Using professional standards to inform information literacy work

For our last LibChat of the 2015/16 schedule, we were delighted to welcome David Bedford, Academic Support Librarian at Drill Hall Library, Universities at Medway.

David is responsible for a number of schools including Sport and Exercise Sciences, the Centre for Professional Practice and Medway School of Pharmacy. David presented a paper at this year’s LILAC Conference on this topic and took the opportunity to talk us through how he has been working to improve information literacy skills amongst students.

Drill Hall Library, Universities at Medway is run in partnership between the University of Greenwich, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.
Drill Hall Library, Universities at Medway is run in partnership between the University of Greenwich, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University.

The key, David explained, is to ensure that the lifelong learning aspects of information literacy are understood by both students and their tutors. In terms of professional practice in a range of subjects, including Nursing, Paramedic Science and Dentistry, there are established standards set out by regulatory bodies, such as the Royal College of Nursing. By highlighting how these standards and professional guidelines link to core information literacy skills, David was able to integrate this training into core teaching.

Topics covered included keyword searching, appropriate use of social media and investigating useful resources which might appear outside an individual’s search scope, all of which are touched upon by guidelines within the students’ proffesional sectors. David was also able to draw direct parallels with librarians’ understanding of information literacy, such as SCONUL’s Seven Pillars of Information Literacy.

Throughout the development of this work, the relationship with tutors was vital: to support, encourage and, sometimes, to learn. David stressed that the ideal would see these sessions embedded over the full three years of the academic course, with a focus on future employability. Feedback gained during and immediately after the sessions has proved positive, while training on how to understand information, rather than just using tools, has increased the value of the limited time David has been able to spend with the students.

Using simple feedback mechanisms madei t easier to establish the success of the session. The exclamation mark stands for learning something new.
Using simple feedback mechanisms made it easier to establish the success of the session. The exclamation mark stands for learning something new.

Discussions after the session were wide ranging, with David emphasising that many degree courses have supporting professional practices, even if these are not as high profile or essential as the medical professions. Conversations about the leap in skills expectations between school and university offered several new avenues for deloping this topic, and may well form the basis of a new LibChat coming in the 2016/2017 schedule.

Until next time…

So that’s it for 2015/2015 LibChats, but we’re already starting to plan out next year’s sessions. If you have any ideas, comments or feedback, do let us know. You can comment on this blog, or email us at libchats@kent.ac.uk (please be aware this inbox is checked sporadically, but we will get back to you as soon as possible).

If you’re interested in learning more about LibChats and seeing what we’ve covered in the last year, why not browse through the blog?

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