Extending the academic library: social responsibility, information literacy and schools

Hollier, Carol and Dase, Annike and Smyth, Neil (2013) Extending the academic library: social responsibility, information literacy and schools. In: LILAC (Librarian’s Information Literacy Annual Conference) 2013, 25th-27th March 2013, The University of Manchester.

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Abstract

Universities face a new higher education funding environment and a need to demonstrate a commitment to widening participation. This paper explores how information literacy activities extend the role of the university library to local communities through partnerships with schools and the importance of social responsibility to university strategy.

Last year, University of Nottingham librarians created a pilot for an information literacy service targeting schools in the local community. The project's aim was to transform a piecemeal array of school visits to our libraries into a consistent service delivered by librarians in collaboration with local schools, university faculties, and the Widening Participation Office. Librarians teach information literacy skills; academics present their research, providing scenarios for research impact. Raising aspirations is the service's heart; students build skills and confidence as they assess and navigate university collections.

The service, Step into University Libraries: Visits for Local Schools, embeds information literacy sessions in community engagement and social responsibility activities. The physical library and its digital resources are opened to students. The paper discusses the service's specific events supporting pre-16, AS, A-level and the Extended Project Qualification; collaboration with academic staff; and, students' independent research time.

We plan to further develop information literacy beyond the university: increasing outreach to local widening participation target schools; systematising workplace volunteering for young people from local sixth forms, colleges and academies; and including information literacy in the Access Agreement to the government Office for Fair Access. Moving forward, how can we best build integrative information literacy programmes for university staff and schools that meet students' and teachers' needs, and foster teachers' and parents' support? What regional aspiration-raising efforts can librarians contribute to? What research partnerships with third sector and community organisations can librarians support, expanding our investment in partnerships that promote information literacy for social responsibility?

Keywords:widening participation, academic libraries, school visits
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P121 Library studies
Divisions:Professional services > The Library
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ID Code:16784
Deposited On:27 Feb 2015 08:51

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