modules which are aimed at enquiry desk staff and at those who are teaching Information literacy in a more formal environment. 1. POP-i and LolliPop were designed to assist enquiry desk staff in enhancing their own information literacy skills so that they can then assist readers in becoming independent information seekers. POP-i was piloted by Bradford Public Libraries. LolliPop was piloted by two university libraries in the UK. Both are being adapted by other HE institutions and public libraries. 2. SirLearnaLot aims to help library staff enhance their understanding of pedagogy so that they can feel confident in designing and delivering courses to students. SirLearnaLot will be piloted in the very near future by at least two university libraries. Both courses are written in HTML format which facilitates them being used in any Virtual learning Environment. Both programmes will be freely available under a Creative Commons License. This paper will outline: a) how POP-I and LolliPop were piloted with library staff b) how the modules were evaluated c) staff feedback re content and their online learning experience c) how similar / dissimilar library staff are in relation to their learning experience 3 d) how the feedback has impacted on the design and delivery of the modules, so the needs of the learner is paramount.



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BODEN, D. and STUBBINGS, R., 2008. Do librarians like to learn online? [Paper presented at:] World Library and Information Congress : 74th IFLA General Conference and Council. "Libraries without borders : navigating towards global understanding." 10-14 August 2008, Québec, Canada. 163, E-learning Discussion Group


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This is a conference paper. It is also available at: http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla74/index.htm


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