My name is Alexandra, and I am a graduate student at McGill’s School of Information Studies. I am currently in the process of completing a practicum with the Humanities and Social Sciences Library to build on the theoretical knowledge I have gained over the course of my studies.
We McGill students (graduate and undergraduate alike) have a wealth of information readily available to us. Whether through subscription-based library resources or free web resources like Google, the volume of information to which we have access continues to grow. To successfully wade through this bulk of information, we must be able to identify different types of information, determine its quality, understand its potential use, and integrate this information into our knowledge base. In this way, becoming “information literate” (or being able to understand an information need and locate, evaluate, and effectively use this information) will help strengthen our lifelong learning and critical thinking skills so that we may actively contribute to the academic community and extended this learning to our professional careers.
Though strengthening information literacy skills is a challenge, the library as an institution is dedicated to helping students engage positively with the ever-growing body of information available. McGill Library has various in-person and online resources (including workshops and online video tutorials) to help guide students through the process of becoming information literate.
In fact, as a part of my practicum, I have had the opportunity to assist two of McGill’s liaison librarians in providing information literacy instruction for undergraduate arts students and have been able to deliver two 90-minute library workshop sessions. These workshops, known as MyArts Research: Library Skills for Success, are offered in two modules and outline library research tips to help students optimize on their use of library resources. Additionally, beginning this year, we have introduced a certificate of completion to give those who take the time to complete the workshops a concrete, marketable skill to add to their resume.
Teaching the workshops was a fantastic experience. I was able to not only provide students with library research skills but was also able to engage with them in a conversation about the importance of information literacy, of being able to understand types of resources and their potential uses, and of the benefit of using library resources for their research.
Though the MyArts Research workshops are complete for this semester, I highly recommend that those students who have not registered for them before to do so in the upcoming fall 2015 semester. The future iterations of the workshops will continue to provide essential library research skills but will undergo a dramatic re-structuring in terms of how the content is delivered.
Visit the library website for more information on the MyArts Research workshops, and take advantage of the other dynamic, innovative services McGill Library has to offer!
Association of College and Research Libraries, “Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education,” American Library Association, 1999, http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/