A network for new and aspiring library professionals
My memories of the day, I was live-tweeting on my ipad mini (ooh shiny) so I may have missed some details, I’m sure others’ blogposts will fill in any gaps!
Firstly, apologies for the technical problems – as you may have seen Catherine has now uploaded her Prezi and I’m sure you’ll agree that she did a fab introduction without the aid of technology!
Emily Shields and Rosie Jones – Teaching Information Literacy
Our first session was about teaching Information Literacy, at our last event Rosie covered ‘IL – in at the deep end!’ and the feedback we received from that session showed that people were interesting in learning teaching skills. Many librarians have to teach; both Emily and Rosie have done a PG Cert in Academic Practice and recommended this as a way to become a confident teacher.
Looking back on this session, Emily and Rosie really were practising what they preached throughout: they started with an ice-breaker, established learning styles, let the learners guide the session and re-engaged people with energising activities.
Our ice-breaker was to select a picture that best represented our feelings about teaching IL. I felt that the road sign picture was the most representative of my feelings, when I have designed IL sessions in my job I struggle with knowing which direction to take first, and I sometimes feel lost in terms of the amount of information to put into my teaching.
We then talked about good and bad learning experiences, as an introduction to the idea of learning styles. In general, active learning that engages the learner is good and learning that allows the learner to be passive is bad. It is for this reason that Emily doesn’t see the point of uploading PowerPoints to Moodle (other VLEs are available), she feels that the PowerPoint should not stand alone as a learning tool – it is merely one part of the learning experience.
We looked at Honey and Mumford’s four learning styles. I’m an Activist/Pragmatist so I learn best when I am either doing or when I can imagine a situation in which I might do. So, throughout the day I kept thinking ‘oh I could do that with the Year 8s’ or ‘oh this would work with the year 12s’ or ‘oh look at my shiny ipad mini’.
After introducing the idea of learning styles, Rosie and Emily allowed us to choose the type of activities we learnt about. They drew on their own experiences to give us real-life examples of IL teaching (which appeals to the Pragmatist in me).
We learnt about:
Many of these tips recommend letting the audience lead, which can be daunting for new librarian-teachers. Rosie and Emily advised us to be flexible when designing teaching sessions and not to try to do too much. Students don’t need to know everything in one session.
Sue Lawson – Social Media and Information Literacy
I was particularly interested in Sue’s presentation as I tweet at work, and I would like to attract more followers. Sue recommended focusing on the benefits of your IL teaching, such as “follow Take That on their UK tour” as way of encouraging users to understand maps and other IL skills. Instead of labelling the session from our perspective as a librarian, we should think about what the library user wants to gain from the session. This links in with Sue’s advice that we shouldn’t be obsessed with being an “information professional” and made me think about IL from a non-academic perspective.
I try to keep a library and book focus for my work tweets but Sue suggested posting non-library events in order to attract new followers who will then see your library-related posts. She uses the Manchester Libraries facebook page to promote library resources and events, but also to promote interesting websites and other cultural events in Manchester. I think this applies to public libraries more than to my school library but I can see the rationale behind attracting followers with witty and interesting posts, then linking those to promoting library resources and IL.
Sue uses online pinboards and showed us one from the University of Sunderland, which brings together all of their marketing materials. This then turned into a discussion of copyright, which I couldn’t quite hear all of so if someone wants to summarise this in the comments, that would be fab! The bit I did hear (which I tweeted) was that the current copyright laws are not fit for purpose when it comes to online materials.
Sue’s presentation materials are here.
Alison Bond-McNally – Reader Development and Information Literacy
Alison said she was surprised when we approached her to present for us, as she did not feel that she ‘did IL’. However, her job as a Reader Development Librarian involves equipping people with the tools to make their own reading choices. This has a definite link to my job as I am expected to encourage reluctant readers and I have to be able to make recommendations to these pupils.
Alison said that she is frequently told by people that they “don’t read”. She then has to explore that statement with them, as it is often not true. What people tend to mean is that they do not sit down with a Dickens every night, but they may well be reading The Metro everyday. Once Alison has established the reader’s interests, then she can go on to make recommendations. She uses different sources to gather these recommendations, from the Booker Prize shortlist to The Book Slut. She advised us to use our IL skills (and in turn to encourage library users to develop their IL skills) to judge the worth of book blogs and online reviews. Again, this is a non-academic use of IL, which I can take into my own work.
I hope I’ve not missed any important details of the day, please feel free to add your own impressions in the comments below.