Patterson - Working with what you’ve got: using limited resources and staff to build an information literacy program (teachmeet abstract)

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Supporting students: raising the profile of IL

Working with what youve got: using limited resources and staff to build an information literacy program

Robyn Patterson, Nazarbayev University Library, opened to students in Fall 2010 in Astana, Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev University is a new university modeled on the British and American systems of higher education. The library has been providing information literacy training since opening at that time but only formally organized its Reference Department in Fall 2012.

At the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester, the Reference Department, in charge of information literacy for the Library, was tasked by the library director to provide increased information literacy instruction for users. This meant sessions in addition to regularly held orientation and basic research sessions for new students and more advanced subject-specific sessions held for upper-level students. The department decided to focus on once-weekly instruction sessions on specific topics for small groups. With only 8 computers on the third floor where the Reference Department is centered, it was decided to keep these sessions smaller, more personal, and more user-focused. In this way each session could be tailored to the specific needs of participants, whether students, faculty, or university and partner institution researchers. Instructors would focus on bridging the gap between formalized, class-room learning and one-on-one consultations.

Two main objectives were identified for these sessions. The first was to improve the basic and advanced research skills of students and teaching assistants. The second was to promote the awareness and use of databases, while reaching out to patrons who were underutilizing library resources. The department scheduled nine sessions for the Fall Semester, including a mixture of general research skills classes and database-focused classes, relatively evenly divided between the two objectives.

This presentation will focus on experiences working with a multi-lingual audience, marketing library services to a new group of users, and the decision-making process for the types of sessions offered.