CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
UI program teaches school librarians how to bring new technology
IOWA CITY, Iowa For decades school librarians have explained the
Dewey Decimal System to students and taught them how to use reference materials
for research. But in recent years this curriculum has been greatly expanded
as new technological capabilities increased the depth of information students
need in order to work comfortably in modern libraries.
In response to school librarians' need for additional training and
curriculum support, the University of Iowa School of Library and Information
Science is sponsoring an Institute on Teaching Information Literacy from
July 13-17. The sessions take place in the library at West High School
in Iowa City. Jean Donham, an assistant professor of library and information
science at the UI and June Gross, librarian at The Blake School in Minneapolis
are leading the institute, which has drawn 32 school library media specialists
from five states.
The institute is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education
and will help librarians develop new curricula and lesson plans for teaching
information literacy in K-12 schools. It will continue electronically during
the 1998 academic year as participants communicate via a course electronic
bulletin board, e-mail and a Web site. Participants will then return to
Iowa City in June 1999 for a two-day wrap-up session.
"This is a chance for these professionals to gain some insight
into the importance of what they teach in information rich schools,"
Donham said. "It also affords them the opportunity to interact with
other people who do the same work."
School librarians are charged with making sure students are "information
literate," meaning they have the ability to locate, evaluate, and
use information to solve problems or make decisions. In the age of information
overload from the Internet and other electronic resources, information
literacy has taken on the added dimension of being able to sort out good
information from bad. "Because so much information is available to
kids today, these skills become more critical than ever before," Donham
Donham said the UI institute coincides with the release of new national
Standards for Information Literacy for Students K-12, jointly published
at the end of June by the American Association of School Librarians and
the Association for Educational Communication and Technology. The institute
will focus attention on these standards and how to develop curricula for
Donham prepared the grant application under a provision of the Education
Department's Higher Education Act Title II-B program that designates funds
for re-training library professionals. This is the first time the UI department
of library and information sciences has won this type of grant.