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information literacy, information literacy skills, high school students, libraries and students, students and libraries, study skills, college-school cooperation
What expectations should college librarians have concerning the information literacy skills of incoming freshmen? This has been a recurring question among college librarians for years. The complementary question for high school librarians is: what do colleges expect freshmen to know in order to be effective researchers? AASL and ACRL have published information literacy standards, and have worked cooperatively to encourage communication between high school and college librarians. Have these efforts been successful? In this article, the authors share information about their research study exploring whether a gap exists between high school and college expectations related to information literacy.
The authors conducted a study of Catholic high school librarians in Minnesota and neighboring states during the 2009‐10 school year. They conducted a survey and interviews with the librarians and gathered information about the reference resources available (print and online) and the information literacy skills of high school students, especially seniors. The hypotheses of the study include: Larger schools (over 500 enrollment) are more likely to have: 1) a full‐time media specialist able to develop collections and programs; 2) more comprehensive reference collections and more online resources; 3) a formal curriculum for information literacy instruction; and 4) students receiving a formal curriculum will rank higher in information literacy skill levels.
The researchers found that the size of the student body is not the critical factor for a successful IL program. Regardless of the size of the school or library staff, the key factor for success according to the data is the integration of the librarian and IL concepts into a few key core courses. The interviews revealed that it is important for the librarian to have general knowledge of what is taught in various classes, as well as knowledge of specific assignments with a research component. It is evident from the librarians’ comments that it is crucial for the librarian to have a flexible schedule in order to accommodate working with students and teachers. Librarians in the study reported much higher interaction rates with the students when computers and other technologies, including special software and smartboards, are located in an adjacent lab or in the library itself.
Catholic Library World
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