Workplace Information Literacy: Its Role in Community and Technical College Libraries Nora J. Bird, Ph.D. Assistant Professor AGENDA • Intentions • The context: community colleges, technical schools, and proprietary schools • Why? • Information seeking – information literacy • Methods and some preliminary results Intentions • Research with the nails showing • It’s Friday • It’s the day before Spring Break • Let’s have some fun! Context • A clip from the NBC program Community What is not shown in small clip • Students working on Basic Skills to complete GED • ELL adults • Middle and Early college students • Vocational students Context • Some stats: – There are over 1,100 community technical colleges in the United States – Had their beginnings in 1901 – Over 62.5 million students enrolled in 2008; many more since then due to recession – Site of basic vocational education and retraining for many American workers North Carolina • 58 different colleges • Primarily county funded • Most have more than one location • SACS requires a library on every physical site • Some have only one MLS librarian Technical schools • Often incorporated into community colleges, example Forsyth Technical Community College • In some states technical colleges are a separate network. • For-profit proprietary technical schools (example ITT Tech) have experienced great growth in the past few years – Extended programs – Extended reach Locale for Workforce Development • Programs include: – – – – – Aircraft repair Plumbing Nursing Dental hygienist Biotechnology technician Enjoying New Attention Pledges • National – 5 million new CC graduates by 2020 • California – 1 million • Gates Foundation money • Private-public partnerships Even in North Carolina Information Seeking • Robert Taylor – based on work in the workplace but with researchers. • In Seeking , 2nd ed., Carol Kuhlthau’s work with school children was extended to knowledge workers like lawyers and financial analysts Informed Learning • In Informed Learning, Christine Bruce posited a model she calls the Six Frames for Informed Learning. • “What should we teach and how, so that our students will use information successfully, creatively, and responsibly in their journey as life long learners?” Generic, Situated, Transformative • GeST frames can be applied to the community and the workplace Information Literacy • According to many definitions, the information literate person “must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” (American Library Association, 1989). Skilled Blue-Collar Work Workforce literacy Vs. Workplace Information Literacy Annemaree Lloyd • Information literacy landscapes: Information literacy in education, workplace, and everyday contexts • Her title says it all. Context is essential to the process. There is no universal information literacy. • The focus has been on academic information literacy. And some preliminary results METHOD Research Question • What role do libraries play in workplace information literacy development? Well actually… A different purpose • We wanted to describe what a community college librarian does. We did it for a • And the question we asked was: Please estimate the percentage of your library instructional program or efforts provided for technology courses in comparison to overall instruction? Later on We realized: The answers are difficult to interpret. But some results • Only 14% of the respondents said that more than one-quarter of their information literacy efforts were focused on vocational classes. In other words: • Not enough! Top Four Skills Covered in IL Classes 60 50 40 30 Core/Transfer Vocational 20 10 0 Special resources for the topic Evaluating resources Citation writing Plagiarism The primary objectives for your instructional classes 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% To support instructor's objectives To write research paper Demonstrate use of library databases Transfer To gain job understanding Vocational To learn more about profession or subject major Mixed Methods Build a Frame Focus Groups • Confirmed the impression that vocational programs are underserved. • “I don’t know many people who have HVAC degrees... If HVAC approached me to do an [information literacy class] I’d have to get familiar enough to be able to answer subject-specific questions. That’s a mammoth job.” • “For our instructors, as I said, and I think it’s usage and I think their comfort level with us. Yeah, they may know how to do that, but the ones [instructors] who come back all the time believe that we do a better job –they don’t try to do our job for us, just like we don’t teach English but we show how to facilitate doing work in English or in Nursing. I think that they see us as professionals in the same way that they are.” • “We led a session on our staff development day where people can choose to take our workshop at the library, and the information technology people loved it because in NC Live there’s a place you can go where you work on certain cars. The depth of the knowledge is for real people, it’s not just academic. Yeah, I think the workplace and the fact that we have older students could be developed.” Connecting Theory and Practice • Working with Michael Crumpton, Assistant Dean for Administrative Services, as a research partner • Interacting with community college librarians in grant writing and research • UNCG was among a select group of 119 universities and colleges nationwide to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for its 2008 Community Engagement Classification. FUTURE WORK • Follow-up survey on vocational IL classes – What are the “Instructor’s Learning Objectives” • Librarian-Vocational Instructor collaboration observation • Continuing education for community college librarians (IMLS 2011 grant application) In Summary • Community colleges and their libraries serve a broad range of needs, including vocational/technical programs • The specifics of workplace information literacy for “blue-collar” workers is understudied. • Studying pedagogy for that vocation might yield results. Bibliography Bruce, C. (2008). Informed learning. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Lloyd, A. (2010). Information literacy landscapes: Information literacy in education, workplace, and everyday contexts. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing. Lloyd, A. and Williamson, K. (2008). Towards an understanding of information literacy in context: Implications for research. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 40(1), 3-12. Taylor, R. S. (1985). Value-added processes in information systems. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Acknowledgments • Michael Crumpton • Research Assistants: Mendy Ozan and Tim Williams • Community college librarians across North Carolina and the U.S.