Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives
November is often the month when librarians find short breaks to reflect on how the term is progressing, making adjustments where necessary and to continue with ongoing projects.
It is November 2015. I have a few hours to reflect on the activities and outcomes of the term thus far. To ensure that I am available to students and scheduled reference desk shifts during library operating hours, I work on lesson plans and other material an hour or so in the morning before going to work, and then do the same in the evening and on weekend.
As directed by the Manager, Library Services, I collect data on information literacy skills development instruction, separating all ENGLISH 100 sessions into a dedicated folder. The expectation is that I will review the data and identify whether or not there exists both interest and a need to develop a formal information literacy integration pilot starting in 2017 or 2018. Two sets of data have been collected and made available on the institutional SharePoint platform for library staff and the library manager to review. These data sets summarize ILSD sessions for the semesters, Fall 2014 and Winter 2015. Data and a synopsis of the pre-pilot were presented in a summative review presented to a panel in May 2015. While the data is readily available, and the information about the sessions transparent, a preliminary report providing an overview on the pre-pilot information has been submitted to the Manager, Library Services and I await feedback. Focusing on the ENGLISH 100 courses, data collected includes:
Conducting a literature review helped to identify existing research and theoretical gaps. I identified the fact that, while there are longitudinal studies following a 4-year cohort through university in the context of studying information-seeking behaviours and information literacy skills acquisition, there have not been studies following a cohort at a 2-year college. The following are a few examples of the types of studies that have been conducted:
Request for Pilot Proposal
As I was to discover, our college has neither a template nor a formal process for proposing a pilot program. Consequently, I have contacted my mentor and community of practice for information and templates used by other professional librarians. There are set templates at many institutions for librarians and other researchers that share the following basic components for requesting a pilot:
In anticipation of the manager’s feedback and direction, I have begun writing an official pilot proposal. I am very thankful for the guidance and support of my mentor and community of practice, all of whom have offered information and assistance.
Contents – detail contact information and declaration of authorized Dean(s) and Manager(s) and Vice-President(s)
Introduction– overview of library and college as an organization, describe proposed pilot focus area(s), support materials in development, stakeholders and collaborators
Organizational Profile – describe position of library within organization, core services, scope of operation, number of staff, number of users (students, staff, faculty, and community), stakeholders
Pilot Focus – describe the intended focus area(s) for the proposed pilot study detailing relevance to the library and college
Pilot Study Design – detail in an overview of the pilot program specifically in the areas of 1) Purpose, 2) Audience, 3) Context
Support Materials – describe all materials necessary for pilot including software, technologies, facilities, etc.
Project Personnel – list key pilot project personnel including names, intended role(s), and description of their relevant experience
Liaising Plan – describe an overview, for example: face-to-face communication with pilot participants, updates with stakeholders, feedback loop(s), online communication (Google Docs, etc.)
Timeline – detail key dates for activities
Budget – propose a budget to cover consumables, payment to specific personnel, travel and accommodation if necessary, software or licensing purchases, hardware, technologies, final output costs (electronic or print)
Facing the Future
I anticipate that there will be a recommendation to proceed with a formal pilot in 2017 or 2018, after reviewing the preliminary report. Instructors for ENGLISH 100 courses told me they have used the footprint of previous information literacy and library sessions to successfully integrate information literacy into their coursework. This is a boon!
As I will not be personally delivering an information literacy skills development session for ENGLISH 100 starting January 2016, my support will take the form of reserving the computer lab for 20+ learners, producing online learning objects, developing print support materials, and continuing to be available for out-of-classroom learner consultations.
Stepping back from personally instructing sessions will allow me to refocus my attention on developing online learning modules and e-learning objects such as tutorials and quizzes.
Since graduating with a Master of Library and Information Science, I have been hoping to conduct, publish, and present research. The information literacy pilot should provide an excellent opportunity.