Canadian Public Libraries Are Aware of Their Role as Information Literacy Training Providers, but Face Several Challenges

Laura Newton Miller

Abstract


Abstract

Objective – To explore the current state of information literacy (IL) training in Canadian public libraries, and to identify strategies used for improving IL training skills for staff and patrons.

Design – Mixed-methods approach, including document analysis, observations, and focus group interviews.

Setting – Two libraries of a large public library system in Canada: the central library and one branch library.

Subjects – Six staff members (manager, administrator, training coordinator, instructor, and computer technician) who have been involved in designing and teaching information literacy courses for library patrons and staff.
Methods – The researcher analyzed internal and external library documents related to information literacy, including, but not limited to, reports, posters, lesson plans, newsletters, and training scripts. He also observed interactions and behaviours of patrons during IL training sessions. Finally, he conducted a focus group with people involved in IL training, asking questions about facilities and resources, programs, patron reaction, librarian knowledge of IL theory, and impediments and benefits of IL training programs in public libraries.

Main Results – Staff were aware of the importance of IL training in the library. Attracting more library patrons (including building partnerships with other organizations), improving staff IL and training skills, employing effective strategies for running training programs, and dealing with financial issues were all concerns about running IL training that were highlighted.

Conclusion – Canadian public libraries are well aware of their role as IL training providers, but they still face several challenges in order to improve their effectiveness.

Keywords


public libraries; staff training; information literacy

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