Information Literacy Programs in the Digital Age: Educating College and University Students Online

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  • Information Literacy Programs in the Digital Age:Educating College and University Students Online,

    arts colleges, and community colleges are well repre-sented throughout the book, with the Lessons Learnedcompiled by Alice Daugherty and Michael F. Russo.Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries,2007. 278p. $48.00. ISBN 978-0-8389-8444-4.

    In Information Literacy Programs in the Digital Age:Educating College and University Students Online, Louisi-ana State University information literacy librarians AliceDaugherty and Michael F. Russo solicit academiclibrarians to describe the emergence, implementation,and appraisal of their online bibliographic instructionprograms. The resulting twenty-four case studies of for-credit courses, discipline-integrated classes, and gen-eral and subject-specific tutorials serve as a resource forinstitutions with Web-based instruction, as well asthose considering initiating programs.

    Academic librarians are challenged with teachingbasic information seeking skills to students who arewriting college-level research papers, navigating aca-demic libraries, and taking online classes for the firsttime and must consider that personality traits shapestudents' reactions to Web-based pedagogy. Thosewho enjoy personal interactions feel more comforta-ble in the real-time classroom, while others with self-discipline and independence thrive in asynchronous,online environments. Programs should be crafted withthe audience in mind: consider how the informationneeds and experience differ between on-campusundergraduates and distance education adults. Offer-ing physical and digital options responds to a widerrange of learning styles and better promotes libraryservices.

    Online information literacy programs enable colla-borative teaching models and community building,especially because stakeholder support is vital to theirsuccess, because programs are shaped by institutionalcircumstances, mandates, and facilities. In OnlineInformation Literacy Course at UIS: Standing the Testof Time, librarians Pamela M. Salela, Denise D. Green,and Julie Chapman write, As our student populationbecomes increasingly diverse, as well as dispersedacross time, space, and cultural perspectives, it willbecome increasingly important to devise ways ofenabling community building in the online classroom(p. 70). This burgeoning environment develops dynamicrelationships between librarians, IT staff, and faculty.

    In Sophisticated Simplicity in e-Learning: OnlineInstruction at UNC-Chapel Hill, librarians SuchiMohanty, Lisa Norberg, and Kim Vassiliadis discoverthree principles applicable to any online program:simplicity of design, focus on key issues, and reusable,scalable modules. Since content is updated continuouslydue to the constantly shifting information environment,the delivery system must be intuitive and flexible torespond to changes without reprogramming.

    Online information literacy programs assist studentsin understanding the multifaceted, iterative nature ofinformation retrieval and the strategies and competen-cies involved. Information searching is an intellectualprocess that remains similar despite institution, disci-pline, or academic level. Research universities, liberalhome, could be hiding the fact that they have difficultyreading. Ideally in these circumstances, the librarianwould be able to recommend easier reading materialsthat still convey the essential information regarding thepatron's health concern. Such exchanges require greattact as well as a commitment to a thorough referenceinterview; in one chapter Karyn Prechtel, of the PimaCounty Public Library System in Tucson, AZ, offersexcellent suggestions for how to accomplish both.

    The book offers four sections: an overview of healthliteracy (including a thorough literature review); exam-inations of how concern with health literacy manifestsitself with particular populations, such as senior citizensand teenagers; a particular focus on health literacysupport in public and hospital libraries; and finallysome suggestions about how more librarians canbecome involved in this important area. Every chapterhas something to offer, and like all good reference

    January 2009 99section of each essay offering strategic planning adviceunique to school and program types. In readingInformation Literacy Programs in the Digital Age: Educat-ing College and University Students Online, academiclibrarians will discover an institution and curriculumthat fits their needs and receive essential counsel fordeveloping and implementing a bibliographic instruc-tion program that serves their students.Margot Note,Information Manager and Archivist, World Monu-ments Fund, 95 Madison Avenue, 9th Floor, New York,NY 10016 .

    doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2008.10.007

    The Medical Library Association Guide to HealthLiteracy, edited by Marge Kars, Lynda M. Baker, andFeleta L. Wilson. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers,Inc., 2008. 314 p. $75.00. ISBN 978-1-55570-625-8.

    Health literacy is essential to effective navigation ofcomplex health care systems, but people are often lesshealth literate than they care to admit. Even well-educated individuals grapple with unfamiliar terms andconcepts; functionally illiterate people are essentiallycast to sea in a health care system that assumes moreknowledge than many people possess. Librarians,particularly in hospital or public libraries, can play avital role in improving the ability of all patients tounderstand their health. With this ability, hopefully,people's health care outcomes will improve.

    The Medical Library Association Guide to HealthLiteracy, a compilation of insights from librarians withvaried expertise in this field, is a practical and thoroughresource for librarians who would like to improve theirknowledge of health literacy; enhance their collectionsto meet the needs of specific populations; and under-stand how to identify the signs of low literacy that mayimpact the ability of people to absorb health informa-tion. People who always have a companion, or complainthat they can't read because they left their glasses at

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