Grant Allows Library to Expand Information Literacy Services

IMLS_Logo_2cThe Paul J. Cushing Library is one of only 14 institutions nationwide to receive a 2013 Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries and Museums.

The grant, which was awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the amount of $23,660, supports the development of multimedia recordings providing information literacy instruction on topics such as citation management and research. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

Information literacy instruction at HNU has typically been limited to one or two hour lectures led by librarians that are incorporated into regular class sessions on an annual basis. The grant allows the library to extend the reach of face-to-face instruction through digital learning recordings that are created with lecture-capture software. The recordings, which are being developed with input from HNU Athletics and the Department of Nursing, will provide instruction to a broader group of students and be available online. This will benefit athletes and adult students who are not on campus as regularly. An additional advantage is that students will be able to watch the recordings as many times as needed to learn complex concepts.

“This is the first time face-to-face active learning and digital learning objects have been intentionally and programmatically aligned in an academic library setting,” University Librarian Karen Schneider and Librarian for Research and Digitization Nicole Branch wrote in the grant proposal. “This proposal tests a method of expanding and amplifying the reach of information literacy instruction, a core service in academic librarianship.”

Learning informational literacy competencies is of particular importance to HNU’s student population, who may not have received previous guidance on these topics. A significant number of undergraduate students are the first in their families to attend college, and 92 percent of students are from California, where elementary and secondary school libraries are not mandated.

Schneider and Branch say that the sometimes mundane but important skills covered in these recordings will help students learn critical skills that they need to be successful—leaving more classroom time for interactive dialogue.

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