The Olive Tree
In 1996, then Dean Albright asked for volunteers from the professional staff of
Fogler Library to plan a course in information literacy. She wanted the library
to be in the forefront of preparing students be have a theoretical understanding
of information flow as well as have the skills necessary to navigate the many
kinds of information resources available. Her dream was to have the course
required for all undergraduate students. A group of 5 public service librarians
started meeting on a regular basis to map out an outline of such a course. Over
the course of 2 years, discussions occurred on the mechanics of developing such
a course and getting it approved by the University, the subject matter to be
included in such a course, and the target audience for the course. Most
importantly a mission statement, goals to support the mission, and measurable
learning objectives to achieve the goals were developed.
Starting with two pilot courses in the late 1990ís, LBR 200 has blossomed into a 3-credit course taught during the fall and spring semesters by a small group of librarians from Foglerís public service staff. The course, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, meets the Universityís general education requirement under Human Values and Social Context/Social Context and Institutions. Because of Fogler public service librariansí excellent relationships with University faculty members, the course is now listed as a required course for students in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences (EES) Program as well as for Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) majors.
LBR 200 is usually taught three times an academic year, with the course being offered on Wednesday afternoons during the fall semester and on Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon during the spring semester. Typically we have between 17-20 students in each class with the majority of students during the day class either in the EES or CSD program. The Tuesday evening class tends to have a number of non-traditional students. Based on end-of-year comments from the students during their formal evaluation of the course and its instructor and from many campus faculty members who know about the course, the course content and those teaching it are meeting the information needs of students to a very high level.
Just what is taught in LBR 200? Week by week the course content varies with the instructor but all students learn about and discuss legal, economic, social, and public policy aspects of information resources; strengths and limitations of different types of information resources; information resource formats; strategies for the critical evaluation of information resources; how to structure and implement research strategies and information resources available at Fogler Library.
Because of staffing we will never realize Dean Albrightís dream of having the course be required for all University of Maine undergraduates. That being said, however, LBR 200 has become a course on our campus that both students and faculty recognize as being a very important part of the academic fabric and Foglerís public service staff very much look forward to continuing to offer this course into the future.
LBR 200 is truly a Fogler Library success story!
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