This is a discussion about information literacy. Information literacy problems have been dealt with success, especially in academic libraries. Entire classes visit the library for instruction by librarians; tests are distributed and searches are assigned after the instruction to check the students’ knowledge of and abilities in searching; librarians visit the classroom for instruction; librarians instruct students one-on-one; and instructional modules are created and become available on blackboard, allowing the students to watch them online at their own leisure.
With all these solutions and evident success we still have a lot of students, especially in the undergraduate level, who have no knowledge of proper searches and just “google it”. Guess what! They don’t even know how to “google” properly; how to recognize a legitimate source from a questionable one. This means, there is still a big problem regarding information literacy and a lot of ground to be covered.
The problem is evident when faculty members refuse to acknowledge the need for information literacy and don’t work with librarians to resolve this problem. The solution must come from the institution. An idea would be a mandatory “day at the library” for new students. I am not talking about class visits. That would be insufficient considering the large number of classes and the difficulties in scheduling their visits. The solution is in the orientation. Instead of useless speeches and tours of the athletic facilities, the school can dedicate one day to bring all new undergraduate and graduate students to the library, allowing the librarians to give them a tour of the library, instruct them properly, and test them. Also, the institution should have clear guidelines that would enforce the communication and collaboration between faculty and librarians, thus eliminating the “bad attitude” by some faculty towards the library.
It is important to understand here that the goal is not to make people happy (faculty, students) by applying weak but convenient measures that result in mediocre education. The goal is to provide the best education possible, thus creating an environment where all involved parties will be doing their best to accomplish this goal. How can we convince the college and university administrators to do that? Well, that is a different and more challenging topic!