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Librarians: Students Need to Master Information Literacy to Succeed

Librarians: Students Need to Master Information Literacy to Succeed

In a ProQuest survey of librarians from university, community college, high school and public libraries, the group agreed that in order for students to successfully be prepared for the "real world," they need to master information literacy skills.

Unfortunately, that same group said while they sometimes help students master these skills, it’s not nearly as often or as thoroughly as they would like.

While 90.8 percent of respondents said that their library offers one-on-one consultations to visitors who could use help improving their information literacy skills, 76.5% said the libraries they work in do not offer a specific information literacy platform to their users.

As a result, 25.4 percent of respondents said that, overall, their library isn’t doing as much as it should to address students’ information literacy needs.

Most librarian respondents believe that more professional development will help them address students' needs better on a regular basis.

"[T]here are some needs that don’t get met, because we don’t know about them or don’t understand them very well from a student perspective," said one librarian in the report.

"Ideally, we’d be provided with additional time for genuine collaboration on research skills and projects with discipline specific teachers," said another.

The study is the first in a while to assess the viewpoints of the country’s librarians, who serve as under-the-radar but still important instructors to the variety of students they encounter on a daily basis. As a result, they’re put in a unique position where they can both identity and support visitors’ learning needs.

"I see students with low information literacy struggling to understand and complete assignments," one librarian said.

As reliance on the traditional book wanes with consistent improvement in technology, libraries have been able to remain relevant thanks to their involvement with the maker movement; libraries have been determined to be excellent areas for community maker spaces and they have gone above and beyond to embrace the role.

It is fair to say, however, that with the excitement of the new trend that is the maker movement, many forget about the important research and literacy skills that the library as an institution provides.

This survey reminds us that libraries are another form of instructional support for students— and for things like information literacy, an opportunity is being missed.

Read the full survey.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education Contributor

1/5/2017

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