Adult User Education/Module 1 Objectives & Readings

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Demonstrate an understanding of the history of and current position of user education within the library profession:
  • Read and discuss textbook chapters and assigned articles covering the history of bibliographic instruction, the ACRL Instruction Section, and information literacy in the public library.
  • Read and discuss how the standard definition of information literacy was created and consider additional information literacy definitions. Read and discuss traits and needs of the adult library user.
  • View the video discussing information literacy and become familiar with the demonstrated method of teaching information literacy.
  • Complete an assessment of a library in terms of usability, instruction availability, and help offered.

Reflect on the readings, discussions, and activity and share new ideas and knowledge acquired.

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Read in text – Chapter 1: History of Information Literacy

History of User Education

  • Salony, Mary F. "The History of Bibliographic Instruction: Changing Trends from Books to the Electronic World." Reference Librarian, no. 51/52 (1995): 31-51. - A good and fairly concise overview. Don't let the page count scare you - it's actually probably about half as long as it looks!
  • ACRL Instruction Section: How it All Began -
  • Crowley, Kim. "Information Literacy in the Public Library." Colorado Libraries 24, no. 4 (Winter 1998): 26-8. - This article discusses how one public library began integrating information literacy instruction into their programs. While this isn't a historic overview, this is a recounting of events that are now 10 years old, and gives us at least one viewpoint on the beginning stages of information literacy in the public library.

Information Literacy Defined

An Introduction to the Adult User

  • Ezzo, Anita, and Julia Perez. "The Information Explosion: Continuing Implications for Reference Services to Adult Learners in Academia." The Reference Librarian 33, no. 69/70 (2000): 5-17. - While this article is geared more toward the adult academic user, it still gives a good overview of the needs and skills of the adult user in general.
  • Veal, Robin E. "Understanding Characteristics, Concerns, and Priorities of Adult Learners to Enhance Library Services to Them." The Reference Librarian 33, no. 69/70 (2000): 113-18. - This article gives some good information on how public librarians can assist adult learners, or ease them into the academic library experience if needed.


"Discover Information Literacy" (8:02 min.) - - NOTE: If you don't have a broadband Internet connection, this may take a little while to load. This is really a pretty good video describing the DISCOVER method of teaching information literacy. While they only mention utilizing web search engines for information retrieval, the overall technique is sound. You can always adapt this method to whatever resources are appropriate for the user.

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