An MLIS Degree in 50 minutes: who are we trying to kid?

This tweet today by Aaron Tay made me giggle:


And instantly it reminded me of a couple of things that came up in LILAC.

Was it Megan Oakleaf who said something like our IL sessions can feel a bit like an attempt to give our students a MLIS degree in 50 minutes? (I think it was Megan. If not, someone correct me, please).

And again, in Janet Cottrell and Sarah Faye Cohen’s talk on real-deal information literacy, they posed the question: why do we ‘do’ information literacy? Is it to create mini-librarians? Is it to (try) teaching them everything we know about libraries? Or is it to teach them about information, so that our students can become real life-long learners?

I keep having to remind myself of this every time we look at our IL material. Especially with first years, right in the door, first two weeks of the first term. Who are we trying to kid? Boolean operators? Sometimes I feel they can barely grasp the concept of a database, never mind how to search one.

Of course Boolean operators are important. And everything else that goes hand-in-hand with our notion of perfect information literacy. But sometimes we need to ask; who are we trying to kid?

2 thoughts on “An MLIS Degree in 50 minutes: who are we trying to kid?

  1. You’re right; first years have enough on their hands without the library complicating matters. Basic information literacy should be taught at second level – more school librarians please!

    1. Completely agree David. Like so many aspects of higher level eduction, we’ve expected our students to be able to do so much (write essays, construct arguments, TAKE NOTES) and they can’t. Needs to happen earlier.

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