Formal Library Science Courses on Library Instruction

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    Formal Library Science Courses on Library InstructionAuthor(s): Jane Robbins CarterSource: Journal of Education for Librarianship, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Spring, 1978), pp. 359-361Published by: Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE)Stable URL: .Accessed: 28/06/2014 13:41

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  • "The Visible College"


    The following article has been con- tributed by Esther Dyer, Assistant Pro- fessor, Graduate School of Library Ser- vice, Rutgers University and was re- vised slightly by the column editor.

    Formal Library Science Courses on Library Instruction

    In December, 1976, a survey on the status of library and bibliog- raphic instruction was sent to the 63 accredited library school programs in North America. A follow-up letter was mailed in February, 1977. As of April, 1977, 26 responses were received. As with a previous study conducted by Li- brary Orientation Exchange (LOEX), Eastern Michigan University, the re- sponse from library school deans was not complete. Those not involved are perhaps not interested in explaining their positions. The low response rate may in part be attributed to the status of library instruction in accredited schools. In a recent issue o the Journal of Academic Librarianship (November, 1976) several deans of schools indicate that library instruction should not be a separate course but rather integrated into the curriculum in appropriate courses. Another factor influencing the response rate may well be that the population used for this study was the same as that used by Sue Galloway (Bootlegger, Jan.-Feb. 1976, pp. 29-31) the year before to investigate a similar

    subject. The Galloway study reveals that library instruction is generally co- vered as a topic in the reference and bibliography courses. The results of this current Associa-

    tion of College and Research Libraries study reveal that while the topic of li- brary instruction is integrated by 16 of the 26 respondents into such courses as reference, literature and type of library courses, it receives the greatest atten- tion in the school media related pro- gram. The time spent per semester on library instruction ranges from half a class to two classes in the literature and reference courses. In the school media related courses on the average of three to four classes per term are devoted to library instruction.

    The Galloway and LOEX investiga- tions reveal that formal courses de- voted to library instruction are virtually non-existent in the curriculum of li- brary schools. While the results of this study generally support these findings, there is an indication that library in- struction is receiving increased atten- tion. For example, one school is offer- ing a course entitled "Special Topics: Bibliographic Instruction." After sev- eral years of successfully offering subject-specific bibliographic instruc- tion to graduate students, three li- brarians from the reference depart- ment of that university's library pro- posed to the dean of the library school that they be allowed to teach a course


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    on bibliographic instruction. The course was initially offered May-June, 1976, and the reference librarians were temporarily appointed without salary to the school of library science faculty. Their salaries continued to be paid by the university library and they were granted time to teach.

    The class in bibliographic instruction consisted of 14 library school students with nearly completed programs, and six auditors, primarily from the univer- sity library. Prerequisites included gen- eral reference and a minimum of one bibliography course. The topics in- cluded history and current status of bibliographic instruction, the analysis of factors affecting instruction and the determination of the most effective mode of instruction in a given situation.

    Under the flexible title of Special Topics, another library school planned to offer a course on "Teaching the Use of the Library" during the 1977 sum- mer session. If the response indicated that it should be included in the cur- riculum, it will be offered on a regular basis.

    In addition to the aforementioned schools, Carolyn Kirkendall of LOEX identifies another library school pro- gram which expects to integrate a course on library instruction into the curriculum. By and large, however, the courses devoted to library instruction have been offered on a one term basis, often under the rubric of seminar or special topic course titles. Several li- brary schools have offered courses of this type.

    Regardless of the manner in which library instruction is treated, that is, as a separate course or as an identifiable segment of a course, greater reliance is placed on periodical readings than on text books. The following texts were mentioned: The New Library Key by M. G. Cook (Wilson, 1975) and Your Li- brary, What's in it for You? by John


    Lobely (John Wiley, 1974). Teaching methods vary and include: lectures, guest speakers, bibliographies, case studies, and media presentations. One school uses a simulation model. Media presentations are generally locally pro- duced.

    Evaluation of courses, concerning li- brary instruction as well as courses in which library instruction is an identifi- able segment, does not differ from the evaluation of other courses. The pri- mary device is student evaluations at the conclusion of the course.

    This survey also requested informa- tion concerning bibliographic instruc- tion offered by library schools to non- library school students including prac- ticing librarians and persons in other disciplines. Four of the 26 responding schools offer such programs. The title of these courses are Bibliographical Tools and Methods in the Biological Sciences; How to Use the Library; Li- brary Use Instruction for Freshmen; and Bibliography I. Two of these courses are interdisciplinary. One school requires the course for the Mas- ter of Arts degree in the Department of Biological Sciences and includes library classification, general reference tools and subject specific tools for the biolog- ical sciences as well as computerized searching systems. Another school's is part of the English program and is mandatory for freshmen. Bibliog- raphies and other printed materials are used.

    The school which offers Bibliog- raphy I has the course taught by li- brarians employed in the library system as well as instructors of the library school. Begun in 1968, this course has been offered for three quarters each year. Using slide tapes and texts, the general purpose of the program is to acquaint the students with the structure and organization of the library and lit- erature in general. The "How to Use

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  • the Library" course, begun about 1966, is taught by a teaching assistant from the library school. This is a voluntary course designed to improve library skills of all patrons and uses Hattie Knight's 1, 2, 3 Guide to Libraries as a text.

    Recently graduated and practicing librarians are asking why library in- struction has not been included in their programs of study in library schools. A portion of the interest on the part of library practitioners is a result of the expectation on the part of employers that librarians will be capable of teach- ing the use of the library. While this has been an integral part of school li- brarianship, academic librarians have only recently been required to develop programs in this area. The current in- terest in bibliographic instruction is in evidence by the formation of a Library Instruction Round Table in A.L.A. and the establishment of a section on Bib- liographic Instruction in A.C.R.L. Looking at a calendar of upcoming li- brary instruction conferences and meetings in the LOEX News, it is easy to see that the burden for workshops and conferences on bibliographic instruc- tion clearly is carried primarily by li- brary associations - not by the library schools. In the spring of 1977, the fol- lowing held group conferences or of- fered workshops in this area: Central Indiana Library Services Authority, L.A.C. U.N.Y., Alaska Library Associa- tion, Utah Library Association, North Carolina Library Association, South Carolina J.M.R.T., West Virginia Li- brary Association, Eastern Michigan University, York University, and the Greater Cincinnati Library Consor- tium and three library schools.

    Library schools have been slow to re- spond to this need and interest; how- ever, several schools are planning to include library instruction in the cur- riculum. For the most part though, this

    "The Visible College"

    need is being met through workshops and conferences.

    While there has been an increase in the number of workshops and short courses offered on library instruction, it has not been a result of an upsurge of interest by library schools. Responsibil- ity for the majority of programs rests with library associations and other in- terest groups. Some library schools, it is true, are offering or planning to offer regular courses in this area; others have sponsored short courses or workshops. Library school deans see little need for courses specifically devoted to instruc- tion. However, many librarians, par- ticularly those involved with the new A.C.R.L. section and the Library In- struction Round Table believe "the total library instruction philosophy, ob- jectives, activities, etc., must be cor- rectly and seriously evaluated - brought to a scholarly level, so that li- brary school, library administrators and practicing librarians themselves recognize and identify this area as an essential and indispensable activity on any library's part."

    Incorporation of library instruction into the curriculum would assure that library school students would be cog- nizant of the components of a success- ful teaching and learning design - of how to conduct a teaching session and of how to assess the learning ability and talent of its participants. Library schools can and should be in the fore- front of this movement. Library in- struction belongs not only as an integral part of such courses as reference and bibliography but also as a course in its own right. The teaching-learning cycle is complex and if librarians are to man- age instruction properly they must be provided with the tools to do so. Li- brary schools are failing in their obliga- tion to their students if they do not as- sume an increasing role in teaching li- brarians how to teach.


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    Article Contentsp. 359p. 360p. 361

    Issue Table of ContentsJournal of Education for Librarianship, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Spring, 1978), pp. 251-365Front MatterFaculty Salaries of 62 Library Schools, 1977-78 [pp. 251-267]AALS Annual Conference, 1978 [pp. 268-268]The Profession's Response to a Crisis-Based Society [pp. 269-277]The Structure of M. L. S. Programs in American Library Schools [pp. 278-284]Alternative Specialties in Library Education [pp. 285-294]Multi-Cultural Graduate Library Education [pp. 295-314]The Future of Library and Information Science Education [pp. 315-323]The Two-Year Master's: Perspectives and Prospects [pp. 324-335]Standards for the Development of Sixth-Year Programs [pp. 336-345]Of Special InterestAssociation Activities [pp. 346-351]Research Record [pp. 352-354]Continuing Education [pp. 355-358]"The Visible College"Formal Library Science Courses on Library Instruction [pp. 359-361]

    Back Matter