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This study sets out to investigate the evolving educational role of the academic librarian in the context of Information Literacy (IL) skills provision, by exploring the IL programs offered by a selection of the universities within the Russell Group,

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Abstract This study sets out to investigate the evolving educational role of the academic librarian in the context of Information Literacy (IL) skills provision, by exploring the IL programs offered by a selection of the universities within the Russell Group, and by considering to what extent there is a relationship between the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of academic librarians and the level of integration of IL into the university curriculum. This study focuses in part on the IL programmes offered by individual universities; how appropriate they are for users and how relevant they are in the current rapidly changing information environment. The project also investigates the difficulties of convincing academic staff of the value of IL and the importance of embedding it into the university curriculum for the benefit of their students' education faced by academic librarians A review of the current literature traces the development of the educational role of the academic librarian and emphasises the importance of CPD for them if their skills and expertise are not to become obsolete in the face of the present Higher Education (HE) information environment. Information gathered through analysis of university websites, email questionnaires and individual telephone interviews is used to generate the views of academic librarians about their teaching roles, their collaboration with faculty, interaction with CPD, both within and outside the HE institution, as well as the overall culture of the organisation and what effect this can have on the structure of IL provision and the extent to which it is embedded into the university curriculum. The project concludes that, as a result of the diversity of opinion that surrounds IL skills provision, it is consequently very difficult for academic libraries to offer a standardised programme.. This is mainly because of the de-centralized nature of many universities today, and because each individual department is in control of the type and level of integration of IL into each particular subject discipline. ...read more.

Middle

As Erlandson et al comment 'interviews . . . put into a larger context the interpersonal, social, and cultural aspects of the environment' (1993:85). A primary objective of the project was to try and identify the culture of each institution and it was felt interviewing participants would help to achieve this. After careful consideration, it was decided that the general interview guide approach as described by Patton (2002) would be the most appropriate for this project and was in keeping with the qualitative and inductive approaches. The general interview guide structure allows the interviewer to compile a list of topics or questions that need to be covered in the interview, but enables the interviewer to follow up interesting lines of enquiry that may emerge during the interview to gain more insight into a particular topic and generate a more conversational style to the interview. Patton states that, 'The advantage of an interview guide is that it makes sure that the interviewer . . . has carefully decided how best to use the limited time available in an interview situation. The guide helps make interviewing a number of people more systematic and comprehensive by delimiting in advance the issues to be explored.' With the time constraints present in this piece of research, an interview guide seemed the most appropriate structure, especially as it allowed for some flexibility when conducting the interviews. Individual interviews made it possible to gather more detailed and personal information from staff and facilitated the investigation of the libraries' IL policies and plans for development as well as helping to clarify any ambiguities found in the questionnaires. It was felt that a more structured framework would help to ensure that the desired topics were covered and the correct information had been obtained. This method also made it easier to make direct comparisons between interviewees from different universities. Qualitative interviewing requires the development of a conversational environment, where 37 the interviewee feels comfortable to speak freely and openly about the topic (Patton, 2002). ...read more.

Conclusion

If you recall, I sent out a questionnaire via email a couple of weeks ago. The questionnaire is complimentary to my research. I understand that this is a very busy time of year for you, but if you could find time to fill it out and return it to me by the end of the month, I would be very grateful. Best wishes, Rosy 88 My name is Rosy Bennett, I am studying Librarianship at the University of Sheffield and am now working on my dissertation entitled 'The evolving educational role of academic library staff in Information Literacy (IL) skills and the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs that this implies, depending on the extent to which IL is integrated into the curriculum'. My tutor, Sheila Corrall contacted your colleague . . . in March and has told me that he/she has agreed to help me with the project and suggested I contact you. Thank you for agreeing to help me with my investigations. I will be sending out a short questionnaire via email at the beginning of next week and will contact you again in mid July to arrange a convenient time to conduct a telephone interview with you, if this is acceptable? I thank you once again for your time. Many thanks, Rosy Bennett 89 Dear Participants, Thank you for agreeing to help me with my research. I have attached the questionnaire as a word file. You will need to download it, fill it out, save it and then re-attach the file to send back to me. If you have any problems viewing the file, please let me know and I will try and send it in an alternative format. It should not take any longer than fifteen minutes to complete. If at all possible, I would be very grateful if you could return the completed questionnaire to me by the 15th July 2004. I was hoping to conduct the interviews during the weeks beginning the 18th July. If this is not convenient, please let me know so that we can arrange a more appropriate time. ...read more.

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