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Information literacy is a common discussion topic for academics, in particular within the library context.  This is covered at many events across the sector, but none more focused than the Information Literacy and Summon Day, which takes place each year in the UK.

The event held on 25 July 2013, at Manchester Metropolitan University, incorporated a mix of formats, including practical insights and teaching tips, and more reflective considerations of the role and impact of teaching librarians, through paper presentations and lightning talks.

Emma Coonan, Information Skills Librarian at University of East Anglia, put together the full proceedings from the event and created a paper to illustrate the key findings of the day.  Emma describes the papers in the collection as "not only exploring technological developments: they also consider too the institutional culture shifts demanded by the disruptive technology of discovery systems (Pattern); how our presentations can be made more relevant and engaging (Jenkins, Leonard); and how to align the way we present information systems with students’ widely varying subject needs (Buchanan). They explored how to design activities that enable students to relate their prior experience to new knowledge (Edwards and Hill’s two contributions); how to help build students’ confidence and self-belief (Johnston and Walton); and how to interweave threshold concepts about academic practices into practical information skills support (Coonan)."

Connan continues, "This collection therefore offers a unique exploration of the impact of discovery systems on our identities as teaching librarians. If we are no longer forced by necessity to act as navigational intermediaries for clunky, unintuitive interfaces crammed with search jargon and overloaded with ‘advanced’ filtering features, we can redefine our expertise so that it is no longer perceived in terms of finding and navigating complex systems, and instead as helping our students understand how information is used, negotiated and valued within the academic community. We have the opportunity to shift our practice from telling to teaching – that is, from didactic instruction to providing authentic, meaningful and contextually appropriate opportunities for students to engage with academic information in ways that enable them to create for themselves an informed and reflective relationship with it."

She concludes, "The insights provided by this collection offer not only a snapshot of our changing practices in an era of unprecedented changes in academic information resources, but also a rich source of reflective stimulus and inspiration for all information and library staff engaged in facilitating learning."

In addition to Emma, presenters at the 2013 event included:

•    Dave Pattern, Library Systems Manager, University of Huddersfield: ‘Riding the Gartner Hype Cycle’
•    Sandy Buchanan, Information Adviser: Engineering and Mathematics, Sheffield Hallam University: ‘The platypus and the sausage: teaching Summon across diverse subjects at Sheffield Hallam University’
•    J.Adam Edwards, Liaison Manager, Law, Science and Technology and Work Based Learning, Middlesex University; and Vanessa Hill, Liaison Librarian, Computing, Design Engineering and Mathematics, and Teaching Fellow, Middlesex University: ‘What’s the name of the game?  How Summon saves time for fun games’
•    Eleanor Johnston, Academic Skills Librarian, Staffordshire University: ‘Summon, information and literacy and
Step Up to HE’

•    Tim Leonard, Senior Librarian, University Campus Oldham: ‘Information Skills at UCO using Summon’
•    David Jenkins, Assistant Librarian, Manchester Metropolitan University: ‘Finding full text in five minutes’

To read the full conference proceedings, click here.

The next Information Literacy and Summon Day will take place 15 July 2014, at University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich. Click here to find out more and to register.

09 Jun 2014

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