Practitioner perspectives on information literacy for librarians

This ongoing research aims to explore how LIS education can most effectively support library students in developing their information literacy instruction practices. It builds on my recent previous work examining LIS student perspectives (http://dx.doi.org/10.11645/9.2.1977) and widens the scope to include library practitioners’ views. A sample of practising librarians in the UK will be interviewed in order to gather their insights on the development of their information literacy instruction skills. The texts will be analysed thematically in order to identify key concepts and issues which may help inform curriculum development in information literacy in LIS education.

The analysis of LIS student views indicated that while students’ personal information literacy skills may be well-catered for during their studies, their ‘producer-IL’ skills, relating to how they may deliver good practice interventions to users, were considered to be less well served. Knowledge and understanding of pedagogy was particularly identified by LIS students to be an important issue.  A subsequent workshop at LILAC 2016 (https://rilads.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/information-literacy-in-lis-education-exploring-the-practitioner-view/) for practitioners explored some key areas: skills and competencies, how these are developed, how this development is supported, and the role of library schools in this development. These areas are now being explored in semi-structured interviews with a sample of practitioners drawn from a range of sectors in the UK.

While ongoing curriculum development in library schools is designed to support developing professional needs, other avenues of continuing self-development are also available pre- and post-study through on-the-job and externally provided training, professional association support and special interest groups.

I’m really interested in finding out from practitioners about the relative contributions by library school curricula and employer and professional association and other training body interventions.

I plan to map the findings from the qualitative data from these interviews to professional associations’ competences criteria and library school curricula with a view to making recommendations on how librarians may further enhance their skills in the area of information literacy. This will be used to inform LIS curriculum development around information literacy instruction and will encourage a continuing dialogue between library schools and the profession to support librarians in their professional development throughout their career.

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